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Adam ( , ʼĀḏām, "dust; man; mankind"; , ) and Eve ( , , "living one"; , ) were, according to the Book of Genesis of the Bible, the first man and woman created by God. They are also credited as the first man and woman according to the Quran.

Narrative

Genesis tells the story of Adam and Eve in chapters 1, 2 and 3, with some additional elements in chapters 4 and 5:

In Genesis 1 God creates humans "male and female" in his image, and gives them dominion over the living things he has created, and commands them to "be fruitful and multiply."

Genesis 2 opens with God fashioning a man from the dust and blowing life into his nostrils. God plants a garden (the Garden of Eden) and sets the man there, "to work it and watch over it," permitting him to eat of all the trees in the garden except the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, "for on the day you eat of it you shall surely die." Then God creates the animals, attempting to find a help-mate for the man; but none of the animals are satisfactory, and so God causes the man to sleep, and creates a woman from his rib. The man names her "Woman" (Heb. ishshah), "for this one was taken from a man" (Heb. ish). "On account of this a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his woman." Genesis 2 ends with the note that the man and woman were naked, and were not ashamed.

Genesis 3 introduces the Serpent, "slier than every beast of the field." The serpent tempts the woman to eat from the tree of knowledge, telling her that it will not lead to death; she succumbs, and gives the fruit to the man, who eats also, "and the eyes of the two of them were opened." Aware now of their nakedness, they make coverings of fig leaves, and hide from the sight of God. God asks them about what they have done. Adam blames Eve, and Eve blames the serpent. God curses the snake (who before this must have been able to walk before this because) vs 14 says "upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life." God then curses Adam and Eve with hard labor and with pain in childbirth, and banishes them from his garden, setting a cherub at the gate to bar their way to the Tree of Life, "lest he put out his hand ... and eat, and live forever."

Genesis 4 and 5 give the story of Adam and Eve's family after they leave the garden: they have three children, Cain, Abel and Seth, as well as other sons and daughters, and Adam lived for 930 years. ("The woman" is given the name Eve in the closing verses of Genesis 3, "because she was the mother of all living"; Adam gets his name when the initial definite article is dropped, changing "ha-adam", "the man", to "Adam".)

Textual notes

  • "Let us make man..." ( ) - The plural "us" (and "our" in the phrase "in our image") is traditionally understood to refer to God and the angels, or to be a "plural of majesty". More recent scholarship is that it reflects the common Middle Eastern view of a supreme god (referred to in Genesis 1 by the generic noun "Elohim", god, which is itself in a plural form, rather than by his personal name of Yahweh) surrounded by a divine court, the Sons of God (Heb. bene elohim). Christians have traditionally interpreted the plural "us" as evidence for the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.


  • "man" ( ) - Though the word for "man" is in the singular, when in the text a pronoun is used, it is rendered by the plural "them", indicating that the word is used generically to cover "man and woman", and that a rendition of "mankind" or "human beings" is not out of place.


  • "...in our image" ( ) - The phrase image of God has had many interpretations, although something more than the simply anthropomorphic seems intended. Elsewhere in the ancient Near East kings were called the "image of god", symbolising their rule by divine appointment: the phrase may therefore indicate that mankind is God's regent on earth.


  • "...a living being" ( ) - God breathes into the man's nostrils and he becomes nefesh hayya. The earlier translation of this phrase as "living soul" is now recognised as incorrect: "nefesh" signifies something like the English word "being", in the sense of a corporeal body capable of life; the concept of a "soul" in our sense did not exist in Hebrew thought until around the 2nd century BC, when the idea of a bodily resurrection gained popularity.


  • "...tree of knowledge of good and evil..." ( ) - The tree imparts knowledge of tov wa-ra, "good and bad". The traditional translation is "good and evil", but tov wa-ra is a fixed expression denoting "everything," rather than a moral concept.


  • "...you shall surely die" ( ) - Adam is told that if he eats of the forbidden tree the consequence will be moth tamuth, "die a death", indicating not merely death but emphatically so. As Adam does not in fact die immediately on eating the fruit, some exegetes have argued that it means "you shall die eventually," so that Adam and Eve would have had immortality in the Garden, but lost it by eating the forbidden fruit. However, the grammar does not support this reading, nor does the narrative: Adam and Eve are expelled from the Garden lest they eat of the second tree, the tree of life, and gain immortality. ( ) Another explanation is that Adam will undergo "a spiritual death". The 2nd century Book of Jubilees (4:29-31) explained that "one day" is equivalent to a thousand years and thus Adam died within that same "day".


