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Adam and Eve, Story of


1992: 5358). Many scholars prefer an earlier date,

in the 1st or 2nd centuries.
6. Related Literature. There are many other extant Adam texts that are in a certain way related
to and/or influenced (directly or indirectly) by the
L.A.E.. Such texts are known in Greek, Latin, Armenian, Georgian, Coptic, Slavonic, Syriac, Ethiopic,
Arabic, Old Irish, Bulgarian, Hebrew, and Romanian. An extensive survey of this literature has been
published in Stone 1992: 84123. The extent to
which these writings are influenced by the L.A.E. or
are related in any way to the L.A.E. is not always
clear. More often than not, the best one can hope
for is to establish connections between the traditions present in these writings, rather than to show
direct textual links.
Bibliography: G. A. Anderson/M. E. Stone, A Synopsis of
the Books of Adam and Eve (Atlanta, Ga. 1999). G. A. Anderson et al. (eds.), Literature on Adam and Eve (Leiden 2000).
V. Jagic, Slavische Beitrge zu den biblischen Apocryphen, I, Die altkirchenslavischen Texte des Adambuches,
DAWW (Vienna 1893) 1104. M. de Jonge/J. Tromp, The
Life of Adam and Eve and Related Literature (Sheffield 1997).
J.-P. Mah, Le livre dAdam gorgien, in id., Studies in
Gnosticism and Hellenistic Religions (Leiden 1981) 22760.
J.-P. Mah, Notes philologiques sur la version gorgienne
de la Vita Adae, in Bedi Kartlisa (Paris 1983) 5165. M. E.
Stone, The Penitence of Adam (Leuven 1981). M. E. Stone,
A History of the Literature of Adam and Eve (Atlanta, Ga. 1992).
J. Tromp, The Life of Adam and Eve in Greek (Leiden 2005).
. Turdeanu, Apocryphes slaves et roumains de lAncien Testament (Leiden 1981).

Silviu N. Bunta

Adam and Eve, Story of


Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

Visual Arts

I. Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

The story of Adam and Eve (Gen 2 : 4b3 : 24) has
been characterized, especially in the Christian tradition following Augustine, as the story of the
fall of humans from a state of innocence to one of
inherent sinfulness. However, this understanding,
which has not been so strong among Jewish interpreters, has been challenged recently in a number
of ways.
The story begins with the creation of adam,
who is set in the garden of Eden to keep it. It follows with the creation of woman (is s ) and the union of the couple. The woman is then challenged
by a serpent as to whether or not the Lord permits
the couple to eat of any tree in the garden. Of particular interest is the tree of the knowledge of


good and evil. The woman takes its fruit and

shares it with adam. The two have their eyes
opened, and they are aware of their nakedness.
When the Lord discovers this development, he
curses the serpent and the woman and curses the
ground in relation to human toil. Now that the
couple have become like the Lord in knowing good
and evil, the Lord casts them out of the garden lest
they also eat from the tree of life and live forever.
Like many myths about primal humans, this one
has etiological aspects explaining the origins of
painful childbirth, human toil in agriculture, clothing, the nature of snakes, and the like. The biblical
story shares various elements with a number of
other ancient Near Eastern myths and epics such as
the Story of Adapa, the Story of Enki and Ninh ursag,
the Gilgamesh Epic, and Enuma Elish. It is, nevertheless, an independent story. It stands independent in origin from the first biblical creation story,
Gen 1 : 12 : 4a, and is often attributed to the Yahwistic source of the Pentateuch.
Interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve has
turned on the interpretation of two central issues:
the nature of the garden and the nature of the two
central trees, especially the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil. Is the garden a human, albeit special, habitat, or is it a divine dwelling from which,
in the end, the humans are excluded? The presence
of the Lord, the special trees, the rivers that source
the whole earth, the heavenly guards protecting the
garden, and the world-governing decrees issued in
the garden suggest the latter. Some have argued
that the garden has associations with the temple.
The nature of the trees and the action of the humans in breaking with the Lords directive about
eating from the special trees is more complex.
Three main areas of interpretation have been proposed. Eating from the tree of knowledge of good
and evil represents gaining certain human faculties, be they moral, legal, matters of self-determination or maturity. Alternatively, the sexual intonations in the story (nakedness, intercourse, desire)
suggest to some that sexual knowledge is implied.
Finally, the phrase good and evil could be a merism for all knowledge. The humans truly become
like one of the gods knowing all, as the Lord admits
(Gen 3 : 22). This last interpretation fits the story
best, but we should not forget that divine knowledge also has its sexual, intellectual, moral, and social aspects. The knowledge gained elevates humans above the status of creatures, and lest this be
combined with eternal life, the Lord removes them
from the divine enclosure (Gen 3 : 2324). Before
that, however, curses are uttered. All the old, close
relationships evident in Gen 2 (between the human
and the ground, the man and the woman, the Lord
and the human, and the human and the animals)
have been turned into points of alienation. The humans are banished from the Lords presence, the

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man now toils on the ground in order to gain sustenance, the woman desires the man who now rules
over her and bears children in pain, and her offspring and that of the serpent will be at enmity.
No interpretation addresses all the problems in
this story. Significant issues remain. What is the
nature of the relation between the man and the
woman when the latter plays a more significant
role in the story? Is the disobedience really that,
and is the point of the Lords command to test, to
protect the humans, or to protect his own interests?
And is not the serpent right about the result of eating from the tree of knowledge?
More recent studies of Gen 2 : 4b3 : 24 provide
other approaches to the story of Adam and Eve.
Some suggest that Eves disobedience may not be
as severe as is usually thought. It could be seen
more as an example of civil disobedience leading
to a positive growth or rise in the status of humanity. Brett argues that the multiple ironies and puzzles within the text are intentional on the writers
part. In Gen 1 humans are seen in the likeness of
God, but in Gen 2 : 4b3 : 24 they are humbled
through their behavior. The wisdom they gain
from the tree of knowledge, which is opposed by
the writer, is royal wisdom associated with the Persian rule. The writer sees the story as a subversive
tale directed against the Persian-sponsored leadership of the post-exilic period, when the Genesis
narrative took its final shape (cf. Carr).
Bibliography: M. G. Brett, Genesis (London 2000).
C. M. Carmichael, The Paradise Myth, in A Walk in the
Garden (eds. P. Morris/D. Sawyer, JSOT.S 136; Sheffield
1992) 4763. D. Carr, The Politics of Textual Subversion, JBL 112/4 (1993) 57795. H. N. Wallace, The Eden
Narrative (HSS; Cambridge, Mass. 1985).

Howard N. Wallace

II. Judaism
The relation between Adam and Eve received different (and at times conflicting) explanations in
classical rabbinic Judaism. However, there seems to
be a general consensus that Eve was created later
than Adam. According to one tradition, Adam and
Eve were created on the same day, only a few hours
apart (bSan 38b; WayR 29 : 1). In one explanation,
God, knowing that Adam would eventually complain about Eve, did not create her until Adam
asked for her (BerR 17 : 4). One text appreciates the
sexual connotations of the story of Gen 2 : 1825
and, particularly in light of ha-paam from Gen
2 : 23, suggests that Eve was created because Adam
had had intercourse with all the animals and had
not found satisfaction (bYev 63a).
There is no consensus on how Eve was created.
One opinion understands tsela of Gen 2 : 21 as
side, reads Gen 1 : 27 (male and female he created them) in conjunction with Gen 5 : 2 (Male
and female he created them and he called their


