The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve: The Story That Created Us by Stephen GreenblattThe most influential story in Western cultural history, the biblical account of Adam and Eve is now treated either as the sacred possession of the faithful or as the butt of secular jokes. Here, acclaimed scholar Stephen Greenblatt explores it with profound appreciation for its cultural and psychological power as literature. From the birth of the Hebrew Bible to the awe-inspiring contributions of Augustine, Dürer, and Milton in bringing Adam and Eve to vivid life, Greenblatt unpacks the story’s many interpretations and consequences over time. Rich allegory, vicious misogyny, deep moral insight, narrow literalism, and some of the greatest triumphs of art and literature: all can be counted as children of our “first” parents.
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We are lean, independent and non-profit. Support us by joining the RA. It might be a preposterous story, but we are shaped by the Adam and Eve myth - as Stephen Greenblatt's latest book explains. This article is a preview from the Winter edition of New Humanist. On the face of things, writes Stephen Greenblatt with refreshing candour in his account of the Adam and Eve myth, the story at the heart of his book is insane. That the fruit-based misdemeanour of a distant ancestor might have doomed humanity to inescapable suffering is a theory difficult to credit. As God is said to have made man in his own image, so too numerous thinkers and theologians have made the Adam and Eve myth in theirs.
W hen they were young, my children reflected on where they came from. At different stages in their lives, they came up with three different kinds of answer. No, Mummy and Daddy. But I was born in Cambridge. And I live in Yorkshire. And Oxford.
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What does it tell us about how our species lives, dies, works or has sex? The mythic tale of Adam and Eve has shaped conceptions of human origins and destiny for centuries. Stemming from a few verses in an ancient book, it became not just the foundation of three major world faiths, but has evolved through art, philosophy and science to serve as the mirror in which we seem to glimpse the whole, long history of our fears and desires. In a quest that begins at the dawn of time, Stephen Greenblatt takes us from ancient Babylonia to the forests of east Africa. He delves deftly and lucidly into theology Fascinating ". But it is a more complex study than that.
Stephen Greenblatt follows Adam and Eve through a long arc of Western history. He begins at the beginning, with paleoanthropology, then moves on to the Babylonian epics, which influenced the early chapters of Genesis, and on to a sketch of the life of St. From there, he arrives at the Renaissance and its depictions of the first and perfect man and woman, then Milton, of course, the age of discovery and the rationalist rejection of Adamic creation, which was a rejection as well of the belief that, as St. Then Darwin emerged, upending everything all over again. And Greenblatt finally lands in his last pages at a fairly disheartening account of mating among the chimpanzees.