Genesis revisited.

Who was Joseph Campbell? What is a myth? What does "Follow Your Bliss" mean? If you are new to the work of Joseph Campbell, this forum is a good place to start.

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Gerard
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Post by Gerard » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

The myth of Eve and Adam is for women one of the most fatal myths. Eve is blaimed for eating the forbidden fruit and bringing Adam to it too.
Originally the story of Eve and Adam is an older Sumerian/Babylonian myth. In the patriarchal tradition of the tellers and writers of the Bible there are some 'little' accents put in another way.

In the older versions of the story the woman was equal to the man. Her symbol is the snake. This can be seen in many many pictures. The snake is here the symbol for new life. Patriarchat made it the symbol of mean and devilish.
The Garden of Eden is orginally the place of the Goddess. Women and gardens were allready in these ages very related to eachother.
So the background of the story is that Adam is in the world of the Goddess, in HER garden. Then the snake is right on his place here. The tree is also the symbol of growth, shelter and fruits. This symbol is also related to mother-earth. So far some 'small' details.

In our times many books are written about the difference between men(communication) and women(communication). One can have different opinions about this. The main difference between men and women is probably that men like to take risks (or are willing to take risks) more then women. Everybody knows the mother-attitude: take care, watch on yorself, don't run too fast, be carefull, and so on, and so on. Probably this is the reason why the patriarchal-risk-attitude brought this world to what it is: with the bad and the good. The way of the hero is present here. Americans say it so to-the-point: no risk, no pain, no gain. This is the way of the hero in three words. So: men can be seen as risk-takers. And some say this is there success.

Now back to the Garden of Eden. In this story men-bible-writers damn Eve in the 'battle between the sexes' (matriarchat/patriarchat) to scapegoat. In the centuries that follows women learned the consequenses of this way of thinking. It's no coincidence that both woman and snake got a bad name in history in many ways.

But look at the story in another way. Suppose the bible (and Koran, and Talmud - all patriarchal women-oppression books and religions) were NOT written bij patriarchal men but neutral writers. Ask yourself this question: who is the risk-taker here? Who is willing to take the risk to 'go for' a better world? (As 'her' snake-'god' of new life promises?) Who wants to maintain the status quo and/or is hesitating to start the adventure??? Who is the hero here? Answer yourself.









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Post by nandu » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Gerard,

Nice to see someone exploring Genesis. I have read it time and again and found it very enlightening.

These are my own interpretations. I don't know how far they may be true, but then, I've stopped worrying about the truth of interpretations.

The book of Genesis has two creation myths. In one, God is a sort of master of ceremonies, bringing up earth, heaven, light and darkness with broad sweeps of his arm. In the other, he lovingly creates man in his own image, and afterwards, woman. Why these two myths? Why the requirement of the Garden of Eden, this small private place, when he has already created everything?

I see the myth of Eden as one of the genesis of intelligence. All of us live in a Garden of Eden in the beginning of our lives. Once we eat the fruit of knowledge, however, we gain knowledge, "become as God". We have no place in the Garden any more. The very fact of eating the fruit has made us unfit to live there!

Where the manipulations have come, I feel, is when we the Bible calls this the "fall" or "original sin". I believe this is part of the normal growth of consciousness.

Nandu.
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Post by Gerard » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hello Nandu.

Thanks for your message. I know there are two myths. The reason is that the bible wasn't all of the sudden there in its end-version. The bible was composed somewhere around the year 400 after Christ. Then the decision was made (by the church) what comes in the bible and what not. The two myths are from different times and cultures in ancient oriental history.

In my opinion the real amazing and BIG thing is that the male (father) God was an intruder in the Garden of Eden which was a woman-domain!

Indeed, the Garden of Eden can be seen as 'Paradise Lost'. The place where everything is all right, but this is also the place (symbol) of not-knowing, the state of unconsciousness. Then the call for adventure comes for both Eve and Adam. Not directed to an individual, buth to a pair!!

The bad thing is that here the oppression of the woman gets a basal fundament for a lot of ages. The Goddess- of wicca-movement in our times is in my opinion a reaction on that way of thinking.

Do you think there is a central myth in which the voyage of the woman is 'founded'? (Is her central myth a voyage at all?)





