Religion Past and Present

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Tree of Life
(2,095 words)

[German Version]

I. Old Testament

The motif of the tree of life (םייִּחַהַ ץעֵ/ʿeṣ haḥayyîm), a variation of the idea of the “sacred tree” that appears in Canaanite, Mesopotamian and Egyptian texts, and also in the Indo-European area, is found in Gen 2:9; 3:22,24; Prov 3:18; 11:30; 13:12; 15:4 and Isa 65:22 LXX. The tree, on the basis of its cyclical sef-renewal, functions as a symbol of the regeneration of the cosmos, as an image of fertility, and thus also of immortali…

Cite this page
Schaper, Joachim, Schroer, Silvia and Zchomelidse, Nino, “Tree of Life”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 13 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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