To paraphrase a FaceSpacePlus post-
".... According to the True Bible Texts Lilith was created before Adam, but she refused to submit to Adam so GOD created Eve and He made her so that she had to submit and Lilith was banished from the Garden...."-from a friend
How could the Desk resist? How many topics for a Mystery Series Article can you cram into one sentence? Creation Myths, the Garden of Eden, Adam and his cohorts, The Fall (yes, it's in there too, we'll come back to that), and, of course, the "True Bible Texts"... so, to quote the Great One.
"And Awaaayyy We Goooo...."
-Jackie Gleason (1916 - 1987)
©12 The Media Desk
And so to begin, we'll start with:
... and while we're at it, who were Adam and Eve - really?
First come first served.... "Lilith, this is your... errr, well, myth!"
The first use of what resembles the lady's name goes back to the story about our old friend Gilgamesh and an adventure with a female demon named Lillake who lived in a willow tree. There was also the Assyrian words "Lilitu" and or "Lilit" which were female wind spirits. Both predate the word's occurrence in Jewish mythology by a couple of thousand years. See below for a link to Gilgamesh's Epic.
Some base the existence of Lilith in the statement from Genesis one that there was another woman around before Eve as- "male and female He created them" comes before Chapter 2 verse 21 to be exact, where we find the 'rib story' of the creation of Eve. For the rest of the text, see below for the hotlink to BibleGateway.com where you can read it at your leisure.
It is in the Zohar (see link to Internet Sacred Texts Archive below) and especially chapter 16 where we run smack into what the original post above was talking about in the words of one of the Rabbis in the discussion:
"...In a very ancient occult book we have found it stated that what God took from the side of Adam was not a rib but Lilith, who had cohabited with him and given birth to offspring. She was however an unsuitable helpmeet for Adam and therefore Scripture states, 'But for Adam there was not found a helpmeet for him' (Gen. ii. 20). After the disappearance of Lilith and Adam's descent into the world plane of existence, then it was, as stated, 'The Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone, I will make him a helpmeet for him.' "
- Zohar page 168 (link to source below)
But thereby comes the rub, or at least the first one. When Lilith arrived on the scene it wasn't in the Garden, but in a higher plane of existence, supposedly in the realm of angles and whatnot, not down here in the mud with the rest of us. While her replacement was always a creature of this lower world.
Before we head downstairs let's go looking for the Rabbi's 'very ancient occult book' and see if we can find it.
From the best sources the Desk can find without learning to read Aramaic, the discussion in the Zohar was referencing a couple of passages in the Talmud which depict Lilith as a night stalker who does various mischievous deeds in the night on par with a succubus. And at one point, she is mentioned to have wings. Another source which may have been what they were talking about, is mainly a retelling of stories from the older Talmud and various oral traditions, the "Alphabet of ben Sirach" which is at best, from the Middle Ages. As for other texts of a more Biblical vein, we'll come back to that, so hang on for now.
The infamous Haggada, compiled and translated in 1909 by Louis Ginzberg as "The Legends of the Jews" (link also below) simply states that even though she had first rejected him, when Lilith and Adam got together later all they produced were demons that were later dispatched by Methuselah, and appears to just be a re-re-telling of the stories from the older sources.
Of course there are a lot of comparatively 'brand new' legends and myths and stories about the Old Lady, most of which are literally 'brand new' when compared to the foundation of the Zohar.
WARNING: Tangent Ahead
Many things can be said about the Zohar, but most of them won't be true.
Yes, it is a core book for that endless, almost impenetrable fog of Jewish Mysticism and Kabalistic traditions. The book itself is a book of other books (like the Bible), taking sections from the Torah, oral instructions, Jewish traditions, and other topics and expanding on them sometimes to their logical extreme.
Now to say that the Zohar is 'the' core book is to misrepresent things slightly. There are several versions of what may or may not have been one original book compiled from sources that were even then very old and already muddled.
Is it a book of "Jewish Magic"? The Key to the Universe? Proof that Christ was something else? Evidence of a worldwide Jewish Conspiracy to bring back the Dumont Television Network as a mind control device in a brilliant but twisted attempt to take over Canada?
