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Thread: Jewish Myths And Mysticism

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    Jewish Myths And Mysticism

    Tolkien would have likely been aware of biblical mythology. Wondering if it is where Gollum came from. There is a ;omg mystical Jewish tradition up to today.

    The Prague story shows how a religious myth starts and takes on a life of its own.




    htthttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golemps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golem

    In Jewish folklore, a golem (/ˈɡoʊləm/ GOH-ləm; Hebrew: גולם‎) is an animated anthropomorphic being that is magically created entirely from inanimate matter (usually clay or mud). The word was used to mean an amorphous, unformed material in Psalms and medieval writing.[1]

    The most famous golem narrative involves Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the late-16th-century rabbi of Prague. There are many tales differing on how the golem was brought to life and afterward controlled. According to Moment Magazine, "the golem is a highly mutable metaphor with seemingly limitless symbolism. It can be victim or villain, Jew or non-Jew, man or woman—or sometimes both. Over the centuries it has been used to connote war, community, isolation, hope and despair

    The Golem of Chełm[edit]

    See also: Elijah Ba'al Shem of Chełm

    The oldest description of the creation of a golem by a historical figure is included in a tradition connected to Rabbi Eliyahu of Chełm (1550–1583).[1][3][11][13]

    A Polish Kabbalist, writing in about 1630–1650, reported the creation of a golem by Rabbi Eliyahu thus: "And I have heard, in a certain and explicit way, from several respectable persons that one man [living] close to our time, whose name is R. Eliyahu, the master of the name, who made a creature out of matter [Heb. Golem] and form [Heb. tzurah] and it performed hard work for him, for a long period, and the name of emet was hanging upon his neck, until he finally removed it for a certain reason, the name from his neck and it turned to dust."[1] A similar account was reported by a Christian author, Christoph Arnold, in 1674.[1]

    Rabbi Jacob Emden (d. 1776) elaborated on the story in a book published in 1748:


    "As an aside, I'll mention here what I heard from my father's holy mouth regarding the Golem created by his ancestor, the Gaon R. Eliyahu Ba'al Shem of blessed memory. When the Gaon saw that the Golem was growing larger and larger, he feared that the Golem would destroy the universe. He then removed the Holy Name that was embedded on his forehead, thus causing him to disintegrate and return to dust. Nonetheless, while he was engaged in extracting the Holy Name from him, the Golem injured him, scarring him on the face."[14]

    According to the Polish Kabbalist, "the legend was known to several persons, thus allowing us to speculate that the legend had indeed circulated for some time before it was committed to writing and, consequently, we may assume that its origins are to be traced to the generation immediately following the death of R. Eliyahu, if not earlier."[1][15]

    The classic narrative: The Golem of Prague[edit


    Jewish museum with statue of Golem in Úštěk
    The most famous golem narrative involves Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the late 16th century rabbi of Prague, also known as the Maharal, who reportedly "created a [g]olem out of clay from the banks of the Vltava River and brought it to life through rituals and Hebrew incantations to defend the Prague ghetto from anti-Semitic attacks" and pogroms.[16][17] Depending on the version of the legend, the Jews in Prague were to be either expelled or killed under the rule of Rudolf II, the Holy Roman Emperor. The Golem was called Josef and was known as Yossele. It was said that he could make himself invisible and summon spirits from the dead.[17] Rabbi Loew deactivated the Golem on Friday evenings by removing the shem before the Sabbath (Saturday) began,[6] so as to let it rest on Sabbath.[6] One Friday evening Rabbi Loew forgot to remove the shem, and feared that the Golem would desecrate the Sabbath.[6] A different story tells of a golem that fell in love, and when rejected, became the violent monster seen in most accounts. Some versions have the golem eventually going on a murderous rampage.[17]

    The rabbi then managed to pull the shem from his mouth and immobilize him[6] in front of the synagogue, whereupon the golem fell in pieces.[6] The Golem's body was stored in the attic genizah of the Old New Synagogue,[17] where it would be restored to life again if needed.[18] According to legend, the body of Rabbi Loew's Golem still lies in the synagogue's attic.[6][17] When the attic was renovated in 1883, no evidence of the Golem was found.[19] Some versions of the tale state that the Golem was stolen from the genizah and entombed in a graveyard in Prague's Žižkov district, where the Žižkov Television Tower now stands. A recent legend tells of a Nazi agent ascending to the synagogue attic during World War II and trying to stab the Golem, but he died instead.[20] The attic is not open to the general public.[21]

    Some Orthodox Jews believe that the Maharal did actually create a golem. The evidence for this belief has been analyzed from an Orthodox Jewish perspective by Shnayer Z. Leiman.[22][23]

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    Veteran Member James Brown's Avatar
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    Gollum

    Several critics speculate that Beowulf'sGrendel could have been an inspiration for Gollum due to the many parallels between them – such as their affinity for water, their isolation from society due to personal choices, and their bestial description.[5] Although Tolkien never explicitly stated this, he accredited Beowulf as one of his "most valued sources" when writing The Hobbit.[6]

