A Conversation for The Bible - a Perspective

A question for the biblical scolars

Post 81

Bernadette Lynn_ Home Educator

I tried Googling for it, and all the references I've seen suggest it's an ancient myth, with Lilith usually being cast as a demon; which stands to reason if only Adam, Eve and their children are to be considered human.


A question for the biblical scolars

Post 82

Hermi the Cat

That's essentially what I've heard - ancient myth with a pagan base and continued support among pagan and earth-worshipping religions. I've heard there is some Lillith legend in ancient Judaism as well but I haven't researched it.

Lillith was a fallen angel that Adam had sex with until God brought Eve into the picture. I guess fallen angel and demon are the same but I think the ideas I've always gotten from the various tellings was about a beautiful female who was at enmity with God. She allegedly bore children to Adam and some allude that the "sons of God" named in the flood narrative are actually the offspring of fallen angels and humans - perhaps even Lillith and Adam.

The US has a Lillith festival that celebrates the "goddess in all women" so I guess maybe some revere her as a goddess as well.

Eve was supposed to be the antithesis of Lillith in many ways. First, she was human. But more than that she was supposed to be his true partner, a helpmeet, rather than primarily a sexual partner as Lillith allegdly was. Of course, God was on Eve's side because he killed off all the "sons of God" in the flood, at least in corporeal form.
smiley - cat


A question for the biblical scolars

Post 83

Phoenician Trader

I googled too and found Robert Graves and Raphael Patai mythology reference (http://www.webcom.com/~gnosis/lillith.html). It lists various Lilith myths one after another.

Personally, doubt if a gentic spiritual purity was implied by sending Lilith away from Adam and God creating Eve as the replacement progenitor of the human race. The Lilith stories appear to be mystical and misogynistic. As well they provide motivation for purity rites for babies and a language for discussing new born deaths.

I wonder if the Lilith stories also provide a precendent for male initiated divorce. Women who were divorced for no reason in early Jewish times were left destitute, I understand, and if they were not taken back into their parents homes (in dishonour), they were left to become beggars or whores. Lilith, after being sumarily dismissed, would characterise the practice by becoming a demoness and living amongst "lascivious demons" and baring children "at the rate of more than one hundred a day". Setting Lilith up as being made from "filth and sediment instead of pure dust" justifies Adam's complicit rejection of her.

Eve, when she is created, is taken from Adam's rib - God does not make her independently from the earth as when making the previous women. Eve is subject to Adam, being made from him and he is thus "entranced".

I don't think anyone comes out of these stories well. However no-one is claiming that they are true either: after all they aren't in the "bible"!

One question. Are these stories older or younger than the genesis accounts? I think Genesis was formalised and written down in about 550BC (the content being older obviously).

smiley - lighthouse


A question for the biblical scolars

Post 84

Hermi the Cat

Curiosity overcame my reluctance to take the time and read up on the subject. How fascinating. This was was particularly good (and brief - I like that):
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/l/lilith.html

Doesn't the Lilith story condemn female initiated divorce? As well as the related and necessary punishment that should go along with any woman desiring to leave her man? Or, for that matter, any woman involved in extramarital sex?
smiley - cat

I have no idea on the age of the legends. One of the sources I read said that there were writings back to 600 C.E. but I couldn't find anything that compared the legends in relation to the time of recording the Biblical creation.


A question for the biblical scolars

Post 85

Phoenician Trader

When I read about those ancient stories that didn't get included in the bible it makes me realise how arbitrary the boundary is between
* the absolute truth of what is included,
* the absolute truth of what isn't included and
* the non truth of everything else.

In the end I see a lot of grey - not only in the selection process - but also in the nature of "history as truth".

To ask how many boy and girls were running around in a garden which happens to have a tree in the centre of it whose fruit is "knowledge of good and evil" - especially when the Lilith stories may only have been excluded by an editorial decision - seems to be forcing the whole thing to be black-and-white when quite possibly, if the text is taken literally, it isn't.

How could you write a book about creation that could throw light on shades of grey? I would start with Genesis. Maybe the truth it is telling is about shades of grey, complexity of the processes and outcomes of creation: the complexity of relationships between God, humanity and the rest of creation. It is wrapped up in a narrative structure to make it tellable. For many people Lilith was/is as true as Adam and Eve. The fact that God didn't tell the bearded men to include it in the Bible was neither here nor there as far as truth was concerned.

I hope this sheds light on the questions!

smiley - lighthouse


A question for the biblical scolars

Post 86

Hermi the Cat

Wow, you didn't even bite on my "stand by yer man" crack.

I agree that it would be impossible to put all of the creation story into writing - particularly if there was a Lillith angle to it. What I have to believe, for my own sanity, is that God is faithful and He gave us enough. Not everything but enough to understand whatever it is that He wants us to understand.

I also think that the Lillith myth provides additional ammunition for the repression of women. (Something that some men have sought for ages.) Woman's nature is rebellious. Even the perfect Eve rebelled and Lillith was much worse. Man can say that woman must be controlled because she naturally falls into the worst depravity. I know that I've been exposed to some religions that espouse a similar belief. (Thank God I'm a cat. Universally reviled for my independent and disobedient nature... Makes me purr.)
smiley - cat


A question for the biblical scolars

Post 87

themagigsword

Either the offspring of Adam and Eve did partake in incestual sex or there were other people around for them to procreate with.

If there was no incest does this not negate the whole concept of original sin?

I am not a bible scholar, do study sometimes the bible and are not affiliated with any doctrine of any church, I try to be quite open to interpretations re. spiritual and theological matters.
The answer to your question is simple, yes they did partake in incest.
Now a days it is quite a big deal, in those days no, then there was also not the laws of Moses, and in some instances God doesn't mind incest either, story of Lot and his 2 daughters.
hope that will answer your question, ofcourse many won't agree with me on this one the fact still remains that they did practice incest.
One should think more with the mind of God instead of humanizing everything on the level of human thinking.


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A question for the biblical scolars

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