Well, if you want to find any of that in the book, you can. You may use the link below to the full text of one version of the book on the ISTA and take a look yourself.
One of the newest takes on Lilith is found in the world of Wicca and other goddess religions who put a nicer face on one who probably isn't used to being treated that way. Most of these works simply take some of the much older stories and respin them in a way positive to Lilith. Which means they mainly leave out the part about killing newborns in their sleep.
In any case. Lilith is never mentioned in any favorable light by any ancient source the Desk could find. A fact which is now written off as bias on the part of the male dominated world of the Middle East where the history was written. In those countries seeing a woman as an equal or even, gulp, a Superior, was well documented as being a known cause of a possibly fatal case of the Fantods. So Lilith has been adopted by those that invoke the Mother Goddess as their poster child. Keep her in mind as we'll come back to her several times. Both 'hers' in that sentence.
Well... OK, that works as far as it goes, but we also have a thread that links Ms. Lilith to Kali Ma to the East. Kali shares several of Lilith's attributes, including a somewhat shaky relationship with her husband, in this case Shiva, and she often depicted standing over his mutilated body. And thereby comes Lilith's trait of being both Creator and Destroyer of life. And the source for any number of 'things that go bump in the night' as well as both Kali and Lilith are said to have bore a number of offspring that could be listed under the general heading of 'demons'. If you look at the way Lilith left Adam, mutilation was definitely part of the picture as they are often mentioned sharing one androgynous body instead of Lilith being 'made from a rib'.
Speaking of Eve
Unlike Lilith, Eve was put together here (in This World), and in all stories, she was assembled from spare parts from Adam and was made to be submissive, and even subservient, to him. Which doesn't sit well with those of the Feminist Union. The opposite of what we mentioned with the men in the Middle East concerning Lilith.
Eve is held to an inhuman standard all her own. She is regarded as the "mother of nations", and considered the absolute incarnation of Natural Beauty, much as the Virgin Mary is considered the perfection of Chaste Beauty. In every story she is the catalyst for the Fall, and is the beginning of the prophecy which will eventually result in 'her seed' being the Messiah.
But to her credit, Eve has her own devotees, and her own opposite numbers in every ancient tradition worth talking about as the 'begetter' of ... well, either Everything, or just People, or whatever. In that aspect Eve takes on that role of the Mother Goddess, the positive feminine side of the Creative Force of the Universe in contrast to 'the dark side' that has been painted on Lilith in the apocryphal stories about her.
The concept of a primeval 'mother' of creation goes back into the shady mists of history so far that you cannot point to one figure or even mythological base and say that it was first. You can trace Eve back through Kheba (Khepat) and various other pagan female deities. And you can even add a pinch of the Sumerian queen and later goddess Kubaba and if you stir a long time, and split off enough of the dough to make Gaia, you're left with Eve.
Eve's primary problem in the Christian Tradition is that she is overshadowed in every way by the Mother of Jesus. Eve is instead left holding the Apple and the role of the Ideal of Womanhood goes to Mary. As for a discussion of the Fall, we'll come back to that.
Oh, by the way: Contrary to the travel brochures, there is no credible evidence that the Tomb of Eve is in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
First, was there an "Adam"?
Well, it depends on what you mean. In the old language the word can be the proper name of a single individual, and so it has been taken since... since Adam. But it can also mean a group of people, literally a tribe who are more or less directly all related to each other, worship the same God, live in the same area, and so on.
So, yeah, there may have well been An Adam, but there was also equally likely that there was a whole baseball team of Adams including the pitching coach and a spare first baseman.
In the legends already cited, Adam is seen as something of a loser who can't abide having a woman who is his equal and isn't happy until he has Eve to order about and even when he screws up and eats the apple he tries to pass the buck. Or something like that.
Be that as it may, Adam is usually cast in a favorable light, regarded in Islam as the First Prophet, which stands to reason if he were indeed the First Man, and so on.
But as this overall work is looking at Lilith, what was it about her that he found so irresistible that he cheated on Eve with her in spite of knowing that every coupling with her would produce a nightmare of a child? Perhaps that is what is meant by the phrase "forbidden fruit" instead of something from a tree in a garden?