  • "...a rib..." ( ) - Hebrew tsela` can mean side, chamber, rib, or beam. The traditional reading of "rib" has been questioned recently by feminist theologians who suggest it should instead be rendered as "side," supporting the idea that woman is man's equal and not his subordinate.


Abrahamic traditions

Jewish traditions

The Sibylline Oracles, dating from the centuries immediately around the time of Christ, explain the name Adam as a notaricon composed of the initials of the four directions; anatole (east), dusis (west), arktos (north), and mesembria (south). In the 2nd century, Rabbi Yohanan used the Greek technique of notarichon to explain the name אָדָם as the initials of the words afer, dam, and marah, being dust, blood, and gall.

According to the Torah ( ), Adam was formed from "dust from the earth"; in the Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 38b) of the first centuries of the Christian era he is, more specifically, described as having initially been a golem kneaded from mud.

Even in ancient times, the presence of two distinct accounts of the creation of the first man (or couple) was noted. The first account says male and female [God] created them, implying simultaneous creation, whereas the second account states that God created Eve subsequent to the creation of Adam. The [Midrash Rabbah - Genesis VIII:1] reconciled the two by stating that Genesis 1, "male and female He created them", indicates that God originally created Adam as a hermaphrodite, bodily and spiritually both male and female, before creating the separate beings of Adam and Eve. Other rabbis suggested that Eve and the woman of the first account were two separate individuals, the first being identified as Lilith, a figure elsewhere described as a night demon.

Genesis does not tell for how long Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, but the 2nd century BC Book of Jubilees, provides more specific information. It states (ch3 v17) that the serpent convinced Eve to eat the fruit on the 17th day of the 2nd month in the 8th year after Adam's creation. It also states that they were removed from the garden on the new moon of the fourth month of that year (ch3 v33). Other Jewish sources assert that the period involved was less than a day.

According to traditional Jewish belief Adam and Eve are buried in the Cave of Machpelahmarker, in Hebronmarker.

Christianity



The story of Adam and Eve forms the basis for the Christian doctrine of original sin: "Sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned," said Paul of Tarsus in his Epistle to the Romans, although Chapter 3 of Genesis does not use the word "sin" and Genesis 3:24 makes clear that the couple are expelled "lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever". St Augustine of Hippo (354-430), working with a Latin translation of the epistle, understood Paul to have said that Adam's sin was hereditary: "Death passed upon (i.e. spread to) all men because of Adam, [in whom] all sinned". Original sin, the concept that man is born in a condition of sinfulness and must await redemption, thus became a cornerstone of Western Christian theological tradition through Augustine's misunderstanding of Paul's Greek - the belief is not shared by Judaism or the Orthodox churches, and has been dropped by some post-Reformation churches such as the Congregationalists and the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Because Eve tempted Adam to eat of the fatal fruit, some early Fathers of the Church held her and all subsequent women to be the first sinners, and especially responsible for the Fall. "You are the devil's gateway," Tertullian told his female listeners in the early 2nd century, and went on to explain that they were responsible for the death of Christ: "On account of your desert (i.e. punishment for sin) - that is, death - even the Son of God had to die." In 1486 the Dominicans Kramer and Sprengler used similar tracts in Malleus Maleficarum ("Hammer of Witches") to justify the persecution of "witches".

Over the centuries, a system of uniquely Christian beliefs has developed from the Adam and Eve story. Baptism has become understood as a washing away of the stain of hereditary sin in many churches, although its original symbolism was apparently rebirth. Additionally, the serpent that tempted Eve was interpreted to have been Satan, or that Satan was using a serpent as a mouthpiece, although there is no mention of this identification in the Torah and it is not held in Judaism.

Gnostic and Manichaean traditions

(1) Gnostic Christianity has two unique texts containing stories of Adam and Eve: the Nag Hamadimarker text "Apocalypse of Adam" and the "Testament of Adam" text. The creation of Adam as Protanthropos – the original man – is the focal concept.

(2) The Manichaean Gnostic sect believed that the Protanthropos was "the World Soul", (Anima Mundi), sent to fight against darkness. The "Fall" meant the primordial man being delivered up to evil and swallowed in darkness, with the Universe as a whole coming into existence as a means of delivering the primordial Adam from Darkness. Sex between Adam and Eve was seen as the way in which darkness overcame the light.

"Mani said, 'Then Jesus came and spoke to the one who had been born, who was Adam, and … made him fear Eve, showing him how to suppress (desire) for her, and he forbade him to approach her… Then that (male) archon came back to his daughter, who was Eve, and lustfully had intercourse with her. He engendered with her a son, deformed in shape and possessing a red complexion, and his name was Cain, the Red Man.'"


