Saturday, 3 March 2012

Werewolf Syncronicity

Found an old copy of Jim Butchers “Full Moon” and then shortly afterwards stumbled across the trailer of Underworld: Awakening (starring the lovely Kate Beckinsale). I decided to crack open my copy of Sacred Monsters: Mysterious and Mythical Creatures of Scripture, Talmud and Midrash” by Rabbi Natan Slifkin – to see what he had to say on the subject of werewolves. Here is an extract from pages 220-221:
The thirteenth-century scholar Rabbeinu Ephraim ben Shimshon specifically refers to werewolves, in a cryptic discussion about the parallels between a werewolf and the tribe of Benjamin: 
There is a type of wolf that is called loup-garou (werewolf), which is a person that changes into a wolf. When it changes into a wolf, his feet emerge between his shoulders. So too with Benjamin - “he dwells between the shoulders” (Deuteronomy 33:12). The solution for [dealing with] this wolf is that when it enters a house, and a person is frightened by it, he should take a firebrand thrust it around, and he will not be harmed. So they would do in the Temple; each day, they would throw ashes by the altar, as it is written, “and you shall place it by the altar” (Leviticus 6:3); and so is the norm with this person whose offspring turns into wolves, for a wolf is born with teeth, which indicates that it is out to consume the world. Another explanation: a wolf is born with teeth, to show that just as this is unusual, so too he will be different from other people. And likewise, Benjamin destroyed (literally “ate”) his mother who die on his accord, as it is written, “And it was as her soul left her, for she was dying, and she called his name 'the son of my affliction' (ben oni)” (Genesis 35:18). - Rabbeinu Ephraim, Commentary to Genesis 1:27, p.167 
It appears that these authorities believed in the existence of werewolves. While such belief would be outlandish today, in the medieval period it was perfectly ordinary. After all, Scripture itself attests to King Nebuchadnezzar turning into an animal. While some would interpret this as mental illness, others interpreted this as meaning that he physically transformed into an animal. Why, then, should a person not be able to turn into a wolf? image from Underworld:Awakening
Must remember to stock up on some firebrands. Although a zombie apocalypse is more likely than a werewolf apocalypse. Unless said werewolves acquire spacefaring technology and a means to extinguish the sun. In any case, the explanation of what might have caused Benjamin's mother to die in childbirth will likely give me nightmares for weeks to come.