Golem: an artificial man made of clay, animated by secret knowledge

Man has always had the desire to imitate God, to become the Creator, the Maker. This aspiration is embedded in the very nature of man, because we are created in the image and likeness of God. Sacred books such as the Bible and the Koran describe in detail the process of human creation. For example, the Quran states that Allah created Adam from clay. Thus, it can be said that the desire to create human beings has existed for many centuries.

In the history of various peoples there are myths about creation of artificial man from earth or clay. For example, ancient myths of Egyptian and Sumero-Akkadian peoples also describe the process of creation of people from clay statuettes. They were created in pairs and animated through umbilical cords. This is very similar to the process of reproduction in nature. Such myths and legends permeate the history of mankind and testify to man’s constant endeavor to create artificial beings.

One of the representatives of ancient myths about artificial man is Golem. Golem is a character of Jewish mythology, a man created from clay and animated by Kabbalists with the help of secret knowledge. It is reminiscent of God’s creation of Adam from clay. The word “golem” comes from the Old Hebrew word “gelem,” meaning “unprocessed, raw material” or simply “clay.” Later in Old Yiddish, the word acquired the meaning of “statue” or “a foolish and clumsy person”.

Jewish myths about the Golem found their continuation in a folk legend that originated in Prague. The Golem was created from clay to perform various difficult errands and to prevent blood libels. He was animated by Rabbi Maharal Yehuda ben Bezalel or Rabbi Lev, who lived in the early 16th century. The legend of the Golem dates back to the 17th century and was recounted in the novel The Golem by Gustav Meirink.

There are also other legends about golems created by various rabbinic innovators of religious thought. It is believed that the Golem is reborn every thirty-three years.

The Golem theme has been used extensively in poetry, fiction, theater plays, movies, and even computer games. One of the very first movies about the Golem was released in 1920, titled The Golem: How He Came Into the World. This movie starred the famous actors of the time, Paul Wegener and Lida Salmonova.

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