Quote of the Day (Matthew R. Schlimm)

Quote of the Day (Matthew R. Schlimm) January 6, 2012

“No reader of Genesis has literally been expelled from the Garden of Eden. No reader has seen firsthand the cherubim and whirling, flaming sword east of the tree of life. And yet, Genesis clearly invites its readers to adopt Adam and Eve as metaphorical representations of themselves. In fact, it is a casualty of translation that the Hebrew אדם [‘adam] and חוה [ḥavah] are typically rendered ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’, when in fact their names literally are ‘Humanity’ and ‘Life’. Few readers of the English Bible are aware of this connection, and thus they fail to realize how the text itself invites them to see these characters less as historical figures and more as metaphorical representations of the human race. Once one understands the driving metaphor we are expelled from paradise, however, suddenly the remainder of Genesis and even our own lives make much more sense.”

Matthew R. Schlimm, From Fratricide to Forgiveness: The Language and Ethics of Anger in Genesis (Eisenbrauns, 2011) p.125.  HT James Spinti

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