(3) Another Gnostic tradition held that Adam and Eve were created to help defeat Satan. The serpent, instead of being identified with Satan, is seen as a hero by the Ophite sect.

(4) Still other Gnostics believed that Satan's fall, however, came after the creation of humanity. As in Islamic tradition, this story says that Satan refused to bow to Adam. (As a result of his exclusive love of God, Satan felt that bowing to humankind was a form of idolatry.) This refusal led to the fall of Satan, recorded in works such as the Book of Enoch.

Islamic tradition

The Quran tells of آدم ( ) in the surah al-Baqara :30-39, al-A'raf :11-25, al-Hijr :26-44, al-Isra :61-65, Ta-Ha :115-124, and Sad :71-85.

The Quran says that both Adam and Eve for eating the forbidden fruit and as a punishment they were both banished from Heaven to the Earth. The Hadith (the prophetic narrations) and literature sheds light on the Muslim view of the first couple.

The concept of original sin doesn't exist in Islam as Adam and Eve were forgiven after they repented on Earth according to the Quran. One of the interesting things in the Qur'an is that it does not recount the Genesis narrative in which Eve leads Adam to transgress God's laws; they are simply both held responsible. However, there are hadiths-- some of which are contested-- that tend to lean in the Judeo-Christian direction. For example, the Prophet is reported to have said, ‘Were it not for Bani Isra'il, meat would not decay; and were it not for Eve, no woman would ever betray her husband.’" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 55, Hadith 611) An identical but more explicit version is found in the second most respected book of the prophetic narrations, Sahih Muslim. According to it, “Abu Hurairah" reported Allah's Messenger as saying: Had it not been for Eve, woman would have never acted unfaithfully towards her husband.” (Sahih Muslim, Volume 8, Hadith 3471).

The early Islamic commentator Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari adds a number of details to the Torah, based on hadith as well as specific Jewish traditions (so-called isra'iliyat). Tabari records that when it came time to create Adam, God sent Gabriel (Jibril), then Michael (Mika'il), to fetch clay from the earth; but the earth complained, saying I take refuge in God from you, if you have come to diminish or deform me, so the angels returned empty-handed. Tabari goes on to state that God responded by sending the Angel of Death, who took clay from all regions, hence providing an explanation for the variety of appearances of the different races of mankind.

According to Tabari's account, after receiving the breath of God, Adam remained a dry body for 40 days, then gradually came to life from the head downwards, sneezing when he had finished coming to life, saying All praise be to God, the Lord of all beings . Having been created, Adam, the first man, is described as having been given dominion over all the lower creatures, which he proceeds to name. As one of the people to whom God is said to have spoken to directly, Adam is seen as a prophet in Islam.
At this point, Adam takes a prominent role in Islamic traditions concerning the fall of Iblis (Arabic: إبليس) Shaytan(Satan), which is not recorded in the Torah, but in the Book of Enoch which is used in Oriental Orthodox churches. In these, when God announces his intention of creating Adam, some of the angels express dismay, asking why he would create a being that would do evil. Teaching Adam the names reassures the angels as to Adam's abilities, though commentators dispute which particular names were involved; various theories say they were the names of all things animate and inanimate, the names of the angels, the names of his own descendants, or the names of God.

When God orders the angels to bow to Adam one of those present, Shaytan Iblis in Islam, a Djinn who said "why should I bow to man, I am made of pure fire and he is made of soil", refuses due to his pride, and is summarily banished from the Heavens. Liberal movements within Islam have viewed God's commanding the angels to bow before Adam as an exaltation of humanity, and as a means of supporting human rights, others view it as an act of showing Adam that the biggest enemy of humans on earth will be their ego.

Eve is referred to in the Qur'an as Adam's spouse, and Islamic tradition refers to her by an etymologically similar name - حواء ( ) . In fact, although her creation is not recounted in the Qur'an, Tabari recounts the biblical tale of her creation, stating that she was named because she was created from a living thing (her name means living). The Torah gives an etymology for woman, or rather the Hebrew equivalent (ish-shah), stating that she should be called woman since she was taken out of man (ish in Hebrew). The etymology is regarded as implausible by most Semitic linguists .The Quran blames both Adam and Eve for eating the forbidden fruit and as a punishment they were both banished from Heaven to the Earth. Muslims therefore interpret that this event does not pose a problem of women inferiority to men intrinsically. The concept of original sin doesn't exist in Islam. Adam and Eve were forgiven after they repented on Earth. A Prophetic Hadith recalls that after leaving Eden, Adam descended in Indiamarker whereas Eve descended in Jeddahmarker. They searched for each other, and finally found each other at the Plain of 'Arafat (near Meccamarker) - which means recognition.

