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Saturday, 22 February 2014

Jewish and Islamic Traditions on the Seven Earths

ISLAMIC SOURCES

Al-Tirmidhi

Narrated AbuHurayrah

While Allah’s Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions were sitting clouds came over them and Allah’s Prophet (peace be upon him) asked, “Do you know what these are?” On their replying that Allah and His Messenger knew best, he said, “These are the clouds (anan), these are the water-carriers of the Earth, which Allah drives to people who do not thank Him or call upon him.” He then asked, “Do you know what is above you?” On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) knew best, he said, “It is the firmament, a ceiling which is guarded and waves which are kept back.” He then asked, “Do you know what is between you and it?” On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) knew best, he said, “Between you and it are five hundred years.” He then asked, “Do you knew what is above that?” On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) best he said, “Two heavens with a distance of five hundred years between them.” He went on speaking like that till he counted seven heavens, the distance between each pair being like between Heaven and Earth. He then asked, “Do you know what is above that?” On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) knew best, he said, “Above that is the Throne, and the distance between it and the (seventh) heaven is the same as that between each pair of heavens.” He then asked, “Do you know what is below you?” On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) knew best, he said, “It is the earth.” He then asked, “Do you know what is under that?” On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) knew best, he said, “Under it there is another Earth with a journey of five hundred years between them,” and so on till he had counted seven earths with a journey of five hundred years between each pair. He then said, “By Him in Whose hand Muhammad’s soul is, if you were to drop a rope to the lowest earth it would not pass out of Allah’s knowledge.” He then recited, “He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward, and He is omniscient.”

Tafsir Ibn Abbas

(Allah it is Who hath created seven heavens) one above the other like a dome, (and of the earth the like thereof) seven earths BUT THEY ARE FLAT. (The commandment cometh down among them slowly) He says: He sends the angels down from heaven with revelation, Scripture and calamities, (that ye may know) and acknowledge (that Allah is Able to do all things) relating to the dwellers of the heavens and the earths, (and that Allah surroundeth all things in knowledge) and that His knowledge encompasses everything.’ (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs; online source;)

Al-Tabari

According to Muhammad b. Sahl b. ‘Askar-Isma’il b. ‘Abd al-Karim-Wahb, mentioning some of his majesty (as being described as follows): The heavens and the earth and the oceans are in the haykal, and the haykal is in the Footstool. God’s feet are upon the Footstool. He carries the Footstool. It became like a sandal on His feet. When Wahb was asked: What is the haykal? He replied: Something on the heavens’ extremities that surrounds the earth and the oceans like ropes that are used to fasten a tent. And when Wahb was asked how earths are (constituted), he replied: They are seven earths that are FLAT and islands. Between each two earths, there is an ocean. All that is surrounded by the (surrounding) ocean, and the haykal is behind the ocean. (History of Al-Tabari-General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, Volume 1, trans. Franz Rosenthal [State University of New York Press, Albany 1989], pp. 207-208)

Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Kisa’I

… There are seven earths. The first is called Ramaka, beneath which is the Barren Wind, which can be bridled by no fewer than seventy thousand angels. With this wind God destroyed the people of Ad. The inhabitants of Ramaka are a nation called Muwashshim, upon whom is everlasting torment and divine retribution. The second earth is called Khalada, wherein are the implements of torture for the inhabitants of Hell. There dwells a nation called Tamis, whose food is their own flesh and whose drink is their own blood. The third earth is called Arqa, wherein dwell mulelike eagles with spearlike tails. On each tail are three hundred and sixty poisonous quills. Were even one quill placed on the face of the earth, the entire universe would pass away. The inhabitants thereof are a nation called Qays, who eat dirt and drink mothers’ milk. The fourth earth is called Haraba, wherein dwell the snakes of Hell, which are as large as mountains. Each snake has fangs like tall palm trees, and if they were to strike the hugest mountain with their fangs it would be leveled to the ground. The inhabitants of this earth are a nation called Jilla, and they have no eyes, hands or feet but have wings like bats and die only of old age. The fifth earth is called Maltham, wherein stones of sulphur hang around the necks of infidels. When the fire is kindled the fuel is placed on their breasts, and the flames leap up onto their faces, as He hath said: The fire whose fuel is men and stones (2:24), and Fire shall cover their faces (14:50). The inhabitants are a nation called Hajla, who are numerous and who eat each other. The sixth earth is called Sijjin. Here are the registers of the people of Hell, and their works are vile, as He hath said: Verily the register of the actions of the wicked is surely Sijjin (83:7). Herein dwells a nation called Qatat, who are shaped like birds and worship God truly. The seventh earth is called Ajiba and is the habitation of Iblis. There dwells a nation called Khasum, who are BLACK and short, with claws like lions. It is they who will be given dominion over Gog and Magog, who will be destroyed by them… (Tales of the Prophets-Qisas al-anbiya, trans. Wheeler M. Thackston Jr. [Great Books of the Islamic World, Inc., Distributed by Kazi Publications; Chicago, IL 1997], pp. 8-9)