name Adam), and contends that the original Adam

of Gen 1 : 2627 was an androgynous being with
two faces and two sides, one male, one female (BerR
8 : 1; WayR 14 : 1; see also bMeg 9a; bBer 61a; Zohar
2 : 55a). Thus, the creation of Eve came from the
separation of Adams female side from his male
side. This division of Adam was viewed, in light
of Gen 2 : 24, as remedied through marriage. This
tradition generated strong anti-celibacy statements,
such as the ones in bYev 63ab and BerR 17 : 2 (cf.
also BerR 8 : 9). The assertion attributed to R. Eleazar (Any man who has no wife is no proper man;
for it is said, Male and female created He them and
called their name Adam bYev 63a) illustrates
this rare case of rabbinic concurrence. Nevertheless,
the talmudic story of R. Simeon b. Azzai, who, although he vigorously condemned celibacy (as the
diminishment of the divine image and even equivalent to murder), spent his life as a celibate because
his soul was in love with the Torah (bYev 63b),
demonstrates the ambivalence of ancient Judaism
toward celibacy.
Other sources oppose the idea that Adam was
initially a hermaphrodite. One tradition emphasizes that Adam was male from the beginning (cf.
bBer 61a). Thus, Eve was conceived as a needed sexual partner for this gendered Adam (bYev 63a).
Tsela of Gen 2 : 21 means simply rib and Eve was
created as a separate being out of a part of Adam,
and a modest one at that, as BerR 18 : 2 emphasizes.
God created Eve from a modest part of Adam in
order to prevent her from conceit and flirtatiousness, sins that apparently she was naturally inclined toward (BerR 18 : 2). According to one text
the rib was the thirteenth rib on Adams right side
(TPsJ at Gen 2). Another opinion suggests that the
rib was a protuberance (bBer 61a; bEr 18a).
BerR 17 : 7 and 18 : 4 mention two Eves. The
first was created in front of Adam. Adam was repulsed by her bloody discharge and did not accept
her. The second Eve was created while Adam was
asleep. Spared the creation process, Adam found
the second Eve beautiful. It is not clear what the
destiny of the first Eve was. While some texts seem
to describe the second Eve as a re-creation of the
first (cf. BerR 18 : 4), it is also suggested that the
first Eve was simply destroyed or undone.
The successful encounter between Adam and
Eve is described as a wedding attended and
guarded by angels (PRE 12). God prepared and
adorned Eve for the wedding with Adam (BerR
8 : 13; 18 : 1; bEr 18a; see also Zohar 2 : 231b) and
also acted as the couples best man (cf. bBer 61a;
8 : 13; 18 : 3) and cantor (Zohar 3 : 44b).
According to the predominant rabbinic view,
Adam and Eve had sexual relations before their sin
(BerR 18 : 6; 22 : 2; bSan 38b). Not only were they the
first creatures to copulate, but they also introduced
all other creatures to sexual union (BerR 22 : 2).

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However, given that paradise was regarded quite

widely in ancient Judaism as a sanctuary, some
sources were not comfortable with the idea that
Adam and Eve engaged in sexual relations in paradise (Anderson; Ginzberg: 5 : 134, n. 4). Jubilees allows for sexual relations between Adam and Eve
before their sin, but rewrites the biblical story and
places the creation of Adam and Eve and their intimate relations outside of the garden. They were
subsequently allowed to enter the garden, but only
after a period of purification. In paradise they lived
without sexual intercourse. For many early Christian authors Adam and Eve did not have a sexual
life before their sin. While the position(s) of the
rabbis should not be construed simply as a reaction
to Christian ideologies, the Christian view should
not be regarded as essentially non-Jewish.
The woman was the one whom the serpent approached because he desired her (bSot 9b; cf. BerR
20 : 4), especially as he saw her engaged in sexual
union with Adam (BerR 18 : 6). Also, it is suggested
that the serpent (bYev 103b; bShab 146a; bAZ 22b;
see also Zohar 1 : 28b, 126ab) or Satan (Ginzberg:
5 : 133) had sexual relations with Eve, thus polluting her and all her descendants. Israel was cleansed
from this impurity at Sinai, but the Gentiles are
still under its spell (bYev 103b; bAZ 22b; bShab
146b). According to another interpretation, the serpent approached Eve because she was more prone
to enticement (ARN A 1). Eve persuaded Adam to
eat the fruit so that she would not die before him
and he would not take another wife (PRE 13).
Early midrashic sources list six consequences of
the sin of Adam and Eve, namely, the loss of luminosity, immortality, height, the fruit of the earth,
the fruit of the trees, and the luminaries (cf. BerR
12 : 6; see also BemR 13 : 12). Thus, the sin had both
individual and cosmic consequences. Not only did
it deprive the protoplasts of their own splendor,
but it also dimmed the light of the luminaries,
though only at the conclusion of the Sabbath (BerR
11 : 2; 12 : 6). Also, with the sin of Adam and Eve
the animals lost the ability to speak (Josephus, Ant.,
1 : 41; Jub. 3 : 2728) and, according to one reading
of gam in Gen 3 : 6, they also lost their immortality
(BerR 19 : 5; see also the implication that death extends to all creatures in BemR 10 : 2; ShemR 30 : 3;
38 : 2). The sin subjected all of humanity to death
(BerR 17 : 8; 19 : 5; BemR 10 : 2; Zohar 128a), the sin
creating, in a sense, the Angel of Death (cf. ShemR
30 : 3) and life outside of paradise (BerR 21 : 3; 87 : 5;
QohR 8 : 2; BemR 13 : 3; 23 : 13). Yet, this life was not
a sinful state or a natural evil condition, as the
western Christian doctrine of original sin matured in Augustines theology would have it.
Rather, classical rabbinic writings depict sin not as
a state, but as an error, a transgression of the commandments. Each human is born with the natural
ability to choose good or evil. According to one tra-


dition, God created both evil and good inclinations

from the beginning and subjected all humanity, including Adam and Eve, to these two natural inclinations (bBer 61a; see also bBB 16a). According to
another tradition the evil inclination was only created with Eve (BerR 21 : 5). Nevertheless, all humans
are subjected to it.
Furthermore, when Adam and Eve sinned, the
Shekhinah withdrew to the first heaven only to
withdraw further, with the sins of later generations, to the highest heaven, whence she will descend back to earth because of the merits of the
righteous (BerR 19 : 7; BemR 13 : 2; ShirR 5 : 1) or at
the completion of the tabernacle (BemR 12 : 6). According to some sources, Adam was given the opportunity to repent and thus to obtain forgiveness,
but he refused (BemR 13 : 3).
Cain and Abel (and their twin sisters) were conceived and born in paradise (cf. BerR 22 : 23; bSan
38b). Adam and Eve did not have sexual intercourse and (at least Adam) lived an extreme ascetic
life for 130 years after their sin (bEr 18b; BemR
14 : 12). According to a different opinion, during
this time Adam and Eve had sexual relations with
female and male demons, relations that generated
beings that are partly human and partly angelic
(BerR 20 : 11; 24 : 6; bEr 18b). After this period Adam
and Eve reconciled and bore Seth (BerR 23 : 4).
Adam died before Eve, but they were both buried
in the same cave of Machpelah in Hebron (PRE 20).
The connection to Abraham and Sarah is evident.
The explanation may lie in the midrashic tradition
that Abraham (and, according to certain sources,
the other righteous to be buried there) atoned for
Adams sin (cf. BerR 14 : 6; QohR 3 : 14). According
to a development in the Zohar, when Abraham attempted to bury Sarah in the cave of Machpelah,
Adam and Eve opposed him because Sarahs presence would only shame them. Abraham explained
that he was to atone for the protoplasts sin and
thus to remove their shame. Adam accepted the
promise and let Sarah be buried with him, but he
only allowed Eve back with him in the cave after further intercession from Abraham (Zohar 1 : 128ab).
Several medieval sources emphasize that the
world to come that the righteous will occupy is
the higher Garden of Eden, the celestial counterpart of the garden from which Adam and Eve were
expelled (Zohar 1 : 7a, 10b, 47b etc.; cf. ShemR 7 : 4;
BemR 13 : 2). The Zohar adds to the earlier lists of
the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve the
loss of the book of supernal wisdom (Zohar 1 : 37b).
However, this book was returned to Adam after the
protoplast repented (Zohar 1 : 37b). Also the Zohar
builds on the talmudic traditions about the conception of Abel and Cain. While, just as in the talmudic lore, Abel was the son of Adam, according
to the Zohar Cain was the product of the impure
union between Eve and the serpent (Zohar 1 : 28b,

