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The Book of the Bee 6 - 10

THE BOOK OF THE BEE

THE SYRIAC TEXT

EDITED FROM THE MANUSCRIPTS IN LONDON, OXFORD, AND MUNICH


CHAPTER VI.

OF DARKNESS.

DARKNESS is a self-existent nature; and if it had not had a nature, it would not have been reckoned among the seven natures which were created in the beginning in silence. Others say that darkness is not a self-existent nature, but that it is the shadow of bodies.


CHAPTER VII.

OF EFFUSED (CIRCUMAMBIENT) LIGHT.

WHEN the holy angels were created on the evening of the first day, without voice, they understood not their creation, but thought within themselves that they were self-existent beings and not made. On the morning of the first day God said in an audible and commanding voice, 'Let there be light,' and immediately the effused light was created. When the angels saw the creation of light, they knew of a certainty that He who had made light had created them. And they shouted with a loud voice, and praised Him, and marvelled at His creation of light, as the blessed teacher saith, 'When the Creator made that light, the angels marvelled thereat,' etc.; and as it is said in Job, 'When I created the morning star, all my angels praised me.' Now by nature light has no warmth.


CHAPTER VIII.

OF THE FIRMAMENT .

ON the evening of the second day of the week, God willed to divide the heavens from the earth, that there might be luminaries and stars beneath the heavens to give light to this world, and that the heavens might be a dwelling-place for the righteous and the angels after the resurrection. God said, 'Let there be a firmament which shall divide the waters from the waters'; and straightway the waters were divided into three parts. One part remained upon the earth for the use of men, cattle, winged fowl--the rivers and the seas; of another part God made the firmament; and the third part He took up above the firmament. But on the day of resurrection the waters will return to their former nature.


CHAPTER IX.

OF THE CREATION OF TREES AND PLANTS, AND THE MAKING OF SEAS AND RIVERS.

ON the third day God commanded that the waters should be gathered together into the pits and depths of the earth, and that the dry land should appear. When the waters were gathered together into the depths of the earth, and the mountains and hills had appeared, God placed the sand as a limit for the waters of the seas, that they might not pass over and cover the earth. And God commanded the earth to put forth herbage and grass and every green thing; and the earth brought forth trees and herbs and plants of all kinds, complete and perfect in respect of flowers and fruit and seed, each according to its kind. Some say that before the transgression of the command, the earth brought forth neither thorns nor briars, and that even the rose had no thorns as it has now; but that after the transgression of the command, the earth put forth thorns and briars by reason of the curse which it had received. The reason why God created the trees and plants before the creation of the luminaries was that the philosophers, who discourse on natural phenomena, might not imagine that the earth brought forth herbs and trees through the power of the heat of the sun. Concerning the making of Paradise, it is not mentioned in the Pentateuch on what day it was created; but according to the opinion of those who may be relied upon, it was made on the same day in which the trees were made: and if the Lord will, we will speak about it in its proper place.


Footnotes

According to Rabbi Eliezer, chap. iii (Horowitz, אגרח אגרוח {Hebrew: AGhDhX AGhDhVX}, part i, Leipzig, 1881), Paradise was one of the seven things created before the world.


CHAPTER X.

OF THE MAKING OF THE LUMINARIES.

ON the fourth day God made the luminaries--sun, moon, and stars--of three substances, air, light, and fire. He took aerial material and prepared vessels like lamps, and mixed fire with light, and filled them. And because in the nature of fire there was no light, nor heat in that of light, the fire imparted heat to the light, and the light gave luminosity to the fire; and from these two were the luminaries--sun, moon, and stars--fabricated. Some say that the luminaries were made in the morning, that the sun was placed in the east, and the moon in the west; while others say that they were made in the evening, and that the sun was placed in the west, and the moon in the east; and therefore the Jews celebrate the fourteenth in the evening. Others say that all the luminaries when they were created were placed in the east; the sun completed his course by day, while the moon waited until eventide, and then began her course. The path of the luminaries is beneath the firmament, and they are not fixed as men have foolishly stated, but the angels guide them. M Isaac says, 'The sun performs his course from the east to the west, and goes behind the lofty northern mountains the whole night until he rises in the east.' And the philosophers say that during the night the luminaries perform their course under the earth.

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