Evidence from the hadith Sahih Al-Bukhari

Narrated Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin Al-Harith:

from Abu Salama bin 'Abdur-Rahman who had a dispute with some people on a piece of land, and so he went to 'Aisha and told her about it. She said, "O Abu Salama, avoid the land, for Allah's Apostle said, ‘Any person who takes even a span of land unjustly, his neck shall be encircled with it down seven earths.’" (Volume 4, Book 54, Number 417; see also Numbers 418, 420; Volume 3, Book 43, Numbers 632-634)

Narrated 'Abdullah:

A (Jewish) Rabbi came to Allah's Apostle and he said, "O Muhammad! We learn that Allah will put all the heavens on one finger, and the earths on one finger, and the trees on one finger, and the water and the dust on one finger, and all the other created beings on one finger. Then He will say, ‘I am the King.’" Thereupon the Prophet smiled so that his pre-molar teeth became visible, and that was the confirmation of the Rabbi. Then Allah's Apostle recited: ‘No just estimate have they made of Allah such as due to Him.’ (39.67) (Volume 6, Book 60, Number 335)

Sahih Muslim

Muhammad b. Ibrahim said that Abu Salama reported to him that there was between him and his people dispute over a piece of land, and he came to 'A'isha and mentioned that to her, whereupon she said: Abu Salama, abstain from getting this land, for Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: He who usurps even a span of land would be made to wear around his neck seven earths. (Book 010, Number 3925; see also Numbers 3920-3924)

Al-Tirmidhi

Narrated AbuHurayrah

While Allah's Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions were sitting clouds came over them and Allah's Prophet (peace be upon him) asked, "Do you know what these are?" On their replying that Allah and His Messenger knew best, he said, "These are the clouds (anan), these are the water-carriers of the Earth, which Allah drives to people who do not thank Him or call upon him." He then asked, "Do you know what is above you?" On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) knew best, he said, "It is the firmament, a ceiling which is guarded and waves which are kept back." He then asked, "Do you know what is between you and it?" On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) knew best, he said, "Between you and it are five hundred years." He then asked, "Do you knew what is above that?" On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) best he said, "Two heavens with a distance of five hundred years between them." He went on speaking like that till he counted seven heavens, the distance between each pair being like between Heaven and Earth. He then asked, "Do you know what is above that?" On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) knew best, he said, "Above that is the Throne, and the distance between it and the (seventh) heaven is the same as that between each pair of heavens." He then asked, "Do you know what is below you?" On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) knew best, he said, "It is the earth." He then asked, "Do you know what is under that?" On their replying that Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) knew best, he said, "Under it there is another Earth with a journey of five hundred years between them," and so on till he had counted seven earths with a journey of five hundred years between each pair. He then said, "By Him in Whose hand Muhammad's soul is, if you were to drop a rope to the lowest earth it would not pass out of Allah's knowledge." He then recited, "He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward, and He is omniscient." (Tirmidhi commented that Allah's Messenger's recitation of the verse indicates that it would go down within Allah's knowledge, power and authority, for Allah's knowledge, power and authority are everywhere, while He is on the Throne, as He described Himself in His Book.) Ahmad and Tirmidhi transmitted it. (Number 1513- taken from the ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Narrated Ubayy ibn Ka'b

In regard to the words of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, "Your Lord brought forth their offspring from the loins of the children of Adam." (7:172) Ubayy said: He gathered them and paired them then fashioned them and endowed them with the power of speech and they began to speak. He then made an agreement and covenant with them. He made them bear witness about themselves (saying) Am I not your Lord. They said: Yes. He said: I call to witness seven heavens and seven earths regarding you ... Transmitted by Ahmad. (Number 41- taken from the ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri

Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said that Moses asked his Lord to teach him something with which to make mention of Him or to supplicate Him, and was told to say, "There is no god but Allah." He replied to his Lord that all His servants said this, but he wanted something particularly for himself, and He said, "Moses, were the seven heavens and their inhabitants, apart from me, and the seven earths put on one side of a balance and ‘There is no god but Allah’ on the other, ‘There is no god but Allah’ would outweigh them."