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....and her laughter was pure delight and mischief: 'This, Enki, you will never find out!'

(Enki is now Gerard)

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Gerard on 2005-09-30 06:38 ]</font>

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Post by nandu » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

The voyage of the woman.Hmmm...we have been examining this contentious point in many of the conversations.My belief is that the structure of myth regarding men and women are entirely different, as they fulfill fundamentally different needs.

If we take the Eastern religions, Hinduism for example, we find a lot of woman-oriented myths. Women seem to have been associated with the mysteries of nature. There are a lot of festivals in India where nature worship and Goddess worship are indistinguishable. In fact, women seem to be represented by the mysterious and immovable nature as compared to the ever-moving, active male principle.

In the part of India I come from, the original deities were the Goddess and the Snake (the male principle). Groves dedicated to snake worship were common.

As in the Bible, it seems that over the years a moralistic, patriarchal system has coloured myths all over the world.

Nandu.
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Post by Siddha » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I've thought for some time that this myth is symbolic of a baby's process of becoming self aware. I don't see it as a man-woman question as much as becoming aware of the first and main dichotomy me-you. We all live through this. We have to. It's good!

Vilifying women for the whole Garden of Eden "incident" is like saying that men are obviously better because God is "male." It's celebrating a religion based on an interpretation of divisiveness, "power over" and primitive psychology instead of celebrating this myth based on an interpretation of inclusion, equal dignity and value and a deeper appreciation for the mystery of it all.

If God created "man" in his image and God is beyond time and space, that is for God past, present and future are all perfectly accessible. Then the only logical explanation I can come up with is that either God is flawed because "man" is or that God knew Adam would eat from the forbidden fruit even before he created Adam. Thus "man" isn't inherently bad, eating the apple wasn't a sin but a perfect accomplishment that God intended for a perfectly loving reason!


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Post by Vissi » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hello all,

Having looked at this myth many times in a number of ways, bottom line: if no one eats the apple, there's no story. What would the story be? Eve and Adam exist in stasis in the Garden never growing either old or wise, never producing children or art, and there are no opposites to balance, no highs, no lows, no inhumanity to be tempered or tamed by love, and it's an endless, boring prison interrupted only by the promise of God coming calling for a walk in the cool of the evening?

But in eternity is there really an evening? Properly, there should be no time and space in Eden, it is the eternal, never-changing landscape, home to the still-point, hub of the wheel. Happy news is that Eden is right here, right now, if you are a spiritually inclined person and want to visit; the only thing banished from the boundaries are bodies.

There, in Eden, we are spirit citizens of paradise and eternity. Here, we are matter, measuring moments rather than being absorbed by them. Personally I find that if humans don't relocate out of Eden, there's no point or explanation for why life IS or how it began. It's a creation story. God creates humans and teaches humans to create. The unwanting, unneeding of The Garden doesn't require much creative production -- no crops to grow or grateful rest for hard work, or currency necessary because ethereal bodies don't run on calories, sleep, and the purchasing of pots, pans, and bedding that are earned through occupation.

Why is Eve chatting up a serpent and offering the forbidden fruit to her rib-providing father/brother/celestial roommate? If the two of them don't learn the facts of life, there's none to be had or created. Truth is, the fall may be a story that explains sex and committment, a cautionary tale from ages past, pre-DNA testing, when a woman could be certain a child was hers but a man never could unless he saw himself in the physical features of a son or daughter.

When bread is hard won and there are many mouths to feed, primitive heads of households were likely taught lively tales of why women should be carefully watched. I can almost hear the ancient father-son, wedding night talk, man-to-man, where the son is admonished to have sharp eyes for his future wife's possible deception. "Remember Eve? We all struggle because of her behavior. Women need tending and watching, son." But viewed with today's eyes, it seems silly that God creates Adam from the earth, Eve from his earthy side, and the two of them can't unearth any way to procreate until their divine father evicts them from the nuclear family abode. But then, it's an old story of how we began and how we came to be where and who we are. Well, not us specificially, but the people two thousand years ago that sat at an oasis and pondered why they were and why they were there.

