A Walk in the Garden: Biblical Iconographical and Literary by Paul Morris, Deborah Sawyer

By Paul Morris, Deborah Sawyer

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Additional resources for A Walk in the Garden: Biblical Iconographical and Literary Images of Eden (JSOT Supplement)

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The man and the woman are different from all other (certainly Hebrew or Near Eastern) men and women in that being naked they do not experience shame. The serpent, unlike even animals in fables, has no characteristic remotely resembling a real serpent,7 but is alert to knowledge that only the gods possess at this time. Each of these odd, counter-human, or unreal characterizations is reversed on account of Eve's acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil. This acquisition constitutes, from the point of view of the gods, a hostile act against them because it blurs the distinction between gods and humankind.

Part of the wry view of the Genesis author is that the awareness of the toil of labour after man acquired the knowledge of good and evil contrasts with the unthinking enjoyment of work beforehand. In regard to his thinking about wisdom, the stance taken by Agur in Proverbs 30 is similar to that of the Genesis author. Each is conscious of wisdom as having an unattainable aspect. 19 In Genesis, the attempt to focus on the origin of human knowledge involves the distancing of man from God by first conceiving of man as animal-like.

It is the loss, or at least threat, to this framework that necessitates a study of the history of the interpretation of the Bible as the prerequisite for any engagement with Western literature. 15. Gunkel compared biblical sagen with other folk tales in his quest for the 'original forms'. G. Frazer who insists on 'scientifically' re-writing the ending of the Garden narrative as the very opposite of that of the biblical text in line with the laws ('inversion') of such tales! His version recovers, by the use of the 'comparative method', what he considers to be the 'gay barbaric colours' of the original (The Fall of Man', in his Folklore in the Old Testament, I [London: Macmillan, 1918], pp.

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