Biblical Myth and Rabbinic Mythmaking

By Michael Fishbane | Go to book overview

7 Myths of Participation and Pathos

We turn now from myths of divine agon and triumph against a primordial enemy (the primeval waters or sea dragon), at the time of world origins and later foundational moments, to divine acts performed in the course of Israel's sacred history—and beyond. Here, too, myth is present as the correlation between divine activity and events in the world and history. What is particularly striking is the dramatic symbiosis between them. According to one distinguished historian of ancient religions, the involvement or participation of gods in the events of origins or ends is one of the defining characteristics of myth—it being (in part) a type of narrative 'in which the gods themselves are set in a milieu which is vaster than themselves and which in various ways transcends them and in which they are not only the subjects but also the objects of events'. 1 Certainly YHWH's active involvement in the great events of Israelite redemption, or the various modes of His providential intervention (punishment, exile, and restoration), are major topics of the scriptural record; but as we shall now see, this involvement is radically transformed in rabbinic literature—resulting in diverse myths of divine self-limitation and/or participation in the events befalling the nation (especially servitude and suffering).

A transitional moment is marked in Hebrew Scripture itself, as we may observe from a certain textual difficulty found in Isa. 63: 8-9. Ostensibly, this passage is part of a prologue proclaiming the graciousness of YHWH (v. 7) and His glorious acts on behalf of Israel (vv. 8-9)—specified in subsequent lines (vv. 11-14). As part of this introit, particular mention is made of God's special relationship to Israel and His providential care and beneficence for them. 'And He said: “Surely they are My people”…; so He became their deliverer (v. 8). In all their troubles (be-khol tzaratam) He was troubled (lo (the qere) tzar), and the angel of His presence delivered them. In His love and pity He Himself redeemed them, raised them and exalted them all the days of yore' (v. 9). The recitation goes on to record YHWH's acts of redemption, in the hope of arousing His favour and deliverance from the present bonds of exile (vv. 15-19).

This seems clear enough; but how is one to understand the blatant contradiction between the emphasis on God's direct act of redemption (v. 8), and

-132-

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.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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?

Help
Full screen
/ 461

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.