It is transmitted in Sharh as-Sunnah. (Number 731- taken from the ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Narrated Ya'la ibn Murrah

Ya'la told of hearing Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) say, "If anyone wrongly takes a span of land, Allah, Who is Great and Glorious, will make him dig it till he gets to the end of seven earths, and then he will have it tied round his neck till the Day of Resurrection when men are judged."Ahmad transmitted it. (Number 885- taken from the ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Fiqh-us-Sunna

... Ata ibn abi Marwan states from his father that Ka'b took an oath by the One who opened up the sea for Moses that Suhaib related to him that whenever the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alehi wasallam saw a city which he wished to enter, he would say: "O Allah, Lord of the seven heavens and what they shade, Lord of the seven earths and what they carry, Lord of the satans and those that they misguide, Lord of the winds and what they blow away, I ask of You for the good of this city and the good of its inhabitants and the good of what is in it. I seek refuge in You from its evil and the evil of its inhabitants and the evil of what is in it." This is related by an-Nasa'i, ibn Hibban, and al-Hakim who calls it sahih ... (Volume 2, Number 119b- taken from the ALIM CD-ROM Version)

... Khalid b. Walid reported that once he suffered from insomnia. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said to him, "Shall I teach you words that will make you go to sleep when you say them? Say, ‘O Allah, the Lord of the seven heavens and whatever they cover, Lord of the earths and whatever they contain, Creator of devils and whomever they mislead, be my protector from the evil of all Your creatures lest some of them may hasten with insolence against me or transgress the bounds. Honored is he who is in Your protection and blessed be Your name, there is no god except You’." (Reported by At-Tabrani in his Al-Kahir and Al-Awsat. Its chain is sound, although Abdur-Rahman did not hear it from Khalid. Al-Hafiz al-Mundhari has mentioned it)… (Volume 4, Number 122- taken from the ALIM CD-ROM Version)

Evidence from Early Muslim Historians and Commentators

Tafsir Ibn Abbas

(Allah it is Who hath created seven heavens) one above the other like a dome, (and of the earth the like thereof) seven earths BUT THEY ARE FLAT. (The commandment cometh down among them slowly) He says: He sends the angels down from heaven with revelation, Scripture and calamities, (that ye may know) and acknowledge (that Allah is Able to do all things) relating to the dwellers of the heavens and the earths, (and that Allah surroundeth all things in knowledge) and that His knowledge encompasses everything.' (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn 'Abbâs; online source; bold, underline and capital emphasis ours) Al-Tabari

According to Muhammad b. Sahl b. 'Askar-Isma'il b. 'Abd al-Karim-Wahb, mentioning some of his majesty (as being described as follows): The heavens and the earth and the oceans are in the haykal, and the haykal is in the Footstool. God's feet are upon the Footstool. He carries the Footstool. It became like a sandal on His feet. When Wahb was asked: What is the haykal? He replied: Something on the heavens' extremities that surrounds the earth and the oceans like ropes that are used to fasten a tent. And when Wahb was asked how earths are (constituted), he replied: They are seven earths that are FLAT and islands. Between each two earths, there is an ocean. All that is surrounded by the (surrounding) ocean, and the haykal is behind the ocean. (History of Al-Tabari-General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, Volume 1, trans. Franz Rosenthal [State University of New York Press, Albany 1989], pp. 207-208)

Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allah al-Kisa'i

... There are seven earths. The first is called Ramaka, beneath which is the Barren Wind, which can be bridled by no fewer than seventy thousand angels. With this wind God destroyed the people of Ad. The inhabitants of Ramaka are a nation called Muwashshim, upon whom is everlasting torment and divine retribution. The second earth is called Khalada, wherein are the implements of torture for the inhabitants of Hell. There dwells a nation called Tamis, whose food is their own flesh and whose drink is their own blood. The third earth is called Arqa, wherein dwell mulelike eagles with spearlike tails. On each tail are three hundred and sixty poisonous quills. Were even one quill placed on the face of the earth, the entire universe would pass away. The inhabitants thereof are a nation called Qays, who eat dirt and drink mothers' milk. The fourth earth is called Haraba, wherein dwell the snakes of Hell, which are as large as mountains. Each snake has fangs like tall palm trees, and if they were to strike the hugest mountain with their fangs it would be leveled to the ground. The inhabitants of this earth are a nation called Jilla, and they have no eyes, hands or feet but have wings like bats and die only of old age. The fifth earth is called Maltham, wherein stones of sulphur hang around the necks of infidels. When the fire is kindled the fuel is placed on their breasts, and the flames leap up onto their faces, as He hath said: The fire whose fuel is men and stones (2:24), and Fire shall cover their faces (14:50). The inhabitants are a nation called Hajla, who are numerous and who eat each other. The sixth earth is called Sijjin. Here are the registers of the people of Hell, and their works are vile, as He hath said: Verily the register of the actions of the wicked is surely Sijjin (83:7). Herein dwells a nation called Qatat, who are shaped like birds and worship God truly. The seventh earth is called Ajiba and is the habitation of Iblis. There dwells a nation called Khasum, who are BLACK and short, with claws like lions. It is they who will be given dominion over Gog and Magog, who will be destroyed by them… (Tales of the Prophets-Qisas al-anbiya, trans. Wheeler M. Thackston Jr. [Great Books of the Islamic World, Inc., Distributed by Kazi Publications; Chicago, IL 1997], pp. 8-9)