The ancient Dilmun (a semi-mythical race that called Bahrain home about 4000 BC) regarded their islands as the direct descendent of Eden and would argue with you if you denied it.
Even as far afield as Japan and in North America the initial creation, in the case of Japan a pile of mud dropped into the sea, became an ideal environment where the gods Izanagi and Izanami walked together. The Navajo creation myth talks about the inhabitants of the Third World, ours, as initially being happy in a beautiful world of lakes and mountains and rivers, that is, before a Great Flood, but that would be another article.
It would seem that the Garden is as basic to the world's Creation Myths as the Gardener who created it.
"So who did all of this Creating?"
The Creator, of course.
Elsewhere on this website the Desk goes into maniacal detail on the Entity best described as the "Uncaused First Cause", the "One that Exists of Himself", and so on. So we'll just skim over the surface of that and move on. (if you want to get that headache there is a link to the thesis Metaphysical Boundaries below)
In all of these stories, Adam, Lilith, Eve, the Apple, the Snake, and whatever else is involved, are made by God. Which means the Creator predates the Creation. That's obvious, but in many cases it is forgotten. The Bible, the Koran, the Torah, and related works, do not attempt to describe the Beginning of God, they start from the fact of the existence of the Supreme Deity, and things go dramatically downhill from there.
Now as to whether or not God created somebody besides Adam and Eve the Original Genesis account seems to indicate that He didn't.
By the Genesis account as related below, and elsewhere, after Cain killed his brother Able, there were only three people on the planet: Cain and his parents. Yet when God told Cain to go away in banishment for his crime, Cain was afraid of moving because the people there would know what he did and kill him for it.
Who was he talking about? The children of Lilith? Hhhhmmmm.
"The Fall Of Man
Central to the overall Biblical story is the "Fall" of Genesis 3.
In short: A talking snake convinces Eve that if she and Adam partake in the fruit of a certain tree (quite possibly the durian, while some stories make it out to be an apple, but most likely it was a unique species that was eliminated on Earth shortly after the incident) that they would attain the intellectual understanding of the Universe equal that of the Creator pertaining to good and evil.
Some preachers will go on at length about how the actual sin did not occur until Adam ate the forbidden fruit. Others will say that Eve, upon eating it knew she had sinned and didn't want to be alone in her disgrace so she enticed Adam to join her. And there is a school of thought that say that the serpent sinned first by lying about the whole thing. A few will go as far as to point out that everybody in the play spent a good deal of effort blaming everybody else after they got caught, which sounds rather familiar doesn't it?
From this far out, it doesn't matter, here and now we'll just blame Congress for it and move on.
The bottom line is that this is when Death and Pain and all of that bad stuff entered our world.
Similar events with a somewhat different cast of characters tell of the "Fall" in pretty much every other Creation Myth going.
But hold your horses there for just one second. We're about to complicate things beyond all hope of recovery.
If - - (OK so far? Good...) - - If Lilith existed as the legend supposes, either in one of the lower realms of Heaven or even here on Earth just in another ZIP code from the Garden then SHE was NOT involved in the Fall and remained in her Original State, perhaps even in spite of various episodes of canoodling with Adam to produce... well, whatever said activity produced.
Therefore, Lilith could very well be a "spiritual" being of some type, and, being alone and bored for a few thousand years will make one a bit cranky, right? Thus accounting for the various inglorious aspects of her alleged behavior because if she is NOT in a Heavenly Realm since 'humans' in general were evicted, and she was not cursed with eventual death and lousy TV shows in the mean time, then where is she?
One more trip around the Tree in the Center of the Garden and we'll come back to that.
The Real Bible Scrolls
This is one of those sorts of topics that the Desk loves to delve into.
The term "real" or "true" books of the Bible is often tossed around in these types of discussions, and when the Desk asks those so involved exactly what books/scrolls/manuscripts/etc they mean, many people start stuttering.
If you are not talking about the Dead Sea Scrolls, or something equally verifiably ancient, you're most likely talking about something written since the beginning of the church, and is probably a fraud. For example, we'll trot out the Gospel of Thomas and the good Bishop Marcion of Sinope.
