Saturday, 27 September 2008

two philosophical creation myths

Some say from Darkness sprang Chaos, from a union between Darkness and Chaos sprang Night, Day, Erebus and the Air.
From a union between Night and Erebus sprang Doom, Old Age, Death, Murder, Continence, Sleep, Dreams, Discord, Misery, Vexation, Nemesis, Joy, Friendship, Pity, the Three Fates and the three Hesperides.
From a union between Air and Day sprang Mother Earth, Sky and Sea.
From a union between Air and Mother Earth sprang Terror, Craft, Anger, Strife, Lies, Oaths, Vengeance, Intemporance, Altercation, Treaty, Oblivion, Fear, Pride, Battle and also Oceanus, Metis, the older Titans, Tartarus and the three Erinnyes or Furies.
From a union between the Sea and its Rivers sprang the Nereids, but there were no mortal men until Proteus, with the consent of Athene, formed them in the likenes of gods, after which Athene breathed life into them.

The God of All Things (some call him Nature) appeared suddenly in Chaos, separated earth, heavens, water, air and shaped the earth, created climates and dressed it with plants. He set the firmament with stars above it, made fish, beasts, sun, moon and lastly, man. Unless Prometheus created man's body from water and clay and wondering divine elements shaped his soul.
This second myth was borrowed from the Babylonian Gilgamesh epic, in which the goddess Aruru creates the first man from a piece of clay. Thus the Greeks, as well as the Jews (who inherited the Pelasgian/Canaanite traditions) were slightly embarrassed that there may have been a Creatrix. In the book of Genesis a female "Spirit of the Lord" broods on the face of the water (but lays no egg). In the Talmudic version of creation, the archangel Michael creates Adam from dust.

The Greek philosopher distinguished between Promethean man and the imperfect earth-born creation. In Genesis there is a similar distinction between the "Sons of God" and the "daughters of men" they married.

Robert Graves, The Greek Myths. Complete Edition.

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