Paradise and the Antediluvian World: Genesis and Ancient Near Eastern Literature Compared

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Murray Adamthwaite

Abstract

Paradise as man's original home, from which he was evicted because of disobedience to clear Divine command as related in Genesis 2 and 3 was commonly alleged in older literature to be simply the Biblical version of a standard motif in Mesopotamian literature. For example, for Speiser the incorporation of Mesopotamian material into Gen 2 by the J author is shown by much compelling evidence. He therefore cites telltale loanwords. However, one might well ask at this juncture, Telltale of what, precisely? The discussion below will explore the various aspects of both the paradise story and the antediluvian world of Genesis 2 to 5, to assert that they are sui generis, and not dependent on motifs and literature from the Ancient Near East.

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