Al-Qummi records the opinion that Eden was not entirely earthly, and so, having been sent to earth, Adam and Eve first arrived at mountain peaks outside Meccamarker; Adam on Safa, and Eve on Marwa. In this Islamic tradition, Adam remained weeping for 40 days, until he repented, at which point God rewarded him by sending down the Black Stonemarker, and teaching him the hajj.

The Qur'an also describes the two sons of Adam (named Qabil and Habil in Islamic tradition) that correspond to Cain and Abel.

According to some Islamic traditions, Adam is buried beneath the site of the Kaaba in Meccamarker. Shi'a Muslims on the other hand, believe that Adam is buried next to Ali, within Imam Ali Mosquemarker in Najafmarker, Iraqmarker.

Feminist views

Eve as a metaphor

  • "...a rib..." ( ) - Hebrew tsela` can mean side, chamber, rib, or beam. The traditional reading of "rib" has been questioned recently by feminist theologians who suggest it should instead be rendered as "side," supporting the idea that woman is man's equal and not his subordinate.


As a theme in art and literature

Image:Tizian - The fall of man.jpg|Adam and Eve by TitianImage:Cranach.jpg|Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the ElderImage:Albrecht Dürer 002.jpg|Adam and Eve by Albrecht Dürer

Adam and Eve were used by early Renaissance artists as a theme to represent female and male nudes. Later, the nudity was objected to by more modest elements, and fig leaves were added to the older pictures and sculptures, covering their genitals. The choice of the fig was a result of Mediterranean traditions identifying the unnamed Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil as a fig tree, and since fig leaves were actually mentioned in Genesis as being used to cover Adam and Eve's nudity.

Treating the concept of Adam and Eve as the historical truth introduces some logical dilemmas. One such dilemma is whether they should be depicted with navels (The Omphalos theory). Since they were created fully grown, and did not develop in a uterus, they would not have been connected to an umbilical chord as were all born humans. Paintings without navels looked unnatural and some artists obscure that area of their bodies, sometimes by depicting them covering up that area of their body with their hand or some other intervening object.

John Milton's Paradise Lost is a famous seventeenth-century epic poem written in blank verse which explores the story of Adam and Eve in great detail.

See also



Notes

  1. H. Orlinski's Notes to the NJPS Torah, at blogspot "Voice of Iyov"
  2. Rev. T. H. Brown, Trinitarian Bible Society
  3. http://voiceofiyov.blogspot.com/search/label/Torah H. Orlinski's Notes to the NJPS Torah, at blogspot "Voice of Iyov"
  4. http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical_studies/noncanon/ot/pseudo/jubilee.htm Online translation of Jubilees
  5. For the meanings of tsela see Strong's H6763. For the reading "side" in place of traditional "rib", see Reisenberger, Azila Talit. "The creation of Adam...." in Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought, 9/22/1993 (accessed 03-05-2008).
  6. Romans 5:12
  7. For a brief overview see Robin Lane Fox, "The Unauthorized Version", 1991, pp15-27 passim
  8. Orthodox beliefs
  9. Tertullian, "De Cultu Feminarum", Book I Chapter I, Modesty in Apparel Becoming to Women in Memory of the Introduction of Sin Through a Woman (in "The Ante-Nicene Fathers")
  10. Manichaean beliefs
  11. On The Transmitters Of Isra'iliyyat
  12. Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, Mizan, Lahore: Dar al-Ishraq, 2001
  13. For the meanings of tsela see Strong's H6763. For the reading "side" in place of traditional "rib", see Reisenberger, Azila Talit. "The creation of Adam...." in Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought, 9/22/1993 (accessed 03-05-2008).




References

  • Mahmoud Ayoub, The Qur'an and its Interpreters, SUNY: Albany, 1984.
  • R. Patai, The Jewish Alchemists, Princeton University Press, 1994.
  • Fazale Rana and Ross, Hugh, Who Was Adam: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Man, 2005, ISBN 1-57683-577-4
  • Sibylline Oracles, III; 24-6. This Greek acrostic also appears in 2 Enoch 30:13.
  • David Rohl, Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation, 1998
  • Bryan Sykes, The Seven Daughters of Eve
  • C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe"
  • Adam Mackie, The Importance of being Adam - Alexo 1997 (only 2000 copies published)
  • Robin Lane Fox, The Unauthorized Version, Penguin, 1991 (no ISBN available)


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