Many wonders have been attributed to the Thomas book. But, when looked at more closely, it isn't anything of the sort. It is not a Gospel, it is a collection of sayings. And it isn't by the Thomas who was a companion of Jesus, the true author is unknown. And the best date of the book is around 200 to 300 AD, and it was probably produced by the Gnostics in Egypt as the work is unknown in antiquity outside of that area.
As for Marcion (85 - 160), he thought that the books being assembled as the Biblical Canon at the time were all wrong, Old and New Testament. Some books he rejected, and some others he accepted, and he evidently took it on himself to write a couple of his own. For his efforts he was declared a heretic. The main burr under his saddle blanket was that the God of the Jewish book didn't appear to be the same God preached and written about by Paul, so he set to reconciling those ideas in his own Bible. Oh, well.
One of the 'original books' many New Testament scholars talk about is the "Q Source" for at least two of the Gospels. They have it in their heads that Mark wrote his book first, and then Matthew and Luke both lifted substantial bits of it and other material from an 'as yet undiscovered' "Q" book to compose theirs.
Who wrote "Q"? Was it one book, or rather, scroll, or was it more, was it an oral tradition never written down otherwise, was it even really gospel (as in 'true')? They can't answer that. Yet they prattle on about how it had to exist. That Matthew was there and eventually wrote his own book and Luke did some first class reporting after the events never enters the picture.
For its part, a scroll, or scrolls, that we would call "Q" has yet to be discovered and exhibited. Is it one of the countless documents locked away in the Secret Vatican Archive? We'll let the conspiracy theorists answer that one.
The same holds true for various aspects of the Old Testament. Let's look at the points that most reasonable persons discussing the matter would lay aside as a 'given'.
There are at least two "Creation Stories" accounted for in Genesis. Everything in the book Pre-Flood has to be an oral tradition that in some cases goes back into the mists of history that cannot be dated, and a good chunk of that is strikingly similar to certain aspects of Sumerian, and other, Middle Eastern histories. Some of what is discussed in terms of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their doings is probably also 'family legend' although some written records of them is possible, given the amount of time that passed between the Patriarchs and when Moses arrived on the scene, embellishment, if just to fill in some missing details, is not only possible, it is likely.
Counterpoint: Does any of this matter in any substantial way to the overall story being relayed? No. Not really.
Another given: Some ancient works, such as Enoch, were not in the original Jewish Canon even though it was known in ancient times (at least 300 BC) and is even quoted in the New Testament by Jude, it has never been given official status by any major body other than the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Similar works, and partial works, and what not have been floating around for years, some may be genuine, others, well, we'll come back to them.
Should we abandon everything in the version of the Book of Books usually ascribed to an English King who had a serious fascination with the occult, a tendency to think rather more of himself than was good even in a king (he was Very vain), and who may have, shall we be nice here, had unusual romantic tastes, for something that may or may not have been written in a scroll of unknown parentage? At least from where the Desk sits, the answer is "no".
The Desk will stipulate that even the oldest scrolls of Old Testament Biblical books are fairly new, at least considering the subject matter. And the majority of the New date from the second or third Century.
So when somebody says "Original Bible Texts", what are they talking about?
Many sources on the Internet claim to have representations of some mysterious "lost manuscript" or a translation of something seen in a museum or monastery or whatever.... Yeah. OK. We can go look at them.
Back during the time of the Crusades and great Pilgrimages a lot of Europeans went to the Holy Land and 'walked where Jesus walked'. And a lot of them brought back relics that they obtained in Jerusalem and elsewhere. Most of which were sold to them by locals who claimed to have inherited the genuine article from somebody who swore it was the real thing.
Throughout history there have been so many reliquaries that contained a 'thorn from the crown' that the crown of thorns must have been the size of a Christmas wreath. You don't have to look very far to find more than a half dozen churches that claim to have a 'nail from the crucifixion' as a centerpiece, and there are at least three "Spears of Destiny" running around Europe.
And the sales staff at the time didn't limit themselves to nails and thorns, they also dealt in ancient scrolls. An 'ancient scroll' that was copied and then left out in the sun and weather until it looked old and a buyer happened along with enough gold to make it worthwhile. Some of these are still in museums and private collections and waiting their turn to be reliably dated and then quietly shuffled off to a traveling exhibit somewhere out of the main building.
