Forbidden Fruit

Myth Reading Group

Thursday 08 March

12.00-1.30pm in Room 3.411

We are very pleased to announce that John Driver continues our discussion of Trees & Forests with a session on the Garden of Eden


Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) and Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625), The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man (ca. 1615), Mauritshuis, The Hague, Netherlands

The Bible begins with the myth of Adam and Eve living in the Garden of Eden, and then being expelled after eating fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The episode is hardly alluded to in the rest of the Tanakh, but given greater weight in both Christian and Islamic thought. In this meeting of the Myth Reading Group, we will consider how the story came to be included in Genesis, and discuss its meaning(s) from ancient times to the present.

Readings include extracts from Genesis, The Epic of Gilgamesh (Tablet I, English version by N. K. Sandars, 1960), the Targum, 1 Corinthians, St Augustine, the Qur’an, and Milton’s Paradise Lost (optional).

For additional reading on the portrayal of Eve and Sin in Milton’s Paradise Lost, and parallels with mythical female figures mentioned in the Qur’an, the Hadith and The Arabian Nights, see Sharihan Al-Akhras’s ‘The Anima at the Gate of Hell: Middle Eastern Imagery in Milton’s Paradise Lost’, in Ben Pestell, Pietra Palazzolo, and Leon Burnett (eds.), Translating Myth (Oxford: Legenda, 2016), pp. 43-57.


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