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Biblical Myth and Rabbinic Mythmaking$
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Michael Fishbane

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198267331

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0198267339.001.0001

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Myths of Divinity

Myths of Divinity

(p.160) 8 Myths of Divinity
Biblical Myth and Rabbinic Mythmaking


Oxford University Press

This chapter examines ancient texts on God’s expressions of sorrow or anguish, whether in response to Israel’s suffering or as a matter of personal loss or distress. It is shown that rabbinic midrash has overcome all biblical restraint and silence on this theme, and repeatedly evokes the mythic image of a lamenting and tearful God. This subject is approached under three headings, expressing three modes of divine response to the destruction of the Temple and suffering of the people: memory and mourning, sympathy and sorrow, and desolation and despair. Rabbinic interfusion of myth and history is realized differently in each type.

Keywords:   God, myths, divinity, divine pathos, personality, sorrow

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