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Adam and Eve, Story of


36b, 54a; 2 : 231a; 3 : 76b). Already PRE did not consider Cain the son of Adam, but the son of the angel
Samael, who rode on the serpent on his way to Eve
(PRE 13, 2122).
In turn, Adam was seduced by two female demons and begot beings who are neither fully human nor fully angelic (Zohar 3 : 77b). Moreover,
Adam cohabited with the female demon Lilith before God made Eve for him out of his side (Zohar
1 : 34b35a; see also PRE 20). Lilith fled after God
sawed Eve out of Adam and prepared Eve as
Adams bride, and she has ever since inhabited the
cities of the sea trying to ensnare humankind (Zohar
3 : 19a, 76b77a).
While in early traditions the sin of Adam and
Eve and the subsequent sins of humankind account
for the dysfunction of the world, for later speculations in Lurianic Judaism, the sin of Adam and Eve
is not the ultimate origin of the fallen state of creation. The protoplasts lived in a fallen world, the
product of an imperfect process of creation, a process of divine contraction and fragmentation. The
world is, through its very creation, in exile and disjointed. In this world sin is, in a sense, unavoidable
(Magid: 1819, 3474). The human person created
in the image of God has the ability to repair the
fractured world through the performance of commandments (ibid.: 1819). Lurianic Kabbalah understands the image of God as the righteous Jewish
soul, that is, the good components of Adams soul
reincarnated in the righteous. Adams soul contained all the souls of humankind. Not all of these
souls sinned with Adam; while some fell with
Adam, others separated from the protoplast and ascended into the divine realm or hid in the garden,
and remained untouched by Adams sin.
The story of Adam and Eve is not regarded as
historical in most forms of modern Judaism. Although modern Judaism is still very much informed by ancient and medieval traditions, the
story of Adam and Eve, in its biblical and post-biblical forms, resonates rather as a story of choice between good and evil, of failure, exile, and reparation, a paradigm both to humanity as a whole and
to Israel in particular.
Bibliography: G. Anderson, Celibacy or Consummation
in the Garden?, HThR 82 (1989) 12148. L. Ginzberg,
The Legends of the Jews, 7 vols. (Philadelphia, Pa. 190938).
K. E. Kwam et al. (eds.), Eve and Adam (Bloomington, Ind.
1999). S. Magid, From Metaphysics to Midrash (Bloomington, Ind. 2008). P. Morris, Exiled from Eden, in A
Walk in the Garden (eds. P. Morris/D. Sawyer; London 1992)
R. Patai, The Hebrew Goddess (Detroit, Mich.
1990). P. Schfer, Adam in jdischer berlieferung, in
id., Vom alten zum neuen Adam (Freiburg 1986) 6993.

Silviu N. Bunta

III. Christianity

General Observations Historical Developments

A. General Observations
The figures of Adam and Eve as the first parents of
all humans have been treated in many ways during
the history of Christianity, but the central element


of their story has always been the fall of humanity

from the perfection of Paradise into the state of sin.
Historical-critical research on the Bible has bequeathed a problem for theologians: how are we to
understand the fall of humanity? Christian thinking, drawing on the argument of Pauls epistle to
the Romans, claims that all persons are culpable in
the eyes of God (There is no one who is righteous,
not even one [] All have turned aside, together
they have become worthless. [Rom 3 : 10, 12]). The
exegetical reasons for this assertion are traced to
the founding sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden
of Eden. Yet, if the biblical grounds of this doctrine
are so foundational, what are we to make of the
fact that the Old Testament makes not a single allusion to the story? Jesus in the Gospels is equally
silent on the matter. Whence the doctrine of original sin? The answer to this conundrum resides with
the Apostle Paul. He wrote that it was through the
action of Adam that sin has entered the world (Rom
5 : 12) and spread to all humanity, and it is through
Christ that this condemnation can be rectified.
The fact that this idea is a relative late-comer
has led scholars to ask whether it is proper to speak
of the fall as a biblical idea. Would it not be better
to say it is an idiosyncrasy of Paul? If we restrict
ourselves to the Old Testament context, we would
have to admit that the teaching about original sin
that was so important to the early Church stands
on slim footing.
But this is not the only way to come at the problem. If we understand the doctrine of original sin
as the universal tendency of human beings to disobey God, then there are other places in the Bible
one can turn. Rabbinic Judaism locates its own doctrine of a founding sin in the story of the Golden
Calf. For almost as soon as Israel heard the command not to make a graven image, she went to
work assembling that idol. The costs of that sin
were quite high. God threatened to destroy the entire nation before Moses was able to provide some
good arguments against this proposal (Exod 32 : 7
14). According to Jewish tradition, however, Gods
forgiveness was not total; the effects of that sin continued to echo through the subsequent centuries.
Given the power of this story and its well-attested legacy in the Old Testament, one might wonder why Paul did not exploit it. The reason why he
did not appeal to it is that he wanted to make the
case that both Jew and Gentile stood in need of a
savior. The sinfulness of Israel was well documented in the Jewish scriptures and Paul felt no
great responsibility to make a case for that. The
problem was to show that the Gentiles situation
was every bit as dire. For these purposes the sin of
Adam worked marvelously; for Adam was the first
human and his sin could qualify as the foundation
for all of humanitys wayward ways.
In the development of the theme of original sin
among the Fathers of the church, there was also a

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Adam and Eve, Story of

tendency to make the primal sin occur as soon as

possible after the issuing of the divine command
not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil (though not all sources are agreed on this).
Bibliography: M. Alexandre, Le commencement du Livre
Gense I-V (CAnt 3; Paris 1988). G. Anderson, The Genesis
of Perfection (Louisville, Ky./Westminster 2001). K. Barth,
Christ and Adam (New York 1962); trans. of id., Christus und
Adam nach Rm 5 (ThSt(B) 35; Zollikon/Zurich 1952). K.
Greene-McCreight, Ad Litteram (Berlin 1999). J. Kaminsky, Paradise regained, in Jews, Christians, and the Theology
of Hebrew Scriptures (eds. A. Bellis/J. Kaminsky; Atlanta, Ga.
W. Moberley, Did the Serpent Get it
2000) 1543.
Right?, JThS 39 (1988) 127. N. P. Williams, The Idea of
the Fall and of Original Sin (London 1927).

Gary A. Anderson
B. Historical Developments
Christian thinkers down to the advent of historicalcritical study of the Bible accepted the Pauline interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve as the
revelation of how sin and death entered the world.
The question that confronted them was, What
kind of story is it? i.e., should the narrative found
in Gen 2 : 43 : 24 be taken in a literal sense as a
record of real events, or is it a symbolic tale in need
of a deeper allegorical reading? Some interpreters
adhered closely to one view or the other, but many
adopted mediating positions between the two extremes.
Origen referenced texts about paradise, the
trees in the garden, and the eating of the forbidden
fruit (Gen 2 : 89, 3 : 8) as examples of figurative
expressions which indicate certain mysteries
through a semblance of history and not through
actual events (Princ. 4.3.1). Basil of Caesarea, in his
Homiliae in Hexaemeron (although these do not reach
as far as the Adam and Eve story), on the other
hand, insisted on taking Genesis in a literal way
(Hom. 9.1). Gregory of Nyssa, who completed his
older brothers reading of how man was made in
the image of God in his De opificio hominis, did not
hesitate to give a more spiritual reading of many
aspects of the creation and fall story (De hom. opif.
1622). Although Augustine interpreted Adam and
Eve in a highly allegorical way in his early commentaries on Genesis, his lengthy De Genesi ad litteram (ca. 401415) accepts the historicity of Gen 2
3, while still seeking the inner meaning of the actors and the events. As he summarized in the Civ.
13.21: allegorical interpretations may be suitably put on paradise without giving offense to anyone, while we yet believe the strict truth of the history confirmed by its circumstantial narrative of
Most medieval interpreters followed this mediating view, as we find in Peter Lombards Libri Sententiarum II, dd. 1729 (especially 17.5.2), and the
many commentaries on this text (e.g., Thomas
Aquinas). The dominant Augustinian view, however, was by no means universal. The longest and


most daring medieval reading of the Adam and Eve

story is found in John Scotus Eriugenas Periphyseon,
books 45. The Irishman reads the narrative as a
pure symbolum, that is, an imagined narrative
meant to signify a timeless truth nothing less
than the eschatological status of humanity and the
world when all things have been restored to their
ultimate oneness with God. As he put it in Periphyseon 4: Paradise is a mere figure of speech (figurata
locutio) by which holy scripture signifies the human
nature that was made in Gods image. Therefore,
the story of the fall of Adam and Eve is a metaphor
for history and the account of paradise describes its
final goal.
Bibliography: A. Louth (ed.), Ancient Christian Commentary
on Scripture: Old Testament I: Genesis 111 (Downers Grove, Ill.
2001). G. Van Reel/C. Steel/J. McEvoy (eds.), Iohannes Scottus Eriugena (Leuven 1996). G. A. Robbins (ed.), Genesis 1
3 in the History of Exegesis (Lewiston, N.Y. 1988).

