Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Tree of Life

(This material taken almost verbatim from Phyllis Tickle's God Talk in America (1997) Crossword Publishing Co. pages 47-8.)

Reporting on the work of Joseph Campbell Phyllis offers us several views of the "Tree of Life"

1. Genesis 2:9ff of course.

2. The Nordic Yggdrasill.

3. The Babylonian Grove of Eridu, "where Anu first made human beings out of mud".

4. The Aztec tree at Tomanchan, where "some lesser gods broke the taboo of reverence for the untouchable tree....thereby destroying Paradise".

5. The Hindu Kalpadruma or Tree of Ages.

We might consider several ways of interpreting these data, suitable to Americans of various stripes:

At bedrock Genesis is considered the truth and all the other stories only 'myths', some perhaps imitations of the truth.

A Hindu might consider them all equally true.

Some "progressive thinkers" might take them as pointing to the fallacy of biblical truth.

Campbell perhaps saw them all as metaphors addressing the spiritual question of our origin.

What do you think?


Mark Walter said...

I side with Campbell. We are far to quick too qualify things outside of our own experience and mores, without first sincerely hearing them out with an open heart and mind. I vote for the guy everytime who sees the commonality, or who is out to see it. Isn't that the whole point?

Larry said...

Yes, indeed, Mark. Me too. I have tried to entice all 'stripes' to comment in order to start a discussion.

Thanks for your participation.

Twyla said...

I like the idea of thinking of each of these stories as metaphor, a way for us to explain our spiritual yearnings by understanding that we had a spiritual birth or beginning.

Larry said...

Right on, Twyla.

Larry said...