Shaykh Al-Albani

The late renowned modern hadith scholar Al-Allamah Muhammad Nasir ud-Deen Al-Albani, after citing the following narration:

134 - "When death was approaching the Prophet of Allah Nooh – sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam – he said to his son: I will narrate to you my bequest; I command you with two things and prohibit you from two things. I command you with 'La ilaha ‘illa Allaah' (‘There is none worthy of worship in truth except Allaah) if the seven heavens and the seven earths were placed upon a scale and 'La ilaha ‘illa Allaah' was placed on the other, then 'La ilaha ‘illa Allaah' would be heavier… Silsilah Saheehah: 134 Stated that: 4 - The seven earths are like the seven heavens. There are many Ahadeeth regarding this in Bukharee and Muslim and in other books. Perhaps one day we will have time to follow up these hadeeth and research them. What supports these Ahadeeth is the saying of Allaah Tabaraka wa Ta' aala : << It is Allah Who has created seven heavens and of the earth the like thereof (i.e. seven). >> I.e. they are similar in creation and in number.

JEWISH SOURCES

Legends of the Jews, Volume 1 by Louis Ginzberg A good copy can be downloaded at http://english.grimoar.cz/?Loc=book&Lng=2&Back=nam&UID=2127

From page 109-110:

THE INHABITANTS OF THE SEVEN EARTHS

When Adam was cast out of Paradise, he first reached the lowest of the seven earths, the Erex, which is dark, without a ray of light, and utterly void. Adam was terrified, particularly by the flames of the ever-turning sword, which is on this earth. After he had done penance, God led him to the second earth, the Adamah, where there is light reflected from its own sky and from its phantom-like stars and constellations. Here dwell the phantom-like beings that issued from the union of Adam with the spirits.32 They are always sad; the emotion of joy is not known to them. They leave their own earth and repair to the one inhabited by men, where they are changed into evil spirits. Then they return to their abode for good, repent of their wicked deeds, and till the ground, which, however, bears neither wheat nor any other of the seven species.33 In this Adamah, Cain, Abel, and Seth were born. After the murder of Abel, Cain was sent back to the Erex, where he was frightened into repentance by its darkness and by the flames of the ever-turning sword. Accepting his penitence, God permitted him to ascend to the third earth, the Arka, which receives some light from the sun. The Arka was surrendered to the Cainites forever, as their perpetual domain. They till the ground, and plant trees, but they have neither wheat nor any other of the seven species.

Some of the Cainites are giants, some of them are dwarfs. They have two heads, wherefore they can never arrive at a decision; they are always at loggerheads with themselves.34 It may happen that they are pious now, only to be inclined to do evil the next moment.

In the Ge, the fourth earth, live the generation of the Tower of Babel and their descendants. God banished them thither because the fourth earth is not far from Gehenna, and therefore close to the flaming fire.35 The inhabitants of the Ge are skilful in all arts, and accomplished in all departments of science and knowledge, and their abode overflows with wealth. When an inhabitant of our earth visits them, they give him the most precious thing in their possession, but then they lead him to the Neshiah, the fifth earth, where he becomes oblivious of his origin and his home. The Neshiah is inhabited by dwarfs without noses; they breathe through two holes instead. They have no memory; once a thing has happened, they forget it completely, whence their earth is called Neshiah, “forgetting.” The fourth and fifth earths are like the Arka; they have trees, but neither wheat nor any other of the seven species.

The sixth earth, the Ziah, is inhabited by handsome men, who are the owners of abundant wealth, and live in palatial residences, but they lack water, as the name of their territory, Ziah, “drought,” indicates. Hence vegetation is sparse with them, and their tree culture meets with indifferent success. They hasten to any water spring that is discovered, and sometimes they succeed in slipping through it up to our earth, where they satisfy their sharp appetite for the food eaten by the inhabitants of our earth. For the rest, they are men of steadfast faith, more than any other class of mankind.36 Adam remained in the Adamah until after the birth of Seth. Then, passing the third earth, the Arka, the abiding-place of the Cainites, and the next three earths as well, the Ge, the Neshiah, and the Ziah, God transported him to the Tebel, the seventh earth, the earth inhabited by men.

Notes

32. On this point compare with p. 114. Concerning the darkness which came upon Adam after the fall, compare footnote 108 on p. 87.

33. The seven products mentioned in Deut. 8. 8 are here referred to. Comp. Berakot 6. 4.

34. Instead of ÷y yb ÷yrtk read ÷y ar ÷yrt ÷whlw. On the two-headed Cainites compare pp. 950–951; Zohar I, 9b, and II, 80a. In the first passage of Zohar mention is made also of the two monsters Afrira and Kastimon, who were placed as rulers of the abode of the Cainites, and are the cause that Naamah (=Lilith) appears to men in sleep. The entire passage is rather obscure, but this much is certain that the Zohar conceives the Cainites as a species of genii, demons, and monsters. This view is prevalent in the legends of medieval Europe; comp. Emerson, Legends of Cain, 878, as well as the sources cited in note 36, and further Otot ha Mashiah, 58 (below).