Bernard McGinn

IV. Islam
In Islam, Adam and Eve are involved together in
Gods provision in the garden, in the temptation to
eat of a forbidden tree, and in the consequences of
their action. Eves name does not appear in the
Quran, where she is referred to four times only as
the mate (zawj) of Adam. The Quran does not give
the story of the creation of Eve, but mentions that
God created you [humankind] from a single soul
and created its mate from it (S 4 : 1). The purpose
of this creation is that he might take rest in her
(S 7 : 189).
The details of the temptation of Adam and Eve
are different in the Qurans several variant traditions. God invites the pair to eat freely in the garden, but forbids them to come near this tree
(S 2 : 35; 7 : 19). The temptation scene is set with
foreshadowing. Ibl s, the devil, promises to ambush Adam and Eve (S 7 : 16) and to come upon
them from before and behind (S 7 : 17). Satan
swears to beguile all humans except for Gods sincere servants (S 38 : 8283). God meanwhile highlights the virtues of living in the Garden and warns
Adam and Eve that Satan is their enemy (S 20 : 117
19; S 7 : 22).
Satan describes the unnamed tree of prohibition to Adam as the tree of eternity (khuld)
(S 20 : 120). Satan whispers to Adam and Eve that
God gave the prohibition lest you should become
angels or become of the immortals (S 7 : 20). Satan
swears that he is their sincere advisor (S 7 : 21). His
intention, however, is to show them what was
hidden from them of their shame (S 7 : 20).
Adam and Eve eat of the tree (S 20 : 121, 7 : 22).
They immediately see their shame, and begin to
cover themselves with the leaves of the garden. God
confronts Adam and his wife: Did I not forbid you
both from that tree? (S 7 : 22).

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In characterizing the action of the pair, one tradition says Satan caused Adam and his wife to slip
(azalla, S 2 : 36). Another account says that Adam
forgot (S 20 : 115), then adds that Adam disobeyed
or rebelled (asa) and went astray (S 20.121). In a
third account, Satan led them on by delusion
(ghurur) (S 7 : 22). After tasting of the tree, Adam
and his wife say we have wronged (z alama) ourselves (S 7 : 23). Satan tempted (fatana) the parents
of the children of Adam and brought them out of
the Garden (S 7 : 27; cf. 2 : 36).
Adam and Eve express their need for divine forgiveness and mercy (S 7 : 23). God then commands
them to get down and ordains enmity among the
human pair and Satan (S 2 : 36; also 7 : 24; 20 : 123).
The pair will live on earth for a while, then die
(S 7 : 2425). However, God gives words to Adam
and turns toward him (S 2 : 37). God chooses Adam
(S 20 : 122), and also promises guidance to the
pair in the future (S 2 : 37): If there comes to you
from me guidance, then whoever follows my guidance shall not go astray, neither shall he be unhappy (S 20 : 123).
Among other quranic materials on the sin of
Adam and Eve and the future of humankind is the
prediction of the angels that the human which God
is about to create will make mischief (fasada) and
shed blood in the earth (S 2 : 30). Exegetes disagreed as to whether this was an accurate forecast of
human action or merely a wild guess of the angels.
Less ambiguous are the threats of Ibl s after he is
cursed for his failure to bow down to Adam. He
says to God, I shall pervert them altogether, except your servants from among them that are sincere (S 38 : 8283). Ibl s promises to deck all fair
to them in the earth (S 15 : 39), and to seize his
seed, save a few (S 17 : 62). In response, God gives
permission to Satan to beguile those whom he can
(S 17 : 6364), and promises to fill hell with Satan
and those who follow Satan (S 38 : 85).
Outside the Quran, all Muslim writers give the
 awwa for the unidentified wife of Adam,
name H
explaining that she was created from a living
thing. Ibn Sad cites the biblical etymology of Gen
3 : 20 in the name of Ibn Abbas. Ibn Ish aq and early
commentators on the Quran report that Eve was
created from Adams rib, and speculate about exactly which rib it was. Commentators also suggest
that the unidentified tree of prohibition was a stalk
of wheat, or a grapevine, or a fig tree.
A striking difference between the quranic traditions and the biblical account is the absence of
the theme of man and wife becoming one flesh
(Gen 2 : 24). But already in the 8th century Ibn Ish aq reports, on the authority of the people of
scripture, that when Adam first saw his wife, he
said, My flesh and my blood and my mate.
Muslim scholars were concerned about the
character of the sin of Adam and Eve, and many


sought to minimize Adams role or the seriousness

of his error. Ibn Ish aq suggests that Adam eats
from the tree only after Eve makes him drunk.
Eventually, the majority of traditions and commentaries lay the blame for the sin on Eve. Scholars
who worried that Adams sin would contradict the
dogma of prophetic sinlessness highlight the verses
which say that Adam and Eve were made to slip
by Satan or that Adam forgot. More challenging for
exegetes was the verb asa at S 20 : 121, which indicates an action of defiance or revolt.
Among many other areas of discussion and
speculation were the places where Adam, Eve and
Satan landed when God ordered them to go
down, and the consequences of their sin. Early
writers had Adam land in India or Sarand b (Sri
Lanka), Eve in Jedda, and Satan in Bas ra. The consequences of the sin for Eve were said to include menstruation and pain in childbirth. Al-Kisa has God
pronounce many other curses on Eve, including deficiency in mind, religion, ability to bear witness,
and inheritance.
From an early point exegetes connect the guidance which God promises to Adam and Eve in the
future (at S 2 : 37 and 20 : 123) with Muh ammad
and the Quran.
Bibliography. Primary: al-Kisa , The Tales of the Prophets
of al-Kisa (Library of Classical Arabic Literature 2; Boston,
Muqatil Ibn Sulayman, Tafs r.
G. D.
Mass. 1978).
Newby, The Making of the Last Prophet (Columbia, S.C. 1989).
[Translation of first section of Ibn Ish aqs S rat Rasul Allah]
Jar r al-T abar , Tafs r.
Secondary: M. Abdel Haleem, Understanding the Quran
(London 1999). S. Calderini, Woman, Sin and Lust,
in Religion and Sexuality (eds. M. A. Hayes et al.; Sheffield
1998) 4963. J. Eisenberg [G. Vajda], H
 awwa, EI2 3
(Leiden 1971) 295. C. Schck, Adam and Eve, EQ 1
(Leiden 2001) 2226.

Gordon Nickel

V. Literature
The story of Adam and Eve in Gen 13 is the subject of substantial elaboration in medieval European literature. The most extensive nexus is that
denoted by the Latin title, Vita Adae et Evae (Life of
Adam and Eve, L.A.E.), which deals with the circumstances of the Temptation in the Garden, the Expulsion and Adams attempt to return to the Garden, the second tempting of Eve by Satan, the
revelation of Satans jealousy of mankind, the story
of Cain and Abel, Adams death, and the mission
of Seth to Paradise in an effort to obtain the oil of
mercy. Versions exist in Greek, Armenian, Georgian, Coptic, Hebrew, and Irish (see Murdoch). Despite the presence of the Seth legend in Josephus
Antiquities, the bulk of the material seems to have
Christian origins.
The L.A.E. and the legends of the Holy Rood are
complementary, overlapping at the death of Adam.
The Virgin Mary is a shadowy presence as the Sec-

