I’m working on a new fiction project that makes it completely necessary to delve into Jewish mythology and to research giants and angels. Pretty sweet, huh?
Have you heard of Jewish legends? I hadn’t either until a couple of years ago. It makes sense though, when you think about it. If the Jews have been around as long as the Greeks and Romans, why wouldn’t they have their own legends and stories? It’s fascinating to me to read through these and find the line between what stories made it into the final Bible and which ones did not.
I’m currently looking at the link between giants and angels. I thought most people had heard the story of David and Goliath and the idea of giants in the Bible, but the more I talk about it the more I find people who have never heard these stories.
What a gold mine for a creative (and in my case, overactive) mind.
According to Jewish legend there was a period of time where angels came to earth to mate with the daughters of man, and the product of this union was…drum roll please…giants. No, I’m not advocating actual belief in the Jewish myths, any more than I would believe in Zeus or Athena. But this is interesting.
I’m not making this up! I swear. Look for yourself! The Bible mentions giants a couple of times, but the verses that are the source of the controversy are primarily the ones that some interpret similar to the Jewish legend. This particular verse is interpreted in many different ways, and some scholars get super offended when it’s brought up.
Genesis 6 1-4 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with[a] humans forever, for they are mortal[b]; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
If you start googling “where did the Giants come from” you will get all kinds of kooky stuff–even some references to UFOs.
Here’s what I found when I looked it up on Bible Gateway.
This is the part where the Bible stops and the legends run wild.
Hank Hanegraaf of the Christian Research Institute discusses this verse here:
Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis is a noted scholar regarding Jewish mythology.
A sense of dualism, stronger than what is found in the Hebrew Scriptures, starts to find expression in late antiquity and leads to angels being divided into camps of light and darkness, as exemplified by the angelology in the War Scroll and the Manual of Discipline found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The mythic allusion to the misadventures of the Sons of God in Genesis 6:2 becomes the locus classicus for this belief in evil angels. From The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism.
For some reason, I’m really feeling like watching Hercules.
Have you heard about Jewish mythology before now?