35. Comp. Greek Baruch III, and text on p. 164 on the part of the earth near to Gehenna.

36. Zohar Hadash Bereshit 8a–8b (instead of ynbl ylkad read ylkad ynbk); Zohar Ruth, 97b (beginning yam wjr @r rmaw); Zohar I, 9b, 39b–40a, 54b, 157a, and additions to I, 3a–3b; II, 41b, and 80a; III, 9b–10a. For further details on the monsters, half-men and half-animals, in the nether-world (to which reference is made in the last passage), comp. note 34, as well as text on p. 6. On the thirst of the inhabitants of the nether-world, compare footnote 135 on p. 576 and Dietrich, Nekyia, 97, seq., where reference is made to the prevalent view concerning the thirst of the dead. Of Greek origin is the conception of the place of “forgetfulness”; comp. Rohde, Psyche, II, 310, and 390–391. See the following note.

The Creation of the World, from pages 6-11:

Corresponding to the seven heavens, God created seven earths, each separated from the next by five layers. Over the lowest earth, the seventh, called Erex, lie in succession the abyss, the Tohu, the Bohu, a sea, and waters.23 Then the sixth24 earth is reached, the Adamah, the scene of the magnificence of God. In the same way the Adamah is separated from the fifth earth, the Arka, which contains Gehenna, and Sha‘are Mawet, and Sha‘are Zalmawet, and Beër Shahat, and Yiy ha-Yawen, and Abaddon, and Sheol,25 and there the souls of the wicked are guarded by the Angels of Destruction.

In the same way Arka is followed by Harabah, the dry, the place of brooks and streams in spite of its name, as the next, called Yabbashah, the mainland, contains the rivers and the springs. Tebel, the second earth, is the first mainland inhabited by living creatures, three hundred and sixty-five species,26 all essentially different from those of our own earth. Some have human heads set on the body of a lion, or a serpent, or an ox; others have human bodies topped by the head of one of these animals.

Besides, Tebel is inhabited by human beings with two heads and four hands and feet, in fact with all their organs doubled excepting only the trunk.27 It happens sometimes that the parts of these double persons quarrel with each other, especially while eating and drinking, when each claims the best and largest portions for himself. This species of mankind is distinguished for great piety, another difference between it and the inhabitants of our earth.

Our own earth is called Heled, and, like the others, it is separated from the Tebel by an abyss, the Tohu, the Bohu, a sea, and waters. Thus one earth rises above the other, from the first to the seventh, and over the seventh earth the heavens are vaulted, from the first to the seventh, the last of them attached to the arm of God.

The seven heavens form a unity, the seven kinds of earth form a unity, and the heavens and the earth together also form a unity.28 When God made our present heavens and our present earth, “the new heavens and the new earth”29 were also brought forth, yea, and the hundred and ninety-six thousand worlds which God created unto His own glory.30 It takes five hundred years to walk from the earth to the heavens, and from one end of a heaven to the other, and also from one heaven to the next,31 and it takes the same length of time to travel from the east to the west, or from the south to the north.32 Of all this vast world only one third is inhabited, the other two-thirds being equally divided between water and waste desert land.

Beyond the inhabited parts to the east is Paradise33 with its seven divisions, each assigned to the pious of a certain degree. The ocean is situated to the west, and it is dotted with islands upon islands, inhabited by many different peoples. Beyond it, in turn, are the boundless steppes full of serpents and scorpions, and destitute of every sort of vegetation, whether herbs or trees. To the north are the supplies of hell-fire, of snow, hail, smoke, ice, darkness, and windstorms, and in that vicinity sojourn all sorts of devils, demons, and malign spirits. Their dwelling-place is a great stretch of land, it would take five hundred years to traverse it. Beyond lies hell.

To the south is the chamber containing reserves of fire, the cave of smoke, and the forge of blasts and hurricanes. 34 Thus it comes that the wind blowing from the south brings heat and sultriness to the earth. Were it not for the angel Ben Nex, the Winged, who keeps the south wind back with his pinions, the world would be consumed.35 Besides, the fury of its blast is tempered by the north wind, which always appears as moderator, whatever other wind may be blowing.36

In the east, the west, and the south, heaven and earth touch each other, but the north God left unfinished, that any man who announced himself as a god might be set the task of supplying the deficiency, and stand convicted as a pretender.37 The construction of the earth was begun at the centre, with the foundation stone of the Temple, the Eben Shetiyah,38 or the Holy Land is at the central point of the surface of the earth, Jerusalem is at the central point of Palestine, and the Temple is situated at the centre of the Holy City.