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Adam and Eve, Story of

ond Eve, made more palpable in one version of the

L.A.E. where Seth glimpses the Virgin holding her
son in a pieta as he arrives in Paradise to collect the
seeds which, buried with Adam, will produce the
rood tree. Vernacular versions novelise the story.
The Old Irish Saltair has Seth cutting the grass for
Adam and Eve, who employ Noema as a seamstress.
In an Armenian version the grass withers as the
protoplasts leave Paradise. The L.A.E. material influences Italian, German, and Breton drama and
the great 14th-century Middle High German Adamslegende poem.
A different tradition is apparent in the 9th-century Genesis B poem and the 12th-century AngloNorman play, the Mystre dAdam. Notable here is
the psychological realism of Eves temptation by
the devil (disguised as an angel of light) and the
sympathy for Eve as the victim of moral confusion.
Genesis B is awash with extrabiblical material, including Satan plotting the Temptation in the netherworld, his visit to Adam before tempting Eve,
and her visionary experiences after eating the forbidden fruit. The Mystre omits the creation of
Adam and Eve, beginning with their (medievalstyle) wedding, conducted by the Figura (God), reminding us of their centrality in European thinking about marriage.
Amongst the English mystery plays, the Coventry play follows the Cursor Mundi in having Adams
exploration of the wonders of the Paradise garden
as the cause of Adam and Eves separation before
the Temptation. The plays follow rabbinic tradition
in having the devil disguise himself as the serpent
for the Temptation. In the York and Chester plays
he actually changes into the snake-costume on
stage. The serpent here and in some European
plays has a female head, in line with iconographic
tradition and Peter Comestors Historia Scholastica.
The York play has Adam deceived by the serpents
promise, but the Chester play follows orthodox exegesis (and 1 Tim 2 : 14) in having Adam undeceived. Here he is motivated partly by gluttony but
also by his love for Eve, a motivation developed further by Milton. The Coventry and Norwich plays
follow Genesis B and the Mystre in presenting the
devil in the form of an angel of light. In the Coventry play and a 15th-century play from Bologna, the
devil flatters Eve like a character in romance literature.
In Langlands Piers Plowman (ca. 1370), Study
tells Piers that lust for knowledge caused Adam and
Eve to be expelled from Paradise, whereas Garttryge in his Lay Folks Catechism of 1357 found that
humankind had lost its angelic life through the
disobedience of Adam and Eve in the garden and
taught homecoming through intellectual and
moral effort.
After their prominence in medieval drama,
Adam and Eve appear only in transposed form in


Spenser (as the Red Cross Knight and Una in The

Faerie Queene) and in ironic references in Shakespeares Much Ado About Nothing and Loves Labour
Lost, though The Tempest, his last play, can be seen
as Genesis revisited, with Prospero as God and Ferdinand and Miranda as Adam and Eve.
Nevertheless the 17th century saw Adam and
Eve resume their importance as interest grew in the
origins of the human race. John Clevelands poem
Upon a Hermaphrodite treated the story of Adams rib
as indicative that Adam was originally androgynous, in line with Hermetic and rabbinic writings,
as well as Philo and Origen. The Muggletonians
thought that as humanity was made in the image
of God, God was shaped in the form of a human.
Du Bartas hugely popular Renaissance poem The
Divine Weeks and Works established the idea that
Adam was born outside Eden but Eve within it, a
plank in proto-feminism. John Donnes poem The
First Anniversary located Adam and Eve at the foundation of a sentiment of lifes decay. Adams huge
lifespan was necessitated by the task of populating
the earth in a poem by John Drayton. The translators of the King James Bible rejected allegorism in
Gen 2 : 8, locating Paradise in a historical time and
place. However, allegorical readings remained
strong in the 17th century, with Paradise seen as
an inner state and Adam and Eve as inward forces
in the poetry of Henry Vaughan and Thomas Traherne.
Miltons Paradise Lost (1667) was both a summing-up of the accumulated reception-history of
the story of Adam and Eve and a work of intense
literary originality. Whilst emphatically clearing
God of the blame for either the fall of Satan or that
of our grand parents, Milton treats Adam and
Eve sympathetically as the embodiment of the principle that knowledge is gained through experience.
For them (and for the reader), to be human is to
choose, often without full knowledge of the consequences. This is the pathos at the heart of Paradise
Lost, which, written in the age when autobiography
and biography were nascent forms, is also about
the trials of the Cromwellian Commonwealths final apologist. Although made the bogey of misogyny by Virginia Woolf, Paradise Lost has been read
more amenably by recent feminist critics, who have
discovered a poem in which Eve is more attuned to
the natural order than Adam and which casts an
ironic light on male assumptions about women.
Dryden defused much of the power of Paradise
Lost in his opera version, The State of Innocence
(1677). Despite this, his poetry thereafter resonated
with echoes of Miltons Paradise Lost, as in The
Medal. Blake inverted the Fall story, treating it as
the outworking of the self-contradictions of a deity
mixing mercy and vindictiveness. In The Four Zoas,
Los and Enitharmon are Adam and Eve, whom Satan separates with the veil of mortality after they

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Adam and Eve, Story of

eat the fruit. Mary Shelleys Frankenstein (1818) reworks the material of Paradise Lost, the main characters at various times assuming the roles of Adam,
Eve, Satan, and God. At a more popular level, London had 13 pubs named Adam and Eve in a survey
of 1848. The Fruiters Company had Adam and Eve
as their emblem. In Cockney rhyming slang,
Would you Adam and Eve it? translates as
Would you believe it? The protoplasts are treated
abundantly in central European folk-art and folklore of the period.
Victor Hugo (18021885) rewrites Genesis in
his poem DEve Jsus by elevating Eve above Adam
and asserting the primacy of love and maternity.
Baudelaire subverts Edenic imagery in his poem
Bndiction, part of Fleurs du Mal (1857), and has Eve
or the Second Eve threaten to twist this miserable
tree / So its infected buds will never bloom! Rilkes
twin-poems Adam and Eve of 1907 celebrate the
death-defying love of the first couple, embodied in
lofty cathedral sculptures.
Playwrights, novelists and poets continued to
play with the theme. George Eliots Adam Bede
(1859) begins as the story of the Adam who is led
to the tree of knowledge by Eve (Hetty Sorel), but
ends by being the story of Dinah Morris as the Second Adam/Christ-figure in the guise of a Madonna.
George Macdonalds Lilith (1895) has the Librarian,
Mr Raven, who is also Adam. Mark Twains The Diary of Adam and Eve (1905) is a burlesque on the
relations between the sexes. Brechts poem Song
about a Sweetheart (1920) harks back to a strong Eve
who gave the narrator vitality. Shaws Back to Methuselah (1922) has Adam and Eve and the Serpent
engaged in a Hegelian dialectic about mortality and
immortality. Proust makes a reductive use of Adam
and Eve imagery in La Recherche du Temps Perdu
(published posthumously, 1927). Archibald MacLeishs Nobodaddy (1926) makes Adam and Eve achieve
self-consciousness through co-operating with the
serpent. James Joyces Finnegans Wake (1939) is
haunted by Adam and Eve, transmuted as Alum
on Even, alum and olives, atoms and ifs and
atman as evars. D. H. Lawrences lovers in Lady
Chatterleys Lover are regenerate versions of Adam
and Eve.
Dylan Thomass poetry constantly refers to
Adam and Eve, the poet remarking
I know the legend
Of Adam and Eve is never for a second
Silent in my service
Over the dead infants
Over the one
Child who was priest and servants.
(Collected Poems: 130).
The poetry of Robert Graves uses the Eden story to
articulate private thoughts about love, as in Woman
and Tree and in Trial of Innocence. Patrick Whites
novel The Eye of the Storm (1973) has an Adam-figure


(Basil) who can only be healed by marrying the

True Bride and restoring the Garden. D. J. Enright
rewrites Paradise Lost as a comedy in Paradise Illustrated (1978), now the first half of Telling Tales
Anne Stevenson in her poem At Kilpeck
Church (1980) has God concentrating on the creation of Lilith until turning on the eight day to the
emergency created by Adam and Eve. Elizabeth
Jolleys Adams Bride (1983) discovers the Eden story
in a beleaguered Australian-outback marriage. David Maines novel Fallen (2006) has a reverse-chronology Fall, running from Cains murder of Abel
back to the creation of Adam and Eve, with a feminist Eve and a blustering, muddle-through Adam.
Bibliography. Primary: D. J. Enright, Collected Poems (Oxford 1987). R. Graves, Collected Poems 1975 (London 1975).
D. Thomas, Collected Poems (London 1952).
Secondary: P. C. Almond, Adam and Eve in SeventeenthCentury Literature (Cambridge 1999). A. T. Davies, Dylan
(London 1964). J. Larwood/J. C. Hotten, English Inn Signs
(London 1951). G. P Luttikhuizen (ed.), The Creation of
Man and Woman (Leiden 2000) S. Marx, Shakespeare and
the Bible (Oxford/New York 2000). L. R. Muir, The Biblical
Drama of Medieval Europe (Cambridge 1995). B. Murdoch,
Adams Grace, Fall and Redemption in Medieval Literature (Cambridge 2000). L. Rhrich, Adam und Eva (Stuttgart 1968).
P. G. Remley, Old English Biblical Verse (Cambridge 1996).
A. Roper, Drydens Poetic Kingdoms (London 1965).
J. A.
Winn, John Dryden and His World (New Haven, Conn./London
R. Woolf, The English Mystery Play (London