An excellent program examining just that was put together by the Ontario Royal Museum a few years ago, some examples of which and discussions of can be found online.
There are also mentions of Biblical subject matter in works from India and they are more, or less, ancient as well. Then you have manuscripts that have turned up in Armenia or Ethiopia, as mentioned before, and other places like that. Are they to be given any more credence than those that have been passed down to us from (quote) Classical (unquote) sources? That's up to the individual reader. In most cases, the ones that turn up are copies of copies that were at some point copied from originals, or rewritten from oral traditions based on them, or whatever, and they can trace their linage back to those very same "classical" works we just dismissed. In very few precious cases are the 'lost' scrolls anything of note except as an historical curiosity.
So the question still remains. If they are citing the "True Bible Texts"... what are they talking about?
Ahh, somebody just mentioned the "Bible Code". And that is a fascinating phenomenon in and of itself.
With one slight problem.
The Code People are not using an original manuscript for all of the reasons cited above.
Yes, they are applying their algorithm to the Torah. In some cases to very old versions of the Torah. But these works are copies of copies. Some of which were copies of damaged copies. They may be very close to the original in form, but no matter how careful the scribes were, they were still human.
True, the message the Messenger so encrypted may have taken all of that into account. But still.
And to seriously cite anything decrypted from said messages uncovered by the algorithms is wishful thinking bordering on self delusion.
"Did you hear the one about Lilith and...."
As with most things in the world of entertainment, things come and go in waves. You can look back into the plots of movies and TV shows for several years at a stretch and never see mention of somebody like Lilith. And then all of the sudden her name pops up and you have variations of her story ranging from the rather mundane all the way through the totally fantastic all over the place.
And such is presently the case with a couple of "fantasy / sci-fi" genres which have brought her out of the mists of the distant past and given her a fresh costume as everything from the ultimate Femme Fatale to just a spirit from the old world out looking for revenge. Which is good for a few laughs and probably a bag of popcorn or two, but it doesn't change the fact that other than extra-biblical sources mentioned above, there is no basis for the legend.
The old accounts were simply myths inserted into commentary to explain aspects of the world and the behavior of humans in it that, at the time, were unexplainable. If a priest had a wet dream, it had to have been a Lilith trying to pull a fast one on him. (pun? what pun?) If a young girl appeared to enjoy staring into a mirror more than her elders thought she should it was Lilith putting a spell on her. And so on. Besides, infants wouldn't just suddenly die in their crib would they? It had to be the demon.
You can see the same thing in the Witch Craze of the Middle Ages. If it rained too much, it was a witch, if it didn't rain enough, same explanation.
Kinda like blaming the Fall of Man on Congress.
Yeah. Time to wrap this one up.
Is Lilith the one person in the world who escaped the Fall and is now trapped between worlds, coming through at odd times to stain a bedsheet or to capture the soul of an infant or drag a young girl into a hidden realm through a mirror portal? No. It's a nice story, and can be a rich field to harvest when looking for the topic for a movie. But, no. It is likely that none of the persons so named in the story of the Garden, including the ventriloquist snake, was a real singular flesh and blood person. But that is something for that Metaphysical series linked below.
The story of Lilith began in Jewish fables long ago. And, fortunately or unfortunately for us, it doesn't end there. She has come down to us from the remote past as a shadowy figure of the ultimate 'scorned woman', and she has an axe to grind. Or in this case, claws to sharpen.
Is she, or was she, ever more than that? Sorry, it would appear not.
Resources. Outside links will open in new window:
Genesis 1 : 26 - 28 KJV
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."http://www.biblegateway.com
Some Lilith-Centric pages linked at:
And another at:
"The Legends of the Jews - the Haggada" - See Chapter III
From The Desk: Metaphysical Boundaries
The Desk's Mystery Series and other Non-Fiction
[NOTE: All listed ancient religious books, religions, demonic presences, and whatever else you have, are owned by other entities. No disparagement or disrespect is intended. No endorsement of the Desk of them, or by them of the Desk is to be inferred.
The Desk is solely responsible for the analysis and conclusions hereby presented. If the reader has any issues with anything in the article they may contact the Desk through the usual channels.
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