In the sanctuary itself the Hekal is the centre, and the holy Ark occupies the centre of the Hekal, built on the foundation stone, which thus is at the centre of the earth.39 Thence issued the first ray of light, piercing to the Holy Land, and from there illuminating the whole earth.40 The creation of the world, however, could not take place until God had banished the ruler of the dark.41 “Retire,” God said to him, “for I desire to create the world by means of light.” Only after the light had been fashioned, darkness arose, the light ruling in the sky, the darkness on the earth.42 The power of God displayed itself not only in the creation of the world of things, but equally in the limitations which He imposed upon each. The heavens and the earth stretched themselves out in length and breadth as though they aspired to infinitude, and it required the word of God to call a halt to their encroachments.43

Notes

23. The sea and the water in Jewish legend, like Apsu and Tiamat in Babylonian mythology, are two different elements: the one is sweet water and the other salt water. To point out the exact nature of this difference, Konen 24 uses the phrase μyqwtm μym (“sweet water”), in contrast to μy “sea”=salt water.

24. That is, counted from above downward.

25. Seven names for hell are already given in ‘Erubin 19a, which in Tehillim 11, 100 (with some variants) appear as seven compartments of hell; comp. notes 55–57.

26. Corresponding to the number of days of the solar year.

27. Concerning these monsters, compare with footnote 34 on p. 110.

28. MHG I, 16–17. For a full account of the seven earths, see Konen 35–37; Seder Rabba di-Bereshit 5–28 (different versions); Raziel (tycarb hc[m), 27a–27b. Older sources speak of seven or ten names of the earth (comp. note 22 with reference to the seven or ten heavens), as well of the seven earths. It is, however, doubtful whether this does not really mean seven parts (zones), comp. PK 24, 155a; WR 19. 11; Shir 6. 4 (here, however, only six heavens are mentioned, the highest of which, where God dwells, not being included, and six earths; comp. PK 1, 7b, and ShR 15. 26); ARN 38, 110; second version 43, 119; Mishle 8, 59, and 9, 61; Tehillim 92, 402; PRE 8; see further Sode Raza in Yalkut Reubeni on Gen. 1. 1, 2d–3a. Another sevenfold division of the earth is to be found in the following statement of Hagigah 12b and, with essential variants, in Yerushalmi 2, 77a; Leket 8b; Tehillim 104, 442; Seder Rabba di-Bereshit 11. According to this statement, the earth rests on pillars, which rest on water, which rests on mountains, which rest on the winds, which rest on storms, which rest on God’s arm. The number of the pillars upon which the earth rests is variously given: seven, twelve, and even one, whose name is “Zaddik” (righteous). These seven pillars of the earth are personified in the Clementine writings as the seven saints Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. The view that there is a connection between the seven pillars of the earth spoken of by the Rabbis and the seven saints of the Clementine writings, first suggested by Ginzberg in the Jewish Encyclopedia, IV, 114, is now proved to be correct by Alphabetot 103, where the seven pillars are actually identified with the seven pious men: the three patriarchs and Moses, Aaron, David, and Solomon.

29. BR 1. 13; Tan. B. I, 6. Comp. also Alphabetot 97.

30. Seder Rabba di-Bereshit 4–5; Alphabetot 89. A passage found at the end of the Mishnah which, however, does not belong to it, but is a later insertion (comp. Sanhedrin 100a; Tehillim 31, 239, and Schwarz, Die Controversen, 2) reads as follows: In the time to come God will bestow three hundred and ten worlds on every righteous person. Comp. further Petirat Mosheh 121 (where awbr is to be struck out), and Ketoret ha-Sammim 4b, where a passage from ARN is cited concerning the three hundred and ten worlds. This passage does not occur in our texts of this Midrash, but it resembles the statement of BHM I, 132 (this is the source of R. Bahya, Gen. 1. 1) with reference to the three hundred and ninety heavens. On these heavens see Derek Erez R. 2 (end) and Targum Yerushalmi Exod. 28.

30. Instead of three hundred and ten, Alphabetot of R. Akiba has three hundred and forty. In the same source, 29, the view regarding the distance between the angels and the Shekinah is very likely connected with the statement made in ‘Abodah Zarah 3b and Seder Rabba 4 concerning the eighteen thousand worlds. Comp. likewise note 97.

31. BR 6. 6 and numerous parallel passages cited by Theodor. Comp. likewise Ascension of Isaiah 7. 18; see text on p. 503; text on p. 613; text on p. 1103. See also the sources cited in the following note.

32. Ta‘anit 10a; Pesahim 94a; Yerushalmi Berakot 1, 2c. Comp. the material collected by Hirschensohn, Sheba‘ Hokmot, 1–13, on the views of the ancient rabbinic sources concerning the extension of the earth and other physicalmeteorological observations found in these writings. On the thickness of the heavens comp. BR 6. 6, and the Greek Baruch 3.