Anthony Swindell

VI. Visual Arts

1. Description of Normative Figure of the Story
of Adam and Eve in the Visual Arts. The examples for the story of Adam and Eve in the visual
arts follow the scriptural account in Genesis. The
Creation of Adam followed by the Creation of Eve, God
Presenting Eve to Adam, The Temptation, The Fall and
The Expulsion from Paradise are all manifested in the
visual arts. The usual paradigm for depicting the
story of Adam and Eve were as two youthful nudes,
either unabashed in their nakedness or concealing
their nudity with their hands, a fig leaf, or shabby
clothes. In scenes of The Expulsion from Paradise, and
the resulting Labors of Adam and Eve, the nudity of
the individuals was covered by drab garments.
Adam was depicted clothed in tattered attire, holding a spade or rake as he attended to his labors. Eve
was portrayed fully clothed, holding an instrument
used to spin wool. Their youth and nudity were
visually replaced by the repercussions of the first
2. Attribute and/or Symbol. The attributes or
symbols for the story of Adam and Eve were their
physical nudity, suggesting birth and creation, as
well as vulnerability. Adam and Eves nudity, hidden by the fig leaf, was an attribute of their representation in the visual arts, although the fig leafs

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Adam and Eve, Story of

presence was not uniform. Adam and Eve obscuring their nudity revealed the moment of The Temptation and The Fall, as the first couples sin resulted
in shame at their nakedness. Disguising the couples nudity in the visual arts may also reveal a desire for modesty on behalf of the artist or the patron commissioning the work. The nudity of Adam
and Eve operated as a symbol of baptism in the
visual art of the early church. Representations of
the couple appeared at the 3rd century baptistery
of Dura-Europos. The tree in the Garden of Eden
was commonly used as a physical barrier separating
the two figures. The serpent was depicted either
entwined around the tree or at the feet of the couple, representing The Temptation. The forbidden
fruit of the tree, another symbol of their temptation and transgression, was usually portrayed held
by Eve. The serpent either appeared as a typical
snake, or in instances such as the painting of Hugo
van der Goes (1467/1468; and Masolinos fresco,
Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence), the serpent bore feet and a human-like face,
as it had not yet been banished to slither on the
ground. In the Creation of Adam and Eve, the representation of the divine in the figure of God or Jesus
was included. God was depicted shaping Adam
from clay, breathing the breath of life into the first
man, or infusing Adams body with a soul by the
power of touch, memorably captured by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. God was depicted removing a rib from the side of a slumbering Adam
to be used to shape the first woman. God was included in representations of the Presentation of
Eve, understood as a symbol of the institution of
marriage. Christ appeared in visual examples of The
Creation of Adam and Eve, The Fall, The Expulsion from
Paradise, and the commission of their labors. In
scenes of Adam and Eve Given Instruments of Labor,
Christ handed Adam the symbols of their toil. The
usual symbols of Adam and Eves labors were the
spade wielded by Adam accompanied with Eve
spinning wool. The worn and tattered clothes of
Adam and Eve in depictions of their Expulsion from
Paradise were a symbol of their fallen condition. The
inclusion of Christ at the creation event and in
other scenes involving Adam and Eve reflected the
emphasis in patristic thought of Christ as the Divine Logos, pre-existent to creation. The visual art
revealed an interest in depicting Christ as an architect of creation, thus visually stressing the supremacy of Christ. The figures of Adam and Eve and
their visual attributes symbolize birth, creation,
death, and ultimately resurrection and new creation in the visual arts.
3. Scriptural Episodes in the Visual Arts. Images
of the Story of Adam and Eve were quite common
in the visual arts from late antiquity onward. The
scriptural episodes that were depicted were The
Creation of Adam, The Creation of Eve, Adam and Eve in


the Garden of Paradise, Adam and Eve and the Institution

of Marriage, The Temptation and the Fall (sometimes
referred to as The Temptation of Eve), The Expulsion
from Paradise (Adam and Eve Hiding Their Nudity, The
Rebuke of God, Adam and Eve Given Instruments of Labor, Adam and Eve Chased out of Paradise, Adam and Eve
Laboring, Eve Breastfeeding). Occasionally the figures
appear in The Bemoaning of the Death of Abel (Lucas
van Leyden, 1529). The images of Adam and Eve
follow the Genesis narrative; however the two figures do appear in non-scriptural accounts as in the
Anastasis of Christ, a prevalent image in the East.
4. Frequent Iconographic Motifs in the Visual
Arts. The Story of Adam and Eve in the visual arts was
commonly recreated. The appearance and motifs of
Adam and Eve altered slightly throughout history,
as the images revealed the special interest the story
of Adam and Eve held for a particular era.

Fig. 8 Adam and Eve from the Junius Bassus

sarcophagus (4th cent. CE)

a. Late Antiquity. In the early Christian era, images

of Adam and Eve, naked, separated by the tree in
the Garden of Eden and the serpent were recurrent
themes. Early Christians understood the figures of
Adam and Eve as reflective of the rite of baptism,
and they bore a Christological connection. The association between baptism, Adam, and Christ was
made explicit by the patristic authors Cyril of Jerusalem (Myst. cat. 2.2) and Theodore of Mopsuestia
(Bapt. hom. 3.8). Adam and Eves presence in early
Christian art revealed the general understanding of

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Adam and Eve, Story of

the figures as signifying birth, death, and resurrection. It is unsurprising the story of Adam and Eve
occurred with a high degree of frequency in funerary art of the era.
b. Medieval and Renaissance. The medieval era included increased depictions of The Temptation and
the Fall of Adam and Eve in the visual arts. The pain
and suffering of their labors was more frequently
depicted (see /plate 5), as was the ultimate resurrection of the first humans by Christ in scenes of
The Anastasis of Christ. In representations of The Anastasis, Christ resurrects Adam and Eve by grasping
their hands (although Eves rescue is not entirely
consistent), as the image captured the removal of
the transgressions of the first couples sin. During
the Reformation, the Story of Adam and Eve was portrayed in altarpieces that effectively illustrated the
Protestant doctrine of the relationship between the
Law and the Gospel. Created by the Cranach workshop, The Temptation and the Fall labeled under the
rubric of Law was illustrated on one side, while
the Gospel narrative flanked the Hebrew Bible
scenes, with Adam acknowledging the impact of
the crucified Christ. The Renaissance reflected a renewed interest in scenes of the Creation of Adam and
Eve, epitomized in the climactic Sistine Chapel
scenes by Michelangelo. The visual evidence of the
Story of Adam and Eve exhibits its ability to operate
as a symbol of creation, birth, pain, vulnerability,
death, and resurrection.
Works: Creation of Eve: Bible, St. Paul outside the Walls,
Rome; Relief, San Zeno, Verona; Capital, Modena Cathedral; Portal, Church of Andlau, Alsace; Relief, Portal of the
Mother of God, Amiens Cathedral; elevated portal, Sainte
Chapelle, Paris; Mosaic, Baptistery, Florence; Venceslas Bible, Bibl. Vienna; Portal, Auxerre Cathedral, Burgundy; Faade, Orvieto Cathedral; Jacopo della Quercia, portal of S.
Petronio, Bologna; Ghiberti, bronze doors, Baptistery, Florence; Gabriel Guardia, altarpiece, Manresa; Portal, Church
of Ulm; Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel, Rome; Veronese,
(1570), The Art Institute of Chicago; William Blake, watercolor, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Presentation of Adam
and Eve: Sarcophagus, Muse de lArles Antiques, Arles.
Adam and Eve in the Garden of Paradise: Statue, Rouen Cathedral; Jan van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece, St. Bavo Cathedral;
Antonio Rizzo, statues, Doges Palace, Venice; A. Drer,
(1507) Museo del Prado, Madrid; Jan Brueghel the Elder,
Royal Collection, UK; Jan von Scorel, Haarlem Museum.
Adam and Eve and the Institution of Marriage: Bronze doors,
Cathedral of Hildesheim; Fresco, St. Savin; Mosaic, Cathedral of Monreale; Relief portal, Cathedral of Freiburg.
The Temptation and the Fall: Fresco, Catacomb of S. Gennaro, Naples; Fresco, Catacomb of Peter and Marcellinus,
Rome; Fresco, Via Latina Catacomb, Rome; Sculpted frontal, Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, Museo Pio Cristiano,
Rome; Miniature, Vienna Genesis; Bronze doors, Cathedral
of Hildesheim; Relief, faade, Modena Cathedral; Capital,
Cathedral of Cluny; Capital, Notre Dame-du-Port, Clermont-Ferrand; Capital, St. Benoit-sur-Loire; Fresco, St.
Savin; Statue, portal of the Mother of God, Amiens Cathedral; Relief, Auxerre Cathedral, Burgundy; Psalter of Queen
Mary, British Museum; Relief, Doges Palace, Venice; Paulo
Uccello, cloister, Santa Maria Novello, Florence; Hugo van


