Judaic myths grew from many sources. The primary source is the Bible; it covers a period between polytheism and monotheism, thus allowing a rich environment for myths. After that, much of the mythological material was retained, and elaborated on, in the two Talmuds, the midrashic literature, and the mystical literature, mostly as expressed in the Zohar. More exists in the Apocrypha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and in various texts written in Aramaic and Greek but pertaining to Judaism.
Jews were a literate people from an early date. They committed much of their traditions, beliefs, legends and tales to writing, creating a vast body of myth and folklore. They maintained a constant exchange between the mystical and the practical parts of life. The Talmud itself, the cornerstone of Jewish scholarship, is divided into two parts: Halakha, the body of practical laws and traditions, and the Aggada, a body of tales and legends that explains the Bible homiletically. The two systems cannot be truly separated in spirit; teaching, law, folklore, the wondrous tale and the formal myth are all interwoven into one great tradition.
For questions and/or comments concerning Judaic mythology, you can contact the editor of this section, Ilil Arbel.
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Editor: Ilil Arbel
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This section was last updated on October 14, 2013.