Leaves from the Garden of Eden: One Hundred Classic Jewish Tales

Overview


In Leaves from the Garden of Eden, Howard Schwartz, a three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award, has gathered together one hundred of the most astonishing and luminous stories from Jewish folk tradition.
Just as Schwartz's award-winning book Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism collected the essential myths of Jewish tradition, Leaves from the Garden of Eden collects one hundred essential Jewish tales. As imaginative as the Arabian Nights, these stories invoke ...
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Overview


In Leaves from the Garden of Eden, Howard Schwartz, a three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award, has gathered together one hundred of the most astonishing and luminous stories from Jewish folk tradition.
Just as Schwartz's award-winning book Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism collected the essential myths of Jewish tradition, Leaves from the Garden of Eden collects one hundred essential Jewish tales. As imaginative as the Arabian Nights, these stories invoke enchanted worlds, demonic realms, and mystical experiences. The four most popular types of Jewish tales are gathered here--fairy tales, folktales, supernatural tales, and mystical tales--taking readers on heavenly journeys, lifelong quests, and descents to the underworld. King David is still alive in the City of Luz, which the Angel of Death cannot enter, and somewhere deep in the forest a mysterious cottage contains the candle of your soul. In these stories, a bride who is not careful may end up marrying a demon, while the charm sewn into a dress may drive a pious woman to lascivious behavior. There is a dybbuk lurking in a well, a book that comes to life, and a world where Lilith, the Queen of Demons, seduces the unsuspecting. Here too are Jewish versions of many of the best-known tales, including "Cinderella," "Snow White," and "Rapunzel." Schwartz's retelling of one of these stories, "The Finger," inspired Tim Burton's film Corpse Bride.
With its broad selection from written and oral sources, Leaves from the Garden of Eden is a landmark collection, representing the full range of Jewish folklore, from the Talmud to the present. It is a must-read for everyone who loves fiction and an ideal holiday gift.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The cast of characters alone is stunning: Moses and Elijah, David and Solomon, angels and demons, wonder-working rabbis and evil sorcerers, princes and peasants, even Jewish versions of Snow White and Cinderella...This book is a big, beguiling gem, changing colors as you tilt it toward the light. From one angle, it's a world of inventive adventures that children will love; from another angle, a collection of religious allegories that will engage and challenge adults; from yet another angle, a shimmering record of Jewish dreams."
--JBooks.com

"Looking for tales about demon marriages or angel encounters, magic spells or epic quests? They're all right here, and then some."
--Jerusalem Post

In the learned introduction to "Leaves From the Garden of Eden," Schwartz performs the admirable feat of dissecting how and why these tales have lasted so long without allowing the spotlight he shines on them to reduce their ability to delight. ...With Schwartz as their guide through this Garden of Eden, [readers] will find not only enchanting stories but a new understanding of a heritage that lives on, strongly.

Four years after Tree of Souls took our breaths away with myths of the Jewish tradition, three-time National Jewish Book Award winner Howard Schwartz now brings us a reference pulsing with one hundred magical, miraculous, and spiritual Jewish stories. ...Comprehensive notes and commentary root each story and draw its ties to Jewish tradition. The five appendices are crowning jewels, which also define and index the tales by source, story cycle (of, about, and by key protagonists), countries of origin, specialized subject types, and Arne-Thompson tale types."
-- ewish Book World

Library Journal

In this remarkable collection of Jewish tales spanning 1500 years and many different countries, Schwartz (ed., Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism) has gathered pieces from his previous collections; two of the stories here are being published for the first time. Divided into four sections, the book presents fairy tales, folktales, supernatural tales, and mystical tales. All of the great heroes of Jewish life are here: Moses, Rabbi Adam, Elijah, the Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Nachman, David, Solomon, Rabbi Loew, the 36 just men, and Rabbi Akiba. The enemies of Jewish life-Lilith, the Queen of Sheba, evil sorcerers, demons, dybbuks, and wizards-are fought with magic stones, angels, rabbinic courts, amulets, the Talmud, and the Torah. Schwartz's helpful introduction, notes, and appendixes cover the sources, main heroes, countries of origin, and tale types. He includes wonderful examples of Jewish tales from "The City of Luz," about a place where no one dies, to "The Golem," about a creature who protects the Jews, as well as "Lighting a Fire," the great Hasidic tale about storytelling. Recommended for Jewish studies collections.
—Gene Shaw

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195335651
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/7/2008
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 1,446,946
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Howard Schwartz is Professor of English at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. He is the editor of four important collections of Jewish folklore: Elijah's Violin & Other Jewish Fairy Tales, Miriam's Tambourine: Jewish Folktales from Around the World, Lilith's Cave: Jewish Tales of the Supernatural, and Gabriel's Palace: Jewish Mystical Tales. He is also the author of Reimagining the Bible: The Storytelling of the Rabbis and Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism, which won the National Jewish Book Award in 2005.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 24, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Mesmerizing tales

    This book features 100 stories in four categories: fairy tales, folk tales, supernatural and mystical tales. The stories are legendary and have been orally told throughout the generations. It is likely you have already heard a few of them over time. I read these stories to my children, yet I'm not sure who is more interested: me or them! Far more variation and interest than Arabian Nights; this book is a jewel. Enjoy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2011

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