der Goes, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; Hans Holbein, Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel, Switzerland; Fernando
Gallego, altarpiece, Cathedral of Zamora; Jan van Scorel,
Haarlem Museum; Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel, Rome;
Raphael (1516) Vatican Apartments, Rome; Titian, Museo
del Prado, Madrid; Lucas Cranach, Uffizi, Florence; Peter
Paul Rubens, Museo del Prado, Madrid. The Expulsion
from Paradise (Adam and Eve Hiding Their Nudity): Capital,
Cluny Cathedral; Capital, St. Martin dAinay, Lyon; Mosaic,
Palatine Chapel, Palermo; North portal, Chartres Cathedral;
Relief, Orvieto Cathedral; Jan Van Eyck, Ghent altarpiece,
St. Bavo Cathedral; Rodin, Statue of Eve, the Gates of Hell,
Rodin Museum, Paris. (The Rebuke of God): Bronze doors,
Cathedral of Hildesheim; Relief, dome, Modena Cathedral;
Capital, Cathedral of Parma; Capital, Notre Dame-du-Port,
Clermont-Ferrand; North portal, Chartres Cathedral; Mosaic, San Marco, Venice. (Adam and Eve Given Instruments
of Labor): Sculpted frontal, Dogmatic Sarcophagus, Museo
Pio Cristiano, Rome; Mosaic, San Marco, Venice; Bronze
doors, Cathedral of Monreale, Sicily; Psalter of St. Alban,
Hildesheim; Miniature, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge;
Stained glass, Sainte Chapelle, Paris; Psalter of Queen Mary,
British Museum; Portal, Rouen Cathedral; Western portal,
Church of Ulm; Arch, Portal of the Church of St. Thibault,
(Adam and Eve Chased out of Paradise): Bronze
doors, Cathedral of Hildesheim; Capital, Notre Dame-duPort, Clermont-Ferrand; Byzantine ivory, Muse Olivieri,
Pesaro; Bronze doors, San Zeno, Verona; Faade, San Zeno,
Verona; Miniature, Psalter of St. Alban, Hildesheim; Relief,
Portal of the Mother of God, Amiens Cathedral; North portal, Chartres Cathedral; Latin Psalter, Bibl. Nat.; Sculpture,
transept, Cathedral of Worcester; Masaccio, fresco, Carmine
Chapel, Florence; Bertram von Minden, Grabow altarpiece,
Kunsthalle, Hamburg; Michelangelo, fresco, Sistine Chapel,
Rome; Raphael, Vatican Apartments, Rome. (Adam and
Eve Laboring): Mosaic, Baptistery, Florence; Bronze doors,
Cathedral of Hildesheim; Relief in the faade, Modena Cathedral; Relief, San Zeno, Verona; Fresco, Saint Savin,
Poitou; Mosaic, San Marco, Venice; North portal, Chartres
Cathedral; North faade, Amiens Cathedral; Foundation,
Cathedral of Bourges; Chapel, Salisbury Cathedral; Tympanum, Cathedral of Freiburg; Stained glass, Canterbury Cathedral; Ps. of Queen Mary, British Museum; Andrea Pisano, relief, S. Maria del Fiore, Florence; Ghiberti, bronze
doors, Baptistery, Florence; Cloister, Santa Maria Novello,
Florence; Jacopo della Quercia, portal of S. Petronio, Bologna; Stalls, Amiens Cathedral; Antonio Lombardo, relief,
Basilica of Lorette. (Eve Breastfeeding): Miniature, Bible of
St. Paul outside the Walls, Rome; Relief, faade, San Zeno,
Verona; Bronze doors, Cathedral of Hildesheim; Stained
glass, Cathedral of Tours; Relief, Library portal, Rouen Cathedral; Capital, Cathedral of Salisbury; Stained glass, St.
Etienne Temple of Mulhouse, Alsace; Stained glass depiction of Genesis, Cathedral of Chlons-sur-Marne. Adam
and Eve Bemoaning the Death of Abel: Lucas van Leyden, Univ.
of Michigan Museum. Anastasis: Mosaic, Hosios Lukas,
Distomo; Mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul; Fresco, Monastery of the Savior, Chora, Istanbul; Mosaic, main church,
Nea Moni, Chios.
Bibliography: F. W. Deichmann et al. (eds.), Repertorium
der christlich-antiken Sarcophage, Register I (Wiesbaden 1976)
37. L. Rau, Iconographie de lart chrtien, 2.1 (Paris 1988
[= 1956]) 65103. H. Schade, Adam und Eva, LCI 1
(Freiburg 1994 [= 1968]) 4170. J. Seibert, Adam und
Eva, LCK (Freiburg 1980) 1115.

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Lee M. Jefferson


Adam and Eve, Story of

VII. Music
Medieval Christian liturgy on Sexagesimae (or Septuagesimae) Sunday included the singing of responsories during the office giving an outline of
the biblical story of the Fall. Seven of these were
also included in the 12th century (otherwise spoken) Anglo-Norman Ordo representacionis Ade (Service
for Representing Adam), usually referred to as the
Play of Adam which belongs in the context of liturgical representation (or liturgical drama). The Play
of Adam elaborated the narrative from Genesis providing both Adam and Eve with individual characteristics as well as making references to a future
salvation in Christ. In Arnoul Grbans French language (spoken) Passion Play, Le Mystre de la Passion,
from the mid-15th century, an introductory monologue spoken by Adam provides the background for
the following representation of the salvation
through the Passion of Jesus.
Representations of the Story of Adam and Eve and
other representations of the figures of Adam and
Eve in vernacular (spoken) mystery plays, for instance the English Corpus Christi Plays, at least sometimes included music. In general, much research
needs to be done on the musical traditions of these
plays. Such research has so far mainly been carried
out for the English plays by Richard Rastall who
also points to the use of instrumental music to emphasize specific aspects of the Story of Adam and Eve.
The Story of Adam and Eve was represented in
oratorios since the beginning of the genre. Bonifazio Grazianis Adae oratorium (Rome 1650, The oratorio of Adam) and Baldassare Galuppis Adamo
caduto (Rome 1747, The fallen Adam) are examples
by famous composers, but many others are known
and very likely much at present remains to be
known. These representations are generally speaking newly composed poetical versions (textually as
well as musically) of the biblical story.
Sometimes Adam and Eve are portrayed in narrative connections not found in Genesis. Other representations synthesize particular parts of the Story
of Adam and Eve.
The most famous musical representation of biblical creation narratives is doubtless Die Schpfung
(The Creation) by Joseph Haydn. An English libretto based on Miltons Paradise Lost was given to
Haydn (in 1795) and reworked by Gottfried van
Swieten in German. When Haydn had finished the
composition, van Swieten adapted an English version of the libretto to the music. Die Schpfung was
premiered in 1798 in Vienna. Whereas the first two
parts of the work deal with the narrative of Gen 1,
the third part constitutes a cantata in which Adam
and Eve praise the Creation. The biblical account
of Adam and Eve is only implied through the
thankfulness of the newly created couple towards
the Creator, and the Fall is only touched upon in a
brief recitative sung by the archangel Uriel (here
quoted from the English version of the libretto):


