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Old 18th September 2008, 06:52 AM
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Default Lilith

Some years ago, I made a trip to Israel to visit a Jewish friend who was living in the city of Haifa. This is where Mt. Carmel is located. While there, I went by myself to the cave that is said to be the place where Elijah stayed. At the base of the hill leading up to the cave, I was met with a local character who tied a piece of red string around my wrist and attempted to collect a few shekels. I did not understand the meaning of the red string at the time, but I found out after returning to the U.S., that it was supposed to be a protection against the spirit of Lilith. I did some reading and found that, according to Jewish legend, Lilith was supposed to be the first wife of Adam. She was made from the earth, like Adam, but she refused to submit to him, so she fled to the desert and lived in caves and copulated with demons (thus the need to be protected from her at Elijah's cave). Michael, the archangel, is seen in the legend with his flashing sword to cast Lilith out of the garden of Eden. According to the legend, Eve was then created from Adam's rib to be a submissive helper. After reading all this, I asked a priest about it, and he dismissed the legend. But, I wondered how such a story could have continued through the ages. Or, perhaps it was a later innovation, such as the Kabbalah which came about it in the 13th century in northern Israel?

As Catholics, we have the devotion to our Lady of Mt. Carmel. And, we know that our Lady has crushed the head of the serpent. It is interesting that the Jews have a practice to ward off the spirit of Lilith which is presumably demonic.
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Old 18th September 2008, 12:30 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Catholic doctrine is that Adam was the first man and Eve was the first woman, and Eve sinned first, then Adam.

Lilith was not the first woman, nor did she sin first, before Adam and Eve. So the story of Lilith is merely fiction; she did not exist.
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Old 18th September 2008, 03:29 PM
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I read a long article the other day in the context of the coming of the Pope to France. The vatican has been hard pressed in recent months and years to take position in the inflamatory debate taking place mainly in the US between creationists and darwinians. The vatican spokesperson (whose name i dont remember) was very clear. Much of the controversy came form protestant churches who are adament about taking litterally every aspect of the old testatment. This is not the position of the Catholic church. The vatican does not believe that the world was created in seven days and much of what is written in the old testament has to be seen as an allegory describing God's influence into the world. He added that the only red line of the church is the action of God in the creation of Man. The vatican has no problem accepting Darwin's theory within the divine plan to create Man.

Genetics and anthropology are very clear. The human race comes from an original couple who lived in Ethiopy around 200.000 years ago. The couple doubtlessly evolved form a small group of more primitive humans. My belief is that the couple was the first one to have self-consciousness and therefore the first one to have the ability to sin (an animal or a being without self-consciousness cannot sin). So orginal sin, i believe, means the natural tendency of humans to sin because of their intelligence and self-consciousness, and that is what Christ came to redeem. I dont believe the apple and snake story is a historical account, and frankly, knowing what i know about the pope, a learned man and philosopher, i dont believe he believes it either.
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Old 18th September 2008, 03:42 PM
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Just to clarify something, the Bible never says the fruit was an "apple".

It is something the media have repeated so many times that many people think the Bible actually tells about an apple, but doesn't.
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Old 18th September 2008, 03:52 PM
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Another thing is that in order to understand the Bible, it is important not to follow our reason only because sometimes in what sounds ridiculous to us, it is when God is manifested. Our reason can not understand God. That's why, before reading the Bible, prayer, invocation of the Holy Spirit is highly recommended so we could discern better what God is going to tell us, what is spiritual, what is literal, etc.
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Old 18th September 2008, 04:51 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bertrand View Post
Genetics and anthropology are very clear. The human race comes from an original couple who lived in Ethiopy around 200.000 years ago. The couple doubtlessly evolved form a small group of more primitive humans. My belief is that the couple was the first one to have self-consciousness and therefore the first one to have the ability to sin (an animal or a being without self-consciousness cannot sin). So orginal sin, i believe, means the natural tendency of humans to sin because of their intelligence and self-consciousness, and that is what Christ came to redeem. I dont believe the apple and snake story is a historical account, and frankly, knowing what i know about the pope, a learned man and philosopher, i dont believe he believes it either.
It is Catholic doctrine and required belief that original sin is the result of the sin of Adam and Eve. One cannot hold that it is a natural tendency in human nature. It is the tendency of fallen human nature; it is not the natural result of having intelligence and self-consciousness. Christ and Mary had intelligence and self-consciousness, but no original sin.
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Old 18th September 2008, 07:49 PM
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Ron is right. In addition, were the 'self-consciousness' theory correct, it would mean that Adam and Eve never existed without original sin, which is clearly untrue. Every pope who has spoken or written about this agrees that there was a single man and a single woman, created without original sin, and who made personal, conscious decisions to go against God's Will in Eden. The Church allows for some possibilities of the theory of evolution, but not all. Mankind may have evolved physically after the Fall. There may have been human-like creatures on earth before the Fall but they would not have been human, because to be human requires a direct intervention of God to infuse an immortal, spiritual soul, and this soul cannot be created or transferred by evolutionary (and therefore physical) means. Only God can do it directly.