Sorry for taking the topic lightly. I mean no disrespect and am, in the main, amusing myself which is a small audience. Perhaps I should have posted my response in the humor thread. I am, as many here know, by nature, a silly woman. As we once said in elementary school (wonder why there's no elemWomentary school?), when God said "brains" I thought he said, "rain" and ran for shelter. That's my creation story and I'm sticking to it. <IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif">

For a splendid discussion of the many stories of the book of Genesis, I would heartily recommend the video series and book Genesis: A Living Conversation facilitated and written by Bill Moyers and featuring the thoughts and insights of a host of brilliant writers, scholars, and thinkers.

Peace, love, joy,
Dixie

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Post by nandu » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Cliff and Vissi,

The creation myth of Genesis is the once-and-for-all creation myth. The myth of Adam and Eve, in contrast, is the perpetual creation myth: the creation of self-awareness from the total unknowing bliss of childhood. I've found this myth really poetic.

And Vissi, I've never found you silly!

Nandu.
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Post by Robert G. » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Dixie, I wanted to echo your recommendation for the Genesis series, it's a great way to get an introduction to some of the many possible interpretations of these stories, and contains some of great moments (Phyllis Trible and Dianne Bergant on Abraham and Isaac, Walter Brueggemann on Jacob and Esau. Mary Gordon gives the best definition of sin I've ever heard). Elaine Pagels in discussing Chapters 1 & 2 is good but is kind of pressed into defending herself by a couple of people who don't seem to really get what she's saying.

By the way, does anyone know why there was almost no mention of comparative mythology in these talks, and no mention at all of Campbell or his approach? Given how taken Moyers has always seemed to be with Joe, I've always wondered why not only his name but his views never come up here.

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Post by Raphael » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2005-09-27 22:18, nandu wrote:

The book of Genesis has two creation myths. In one, God is a sort of master of ceremonies, bringing up earth, heaven, light and darkness with broad sweeps of his arm. In the other, he lovingly creates man in his own image, and afterwards, woman. Why these two myths?
Nandu.
Nandu here is a thought ... looking through my filters of disbelief.

As you know I talk often about the macrocosm, the microcosm and thermodynamics.

I suggest the first Genesis tale is the story of creation in the macrocosm (field of relativity) and the 2nd Creation story is the microcosmic explanation of life represented by man’s inner universe (the quantum field).

And it gets more interesting because the 1st four Commandants, which ‘were’ inscribed on the 1st tablet of stone, relates to the macrocosm. These 1st four Commandments are said to represent man’s relationship to God.

And a theologian will tell you that the 2nd tablet contained the remaining 6 Commandments, which represented man’s relationship to his fellow man.
Essentially the “Thou shalt” commands. (Joe says something specific about these, I forget where I read it)
This is the 2nd Creation myth however it deals with the microcosm. It deals with the inner universe, which is directed by our feelings and our thoughts. And these are yet to be understood as contributing ‘forces’.
Why the requirement of the Garden of Eden, this small private place, when he has already created everything?
2 Gardens therefore…one in the macrocosm and one in the microcosm.
We are all witness to the macrocosm…it is a vision we can all observe and share in.
However we cannot see within our fellow man, only within ourselves.
So as Socrates suggested, or was it Plato, we can observe what lies inside the collective hearts and minds of mankind by observing the macrocosm, which is a manifestation of humanities’ collective inner feelings and thoughts.

And curiously was there in the Bible, a story that 'connected' the two Creation myths that you speak of Nandu?
My cosmogony says there exists a story representing a transition point between the two universes. I am just guessing using patterns. So I ask you, is there a story or tale in the Bible that connects the two Creation myths?

And does it involve Water and Fire?

So the other Garden of Eden lies within each of us. If this inner Garden flourishes so does the one that exists outside of us. Each of us therefore has the ability to cause and effect change on a personal level more effectively and it is not necessary that each of us competitively climb the apex of power and comfort. We, at the base however can cause and effect the most change if the gravitational fields connecting us all can somehow align themselves.

Namaste

Raphael

I am going to check the Bible now to see if my intuition is correct. hmm

ENERGY = GOD ... Share Him is the Message...
God can be neither created nor destroyed; he can only be transformed into other forms of God. However there is a penalty for committing sin, for transforming God and it is called Entropy.



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Raphael on 2006-01-27 09:58 ]</font>
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