O happy pair, and always happy yet

If not, misled by false conceit,
ye strive at more, as granted is,
And more to know, as know ye should!
(Feder: 234).
Die Schpfung ends, however, without representing
the narrative of the Fall. It is only concerned with
the narrative of the Creation and with praising God
for the created world. Nevertheless, the figures of
Adam and Eve unmistakably refer to the Genesis
account and must be seen as a particular emphasis
of gratefulness and joy concerning the creation of
human beings also celebrating marriage as a divinely established human order, all in line with Enlightenment thought.
A so-called hymn for soloists, chorus and orchestra, composed in Copenhagen by the Germanborn Court Kapellmeister F. L. A. Kunzen to a poem
by Jens Baggesen, Skabningens Halleluja (The Hallelujah of Creation, first performed in 1797), describes the creation dramatically with only the
slightest dependence on the Genesis accounts but
with a strong emphasis on praising God. A duet
between the newly created human couple serves
much the same purpose as the representation of
Adam and Eve in Haydns Schpfung except that
Baggesen and Kunzen emphasize also the aspect of
physical love between the couple who although
never explicitly named as Adam and Eve are
clearly implied to represent the biblical couple, also
through the use of the uncommon Danish term
mandinde (fe-male) for the woman, seemingly inspired by Gen 2 : 23.
In Antonio Draghis sepolcro (a kind of Passion
oratorio) La vita nella morte (Life in Death), to a libretto by Nicolo Minato (or Minati), sung at a replica of a holy sepulcher in the imperial Hofburgkapelle in Vienna on Good Friday 1688, Adam and Eve
appear during the otherwise mainly allegorical
drama about the human condition and divine salvation. Adam and Eve as well as one more biblical
person, the Good Thief from the Passion narratives seem to be brought in as witnesses, adding
a feeling of reality to the generally abstract (mythological) descriptions of the human condition based
on the Fall. Further, Adam followed by Eve acknowledges the infinite love of the Redeemer who
saved even those responsible for the Fall, thus leading to the final praising of all figures of the music
In 1945, an unusual collaborative musical work
for choir, orchestra and narrator composed by
seven well-known composers, the Genesis Suite, was
premiered in Los Angeles commissioned by one
of the composers, Nathaniel Shilkret. All composers were Jewish except Igor Stravinsky. This work
includes as its third element Adam and Eve by Alexandre Tansman (18971986) in which Gen 2 : 510,
1525 and 3 : 119 are read.

Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception 1 ( Walter de Gruyter, Berlin/New York 2009)


Adam of St. Victor

Bibliography: D. Bevington (ed.), Medieval Drama (Boston,

Mass. 1975). G. Feder, Joseph Haydn: Die Schpfung (Kassel
1999). Genesis Suite (1945): A Musical Collaboration by
Arnold Schnberg, Nathaniel Shilkret, Alexandre Tansman,
Darius Milhaud, Mario Castenuovo-Tedesco, Ernst Toch,
and Igor Stravinsky. Conducted by Gerard Schwarz (Milken
Archive of American Jewish Music and Naxos 2004).
N. H. Petersen/H. W. Schwab, The Devotional Genre of
the Hymn Around 1800, in Signs of Change (eds. N. H. Petersen et al.; Amsterdam 2004) 42752. N. H. Petersen,
Sepolcro, in Instruments of Devotion (eds. H. Laugerud/L.
Skinnebach; Aarhus 2007) 14556. R. Rastall, Music in
Early English Religious Drama, 2 vols. (Cambridge 1996
H. E. Smither, A History of the Oratorio, 4 vols.
(Chapel Hill, N.C. 19772000). N. Temperley, Haydn: The
Creation (Cambridge 1991).

Nils Holger Petersen

VIII. Film
A great many films from around the world have
borrowed the names Adam and Eve for use in
their titles: some filmmakers have sought to say
something about the biblical story, while others
have used these mythological names to tell other
stories, and still others use one or both characters
as comic figures. Most often, what is picked up in
the reception of these Genesis characters is a focus
on temptation, especially sexual.
Films attempting to base themselves in the biblical text include two Mexican films that are worth
mentioning, if only for their taglines. Adn y Eva
(dir. Albert Gout, 1956) carried the tagline, God
created a woman for man to live and play in
naked innocence in the Garden of Eden until a
serpent introduces Eve to devil and sex begins!
(ellipses in tagline). Gouts film was banned by censors in Mexico. In 1969, another Mexican production The Sin of Adam and Eve (dir. Miguel Zacaras)
carried the tagline, God created Adam. Eve created
the sin of Adam and Eve. And John Hustons The
Bible: In the Beginning (1966) covers Adam and Eve
in a swords and sandals Hollywood epic that yet
had little splash.
Comedies centering on the two characters include Roy Macks 1934 Good Morning, Eve! in which
Adam and Eve move out of the garden and into
later history, including time with Nero in Rome;
and the awful 2005 National Lampoon rendition,
Adam and Eve, which places the couple in a risqu,
collegiate environment.
A strange, though striking, representation of
the two Edenic characters occurs in director Mike
Figgis The Loss of Sexual Innocence (1999). The plotline intercuts a modern story with continual reference back to a bi-racial Adam and Eve who appear
from out of water and begin to explore the world,
including each other and their own bodies. The
film makes the myth relevant to any and all whose
loss of innocence connects with sexual innocence.
Relatedly, garden tropes feature prominently
in many films. Recent films include Hanging Garden


(1997), The Cement Garden (1993), and The Secret Garden (1993), each of which deals with tensions between innocence and experience, good and evil, especially when understood as being primarily
sexual. Adam and Eve figures are seen in characters
such as Julie and Jack from The Cement Garden.
One of the most striking references to the
Edenic figures comes at the halfway point of Wim
Wenders apocalyptic film, Until the End of the World
(1991). The otherwise convoluted film is redeemed
by a few choice scenes, one of the key ones being
that the two main characters fly a small plane
across the Australian outback as a feared nuclear
explosion takes place somewhere far off. Their
plane floats to earth as Peter Gabriels song The
Blood of Eden plays, and the woman and man begin
after the end of the world in a desert.
Bibliography: T. Linafelt/S. B. Plate, Seeing Beyond the
End of the World in Strange Days and Until the End of the
World, The Journal of Religion and Film 7.1 (2003; www.un A. Reinhartz,, accessed July 28, 2008).
Scripture on the Silver Screen (Louisville, Ky. 2003).

S. Brent Plate
See also /Adam (Person); /Apple; /Eden,
Garden of; /Eve

Adam of St. Victor

French poet and composer of sequences. He held
the office of precentor at the cathedral of Notre
Dame in Paris from at least 1107 onward and may
have been a member of the chapter as early as 1098.
As a supporter of the Augustinian reform movement, Adam held a prebend at the abbey of Saint
Victor, the foundation of the Augustinian Canons
Regular in Paris, from 1133.
Notre Dame and above all St. Victor were central to the development of the late sequence at the
time of Adams activity, with 60 or so of these pieces collected in a number of 12th-century manuscripts from the two ecclesiastical institutions.
Though attributions of any of these pieces to Adam
remain largely speculative, he was considered a famous and outstanding poet of sequences throughout the 12th and 13th centuries. It is commonly
held that he composed at least the following four
sequences: Laudes Crucis attollamus, Mundi renovatio,
O Maria stella maris, and Zyma vetus expurgator.
In terms of poetic means and mode of composition, the Parisian late sequence is above all characterized by its use of rhyme, rhythm and is regular
built. A further characteristic is the way in which
these sequences present reception of the Bible: biblical references and images are used frequently to
interpret typologically the feast for which a sequence is composed. Close analysis of these works
has shown that the particular typological methods
and the theology expressed through them are influenced by the Augustinian reform movement and

Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception 1 ( Walter de Gruyter, Berlin/New York 2009)