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Hebrew Myths Book of Genesis Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Mcgraw Hill
  • ISBN-10: 070241252X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0702412523
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,709,828 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'There is eloquence, wit and a formal shapeliness in abundance from first to last.' - Michael Glover, Financial Times. 'While poetry schools came and went, Graves went on writing until his death in 1985, in an elegant, classically inspired style.' - Andrew Crumey, Scotland on Sunday. No one else offers his precise combination of eroticism, nightmare and epigram.' - Sean O'Brien, The Guardian. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Robert Graves was the author of I, Claudius, The White Goddess, and Greek Myths. He was a poet, classical scholar, novelist, and critic. Raphael Patai was an anthropologist, Jewish folklorist, and biblical scholar. He was the author of Man and the Temple and Jewish Seafaring in Ancient Times.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa3ff5abc) out of 5 stars 17 reviews
54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa40287f8) out of 5 stars Where did the Bible come from? Nov. 8 2000
By Isaac Rabinovitch - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The religiously correct belief is that Genesis was inspired by, even dictated by, the supreme being. But if you're interested in the Bible as part of our cultural heritage, you end up asking some very secular questions. These stories must have had some kind of existence before they were incorporated into the Judeo-Christian canon. Where did they come from?
Barring some extreme archeological breakthrough, the original sources for the Genesis myths are lost forever. But the authors make quite a serious attempt to reconstruct them from surviving literature, especially the Talmud. Robert Graves was particularly well qualified to attempt this, given his unorthodox take on mythology and his poetic approach to literary interpolation. By the same token, anything Graves did in this area is bound to be controversial -- is it literature, or scholarship?
In fact, it's both, and neither. Ultimately, it's another Gravesian attempt to give us a glimpse into a part of our history that's obscured by the very religious and literary monuments we most revere. Possibly not historically accurate, this is material that needs to be read, least we lose all sense of where we came from.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa402884c) out of 5 stars Graves on Genesis June 20 2006
By David Adams - Published on
Format: Paperback
Basically, Robert Graves does for the 61 stories he finds in the Book of Genesis what he did for The Greek Myths. This time he employs the aid of an eminent Jewish anthropologist and Biblical scholar, Raphael Patai (not Pata). It appears that this is a little difficult to find right now in 2006, but the search is worth the effort.
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4028c84) out of 5 stars Genesis' pre-biblical origins Nov. 19 2005
By Walter R. Mattfeld - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The authors do not reverently approach Genesis as a God-inspired Holy Text. From a "Secular Humanist" or Anthropological point of view, they attempt to identify Genesis' _pre-biblical_ origins in motifs identified with earlier myths of the Sumerians and Mesopotamians. This line of reasoning understands that the Hebrews at some later point in time transformed and reinterpreted earlier Mesopotamian concepts about Man's origins and his relationship with God from myths and literature (one case being the Epic of Gilgamesh). In addition to this investigation of pre-biblical myths (or pre-biblical literature), the authors also investigate later Jewish and Christian traditions, folklore, commentary on Genesis' themes.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa403606c) out of 5 stars Genesis Stories in their Own Context Feb. 12 2009
By Orville B. Jenkins - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The authors compare and correlate stories and themes from 61 stories in Genesis with other Jewish sources on the same events or themes. Some of these are folk tales presenting variations of the Genesis stories. Others are fanciful reflections from later eras. Some provide background or fill in details missing from the stories in Genesis, answering some of the questions that arise for later generations in different cultures.

The authors compare the Genesis stories with the myths and legends of contemporaneous peoples in the Middle Eastern region. These are also correlated with the later "classical" cultures, including the Greeks and Persians. This book represents a careful and detailed collaboration over a period of years.

Mystical Eastern Worldview
Cover notes describe the contents:
"Sixty-one stories of cosmic forces, deities, angels and demons, giants and heroes, from Genesis and other ancient Hebrew and Aramaic sources...." This work provides good insights into the mythic and mystical eastern worldview as a whole.

This is helpful and instructive to the analytical western rationalist cultures, which tend to discount the creative imaginative aspects of human consciousness and the insights this provides to unseen realities and the interconnected character of all creation common to most other cultural worldviews.

Esoteric and Fanciful
It is fascinating to see what Jewish tradition has done with the dominant themes and personalities from the Genesis foundations of the Torah. The highly esoteric and fanciful nature of many of the later Jewish legends provides insight into the view Jewish people have taken of their scriptures.

Their intimate and affectionate attitude toward the Torah and Writings is surprisingly, but refreshingly, different from the recently-dominant American Christian insistence on taking a literal reductionist historical view, which derives from Enlightenment Rationalism.

The Jewish people throughout their history apparently had a personal and dynamic relationship with their Scriptures, an affectionate and respectful reverence, which was interactive, not academic and limiting.

These two authors bring a resourceful combination of backgrounds and skills to this task. Robert Graves is a British poet and prolific author, from a Protestant background, and a graduate of St John's College, Oxford. Among his notable works is a translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, jointly with Omar Ali-Shah.

Patai was raised as a German-speaking Hungarian Jew. He studied in rabbinical seminaries and earned two doctorates, one of which was in Semitic languages and oriental history. He was ordained as a rabbi, and is likewise a well-known author.

As they discuss the themes of these stories, these writers also provide good information on several of the ethnic peoples mentioned in the Bible, discussing their possible origin and customs.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4036150) out of 5 stars Rare resources on mythology Sept. 16 2007
By Rose Etta Martin - Published on
Format: Paperback
Hard to find resource on Hebrew/Jewish mythology connecting to Classic Greek mythology and history. Very readable.

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