33. Konen 27. Yalkut Reubeni on Lev. 2. 13 quotes the following from an unknown Midrash: The world is divided into three parts: inhabited land, desert, and sea; the temple is situated in the inhabited land, the Torah was given in the desert, and salt from the sea is offered with every sacrifice. God’s power extends over all these three parts of the earth; He led Israel through the Red Sea, they wandered through the wilderness, and reached the inhabited land, Palestine; R. Bahya on Num. 10. 35. According to Ezra 42, a seventh part of the earth is water; but this bears no relation to Recognitiones 9, 26. This passage contains only the view that the world is divided into seven zones. Comp. the rabbinic parallel passages cited in note 28. The division into twelve zones, which is frequently found in non-Jewish sources (comp. Broll, Sphaera, 296, and Jeremias, ATAO 2, 50–51), is not unknown to rabbinic literature, where it is stated that according to Deut. 32. 8 the earth consists of twelve parts corresponding to the twelve sons of Jacob. Comp. Seder Rabba di-Bereshit 4; Alphabet R. Akiba 24; Lekah, Gen. 1. 14 (end, where it is said that the various zones correspond to the signs of the Zodiac). See further footnote 73 on p. 157.—The view that paradise is situated in the east is based on Gen. 2. 8. But μdqm in this verse was taken by very old authorities in the sense of “pre-existing” (comp. Excursus I). Thus many Rabbis assert that paradise was situated in the west, or to be more accurate, in the north-west. Comp. Tosafot Berakot 55b, caption arfm; Enoch 32; text on p. 645.

34. Konen 28–31; Baba Batra 25a; text on pp. 645, 685. 35. Gittin 31b. On the winds comp. Hirschensohn, Sheba‘ Hokmot, 8–11; Derenbourg, Monatsschrift, XXX, 173–174. Compare with p. 716.

36. Gittin 31b; Konen 31. An interesting parallel to 2 Enoch 40. 11, concerning the stilling of the wind in order that the world should not be destroyed, is found in BR 24. 4 (comp. the parallel passages cited by Theodor).

