Monday, 11 April 2011
The Garden of Eden
For the sake of symmetry, above is the third and final episode of the BBC series The Bible’s Buried Secrets, presented by Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou. The first two episodes – on King David and monotheism – can be seen here. The third episode (the least interesting to me) is about the Book of Genesis and the so-called Garden of Eden, a story which Stavrakopoulou argues has its origins not as a parable about original sin and the fall of man, but a very specific historical event, most likely the siege and sacking of Jerusalem and its temple (in which Stavrakopoulou locates the Garden of Eden) in the sixth century BC. In this interpretation, Adam is not the First Man but an Israelite king who invites the wrath of his Babylonian overlord. Not sure I cared that much; and you’d be much better off reading and thinking about the Greeks who, at the same time as Jewish scribes were writing Genesis and the Hebrew Bible, were reading Homer, attending tragic and comic theatre and contemplating the scientific origins of the universe.