Biblical Myth and Rabbinic Mythmaking

By Michael Fishbane | Go to book overview

5 Introduction

A THE PHENOMENON: TOPICS AND TECHNIQUES

Rabbinic and other post-biblical Jewish literature is a vast fund of myths and mythic traditions—some surviving from ancient Near Eastern antiquity, and much more deriving from both Graeco-Roman Palestine and Sassanian Babylonia during the first five centuries of the common era. The spread and diffusion of this material is not always clearly marked or traceable; and the fragments of tradition that are known often appear in a diversity of sources (not all of which are Jewish). It is thus a matter of particular interest when it is possible to follow the permutations of one topic over a vast temporal and geographical expanse, as is the case, for example, with the mythic motif of heavenly giants and other beings who were punished because of their sexual contact with earthly women. In this particular case, the meagre and opaque evidence surviving from the biblical text and its Greek translation (Gen. 6: 1-4) is greatly supplemented by texts preserved in the Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as in pseudepigraphic, midrashic, and even Manichaean sources. 1 Undoubtedly, features of this mythic tradition are very early, and have been distorted by their ancient Israelite tradents; whereas other elements certainly reflect expansions of the theme in the course of its ongoing reception. In yet other instances we can observe how mythic traditions from one locale were reported centuries later in another—as when Rav Dimi (one of the peripatetic neḥutei) 'returned' (literally, went down) to Babylonia (in the fourth century CE), and reported to his colleagues there about old mythic traditions about the sea monster that he had learned in the academies of the Land of Israel. 2 Some of these features are of great antiquity and reflect features not reported in the Hebrew Bible, in any shape or fashion. 3

Certainly, the issues of continuity and creativity must be evaluated in each specific instance. But what is particularly notable with respect to the rabbinic

-95-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Biblical Myth and Rabbinic Mythmaking
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 461

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.