37. PRE 3; Tehillim 2, 16. Comp. likewise Baba Batra 25b.

38. This is the usual transliteration, whereas Shetiyyah is the only permissible form, if it is to be derived from ytc.

39. Tan. B. III, 78; Tan. Kedoshim 10. We are here confronted with a legend which is composed of various elements. Palestine, God’s favorite land, was created before all other parts of the world; Sifre D., 37; Mekilta RS, 168; Ta‘anit 10a; Sibyl. 5. 300. Comp. likewise Excursus I. Instead of Palestine in general, Jerusalem (Yoma 54b; Tehillim 50, 279; Targum Ps. 50. 2), or the site of the temple (comp. the following note) is designated as the beginning of creation. The widespread popular notion that the earth came into being as a result of a stone which God had thrown into the water (comp. Dähnhardt, Natursagen, I, 4, and see further the remarks on water as the primeval first element in Excursus I) was subsequently brought into relation with the view that creation began with the site of the temple; hence the legend that creation began with the stone found in the holy of holies; see Tosefta Yoma 4. 6; comp. also Babli 54b (qjxy @r ajpn, in view of Tosefta ‘Erubin 7. 18, against Rabbinovicz, is to be retained); Yerushalmi 5, 42b; Tan., loc. cit., and parallel passages. Independent of and partly contradictory to this view is the opinion which maintains that Palestine is situated in the centre of the earth; Jub. 8. 12; Enoch 26. 1 (according to 90. 20, Gehenna is likewise located in the centre of the earth, because an entrance thereof is found in Jerusalem, the centre of Palestine; see ‘Erubin 19a; Preuschen, Adamschriften, 27, which is not anti-Jewish); PR 10, 34a, and many of the parallel passages in later Midrashim, cited by Friedmann (Yoma, loc. cit., on the contrary, distinguishes between the centre of the earth and Jerusalem), to which many more may be added; comp. e.g. Seder Rabba di-Bereshit 4; Zohar II, 151a; III, 161b and 221b. Jerusalem is already mentioned in Aristeas, 83 as the centre of Palestine, and this agrees with the later Midrashim, Tan., loc. cit., and parallel passages; Seder Rabba di-Bereshit, loc. cit. Since it was assumed that the ark was placed in the centre of the holy of holies (Meleket ha-Mishkan 53; not so Maimonides, Yad ha-Hazakah, Bet ha-Behirah 4. 1, and RSBM on Baba Batra 99a) upon the Eben Shetiyyah, the legend, desirous of finding creation centres (comp. the elaborate account of such circles in Zohar II, 157, and III, 161b), quite naturally saw in this stone the centre of the earth. In view of the belief that the creation of the earth (and of everything; comp. Yoma 85a) began with its centre, the Eben Shetiyyah also became the beginning of creation. The oldest source (Yoma 5. 2), where this stone is mentioned, leaves no doubt that it is considered to have come down there at the time of the first prophets (i.e., Samuel and David; comp. Sotah 48b and Yerushalmi 9, 24b; see, however, Yerushalmi Berakot 5, 8d), and it is therefore impossible to assume that the Mishnah identified it with the stone with which creation began. It is accordingly probable that hytc is the same as hytca, and hytc @a is to be translated “firestone,” i.e., meteor. We have here, therefore, a tradition based upon 2 Samuel 24. 16, seq., and 1 Chron. 21. 26, according to which a meteor fell down at this place (note that the Mishnah does not read ÷wtn hyh), where subsequently the holy of holies was situated. Hadar on Exod. 19. 19 quotes Targum Yerushalmi ad loc., in which atcya ynba is employed in the sense of meteors. Later, however, hytc @a was connected with ytc “loom” (creation as a spinning out of skeins of the warp is a favorite picture; comp. BR 10. 5 and the parallels given by Theodor) and ytc “foundation;” comp. Tosefta, Yerushalmi, and Babli Yoma, loc. cit.; Yerushalmi Pesahim 4, 30d; PK 28, 171a; Tan. B. III, 78; Tan. Ahare 3 and Kedoshim 10; WR 20. 4; BaR 21. 4; Shir 3, 9. In all these passages it is stated that the stone was called Eben Shetiyyah because the foundation of the world had been laid with it. A later development of the Eben Shetiyyah legend transferred to this stone all that which had originally been said concerning the foundation of the temple (compare with p. 923, and note 69 appertaining to it). It is therefore asserted that the “Ineffable Name” was engraved on this stone, whose power checks the Tehom from overflowing the earth; comp. Targum Yerushalmi Exod. 28. 30; Targum Eccl. 3. 11. This legend is further enlarged upon in Jewish Jesus tales. Since the knowledge of this name enabled anyone to accomplish all one desired, a device was necessary to prevent misuse. At the gate of the temple two brazen dogs were placed (on such magic dogs compare with pp. 546–547), so that whenever a person who had acquired the knowledge of the Name would pass, they began to bark. Frightened by this sound, the person would forget the knowledge of the Name. Jesus, however, had written the Name on paper, which he hid under his skin. He forgot the Name while passing the dogs, but later learned it again from the paper which he pulled out from under his skin. By means of the Name he was able to perform all the miracles. Comp. Krauss, Leben Jesu, index s.v. “Grundstein.” The view that the Name of the Messiah is engraved upon a stone of the heavenly temple belongs likewise to the Eben Shetiyyah legend cycle. For further details concerning this legend, see text p. 278; Feuchtwanger in Monatsschrift LV, 43–47; Jeremias, Babylonisches im NT, 79–80, and ATAO 2, 49, 155, 372, 374, 585.

40. Konen 24–25, based on old sources; comp. BR 3. 4–5; PK 21, 145b; WR 31. 7; ShR 15. 22 and 50. 1; Tehillim 50, 279 (where it is said that also the destruction of this world as well as the creation of the new world will begin with Zion) and 104, 441; ER 5, 21; Tan. B. II, 96.

41. Originally a mythological conception of creation as a struggle between light and darkness (=chaos). In Jewish sources the prince of darkness is the angel of death (=Satan); comp. ShR 8. 6; Yelammedenu in Ozar Midrashim 64b; Tan. Wa-Yakhel 4. He is, of course, considered to have been created by God.

42. PR 20, 95a–96b, and 203a. The allegorical interpretation of the sign of the Zodiac, although found in both versions of the Pesikta, does not belong to the original legend concerning the struggle between light and darkness, i.e., God and Satan, and is therefore rightly omitted in the manuscript made use of for the text. In this account water and darkness are identical, because water is conceived as the chaotic primeval substance. On the rebellion of the water comp. notes 50–53 and 71–73, as well as Konen 25 (read wdwbkm hmqrtnw or h[qrtnw for wdwbk hnqrtnw; the formation of solid bodies out of the fluid water will thus be explained), where, quite manifestly, the struggle between light and darkness, as the strife of the former against the water, is described, although just a little before (24) this struggle is given in quite a different form.

43. BR 5. 8 and 46. 3, where the Midrash refers to Aquila’s translation of ydc by “ikanos;” comp. Theodor on the second passage just referred to and Joel, Blicke, I, 147. As to the aspiration of created things to be infinite, see the utterance of R. Simeon b. Lakish in Hagigah 12a (combined with the myth of the rebellion of the waters; see note 42), and Dähnhard, Natursagen, I, 2. Comp. also Tan. B. I, 7– 8, 80, 197, 202; Tan. Hayye Sarah 3. In the first passage of Tan. it is said that the heavens which were created out of the heap of snow (comp. note 18), in accordance with God’s blessing, “became fearful and multiplied.”

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