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    Veteran Member Sarpedon's Avatar
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    Linguistic coincidence. There's absolutely no other similarity between the two. There are only so many sounds a human mouth can make, and these coincidences are extremely common.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    I doubt that there is any direct connection to Tolkien's Gollum, but golems certainly influenced Western culture in many other ways; the links that connect golems to the concept of a "robot" are much more easily demostrable. Karel Copek, who coined the term, was also a Praguer, and openly remarked on the connection (though he had his own sociopolitical goals in portraying the "perfect serf" as an android). Another line of influence was that as a boy, his mother had used sympathetic magic to try and regrow his lungs using offerings of wax model dolls, a method similar to that used to create the golems in the original narrative. Isaac Asimov, who popularized the term and concept in the US, was also Jewish and referenced both Copek and golems frequently in his works, though usually in negation (he hated the mythic trope of robots going rogue and killing people, and most of his stories surround the implications of the safeguards against such malfunction).

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    Veteran Member Sarpedon's Avatar
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    Not to mention the influence the story had on "Frankenstein."

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    Formerly Joedad
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    I doubt that there is any direct connection to Tolkien's Gollum, but golems certainly influenced Western culture in many other ways; the links that connect golems to the concept of a "robot" are much more easily demostrable. Karel Copek, who coined the term, was also a Praguer, and openly remarked on the connection (though he had his own sociopolitical goals in portraying the "perfect serf" as an android). Another line of influence was that as a boy, his mother had used sympathetic magic to try and regrow his lungs using offerings of wax model dolls, a method similar to that used to create the golems in the original narrative. Isaac Asimov, who popularized the term and concept in the US, was also Jewish and referenced both Copek and golems frequently in his works, though usually in negation (he hated the mythic trope of robots going rogue and killing people, and most of his stories surround the implications of the safeguards against such malfunction).
    Archetypes are ubiquitous. Joseph Campbell didn't invent the concept, he merely popularized it. I remember discovering the golem in Jewish mythology years ago and immediately making the connection to Tolkein.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    I doubt that there is any direct connection to Tolkien's Gollum, but golems certainly influenced Western culture in many other ways; the links that connect golems to the concept of a "robot" are much more easily demostrable. Karel Copek, who coined the term, was also a Praguer, and openly remarked on the connection (though he had his own sociopolitical goals in portraying the "perfect serf" as an android). Another line of influence was that as a boy, his mother had used sympathetic magic to try and regrow his lungs using offerings of wax model dolls, a method similar to that used to create the golems in the original narrative. Isaac Asimov, who popularized the term and concept in the US, was also Jewish and referenced both Copek and golems frequently in his works, though usually in negation (he hated the mythic trope of robots going rogue and killing people, and most of his stories surround the implications of the safeguards against such malfunction).
    Archetypes are ubiquitous. Joseph Campbell didn't invent the concept, he merely popularized it. I remember discovering the golem in Jewish mythology years ago and immediately making the connection to Tolkein.
    I think most people know that the notion of archetypes was popularized by Karl Jung well before Joseph Campbell was writing. A few know something about Jung's much more antique hermetic and alchemic influences as well.

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    What Campbell concluded in his series was that all myths across all cultures across history represent the same funda,ntal human emotions and feelings.

    Odysseus and Rambo were on the same warriors journey to find a way home.


    What Yung said in part was essentially the same. Images represent the same human emotions and constructs across cultures and languages. Someone in Ireland dreams of horses, so does someone in Thailand. The collective subconscious is universal.

    The Jesus myth is simple. Half human half god dies in the act of salving the tribe, and goes to be with the god. The leader sacrifices for the good of all.

    In the 60s Jesus and Krishna were combined taken to represent the same thing. Same mytical values, Krishna predates Jesus.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krishna

    Shree Krishna or simply Krishna (/ˈkrɪʃnə/,[6] Sanskrit pronunciation: [ˈkɽɪʂɳɐ]; Sanskrit: कृष्ण, IAST: Kṛṣṇa) is a major deity in Hinduism. He is worshipped as the eighth avatar of the god Vishnu and also as the supreme God in his own right.[7] He is the god of compassion, tenderness, and love in Hinduism,[8][9][10] and is one of the most popular and widely revered among Indian divinities.[11] Krishna's birthday is celebrated every year by Hindus on Janmashtami according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar, which falls in late August or early September of the Gregorian calendar.[12]

    The anecdotes and narratives of Krishna's life are generally titled as Krishna Leela. He is a central character in the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana and the Bhagavad Gita, and is mentioned in many Hindu philosophical, theological, and mythological texts.[13] They portray him in various perspectives: a god-child, a prankster, a model lover, a divine hero, and as the universal supreme being.[14] His iconography reflects these legends, and shows him in different stages of his life, such as an infant eating butter, a young boy playing a flute, a young boy with Radha or surrounded by women devotees, or a friendly charioteer giving counsel to Arjuna.[15]

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