Nevertheless, the Church leaves much else in the realm of opinion, where it belongs, and no scientist today is likely to be able to prove or disprove most theories, evolutionary or creationist, because scientific proof requires a controlled environment, and no one can go back to control the environment that is discussed in relation to creation. We can collide as many protons as we like today; we still cannot scientifically prove that we know what happened at the dawn of time.
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Old 18th September 2008, 10:10 PM
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The following is taken from a more lengthy article on wikipedia about the origins of Lilith. It is a fascinating topic, however I submit to Catholic doctrine that we all descend from Adam and Eve.

Lilith in the Bible

The Book of Isaiah 34:14, describing the desolation of Edom, is the only occurrence of Lilith in the Hebrew Bible:

Hebrew (ISO 259): pagšu ṣiyyim et-ʾiyyim w-saʿir ʿal-rēʿhu yiqra ʾakšam hirgiʿah lilit u-maṣʾah lah manoḫ
morpho-syntactic analysis: "yelpers meet-[perfect] howlers; hairy-ones cry-[imperfect] to fellow. liyliyth reposes-[perfect], acquires-[perfect] resting-place."
KJV: "The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest."

This passage refers to God’s day of vengeance, when the land will be transformed into desolate wilderness. Thus, Lilith was known in ancient Israel of the 8th century BC. The fact that she found a place of rest in the desert from this passage seems to allude to the Sumerian Gilgamesh incident: after Lilith fled into the desert, she apparently found repose there.[30]

Schrader (Jahrbuch für Protestantische Theologie, 1. 12 and Levy (ZDMG 9. 470, 484) suggest that Lilith was a goddess of the night, known also by the Jewish exiles in Babylon. Evidence for Lilith being a goddess rather than a demon is lacking. Isaiah dates to the 6th century BC, and the presence of Jews in Babylon would coincide with the attested references to the Līlītu in Babylonian demonology.

The Septuagint translates onokentauros, apparently for lack of a better word, since also the saʿir "satyrs" earlier in the verse are translated with daimon onokentauros. The "wild beasts of the island and the desert" are omitted altogether, and the "crying to his fellow" is also done by the ‘‘daimon onokentauros.

In Horace (De Arte Poetica liber, 340), Hieronymus of Cardia translated Lilith as ‘‘Lamia, a witch who steals children, similar to the Breton Korrigan, in Greek mythology described as a Libyan queen who mated with Zeus. After Zeus abandoned Lamia, Hera stole Lamia's children, and Lamia took revenge by stealing other women's children.

The screech owl translation of the KJV is without precedent, and apparently together with the "owl" (yanšup, probably a water bird) in 34:11, and the "great owl" (qippoz, properly a snake,) of 34:15 an attempt to render the eerie atmosphere of the passage by choosing suitable animals for difficult to translate Hebrew words. It should be noted that this particular species of owl is associated with the vampiric Strix of Roman legend. This possibly evolved from the early 5th century Vulgate Bible of the Catholic Church, which translated the same word as Lamia instead.[31] [32] [33]

et occurrent daemonia onocentauris et pilosus clamabit alter ad alterum ibi cubavit lamia et invenit sibi requiem
—Isaiah(Isaias Propheta) 34.14, Vulgate

Later translations include:

* night-owl (Young, 189
* night monster (ASV, 1901; NASB, 1995)
* vampires (Moffatt Translation, 1922)
* night hag (RSV, 1947)
* Lilith (Jerusalem Bible, 1966)
* lilith (New American Bible, 1970)
* Lilith (The Message (Bible), Peterson, 1993)
* night creature (NIV, 1978; NKJV, 1982; NLT, 1996)
* nightjar (New World Translation, 1984).
* night bird (English Standard Version, 2001)
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Old 18th September 2008, 10:33 PM
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There are some mythological elements in Sacred Scripture, used as poetic figures of speech. This does not establish the myth of Lilith as having any basis in Scripture or doctrine.
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Old 19th September 2008, 12:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
There are some mythological elements in Sacred Scripture, used as poetic figures of speech. This does not establish the myth of Lilith as having any basis in Scripture or doctrine.

no, no. I wasn't trying to establish the myth of Lilith as a part of Scripture or doctrine. I was just curious about its origins, as I was confronted with it when I was visiting Mt. Carmel. It does have quite a history, and the name Lilith appears in my New American Bible in Isaiah. Here is another quote from the wikipedia article:

The Alphabet of Ben Sira is considered to be the oldest form of the story of Lilith as Adam's first wife. Whether this certain tradition is older is not known. Scholars tend to date Ben Sira between the 8th and 10th centuries. Its real author is anonymous, but it is falsely attributed to the sage Ben Sira. The amulets used against Lilith that were thought to derive from this tradition are in fact, dated as being much older.[38] The concept of Eve having a predecessor is not exclusive to Ben Sira, and is not a new concept, as it can be found in Genesis Rabbah.

Perhaps these amulets were a type and shadow of the scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. It is interesting that both are used to ward off evil and are a protection against sudden death. Of course, the scapular is part of our faith tradition, whereas the Lilith amulets are more uncertain in origin.
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