Author Topic: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story  (Read 665 times)

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Offline Desert Fox

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Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« on: December 30, 2016, 05:18:57 AM »
I heard an interesting take on the Adam and Eve story from a former Jew as it was told by her Rabbi - A very liberal but not necessarily non-believing Rabbi.

The idea is that the Adam & Eve story was an allegory for puberty and growing up. When I squint real hard it does actually make some sense. When you go through puberty, you at some point feel body conscious in a way you never had before. In addition, how Adam and Eve are kicked out of the garden is very much how real life is. In your parent's home, you needs are met and life is pretty carefree. Once you get out, it is lots of hard work.

Thoughts?   
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 06:01:51 AM by Desert Fox »
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
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Offline 2397

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Re: Heard and interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2016, 05:49:31 AM »
On the Ask an Atheist podcast.

I think it's as good an interpretation as any, since it's obviously not a story about something that actually happened. Though can't say for sure that the people who first told the story didn't intend for it to be taken literally. It otherwise seems to be largely used to tell people it's not God's fault, it's your fault. Whatever it is, because you aren't obedient enough/because inheriting sin is a thing. That could be more of a Christian thing than a Jewish thing, but there seem to be plenty of authoritarianism in Judaism too.

Maybe the Rabbi was a secret atheist, trying to do the best he could with the material available to him.

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2016, 06:03:16 AM »
Nothing wrong with sharing what you hear on a podcast?
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline Harry Black

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2016, 06:24:11 AM »
I think if you squint hard enough at any story, you can make it seem like anything.

Offline 2397

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2016, 06:42:38 AM »
Nothing wrong with sharing what you hear on a podcast?

Not at all. I heard it there too and thought it was worth mentioning.

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2016, 07:43:47 AM »
...
Maybe the Rabbi was a secret atheist, trying to do the best he could with the material available to him.

Or maybe he was, as stated in the OP, a liberal Jew who takes a more humanitarian view than the mainstream.

I have a different view of the story:

I see it as an allegory to explain why humans have to work for a living, when the other animals just go about looking for food, and why we wear clothing, when the other animals do not. I strongly suspect that at the time Genesis was written, children did not have such a cushy time of it living in their parents' home. Children in agricultural societies work as soon as they are able to. So, rather than an allegory of being kicked out of home, I see it as an allegory relating to a supposed past time when humans lived as the other animals do.

Note also that the forbidden fruit was not from the tree of knowledge, it was from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So it's also an allegory about how we came to have the idea of good and evil.
Daniel
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Offline Harry Black

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2016, 07:56:20 AM »
I actually dont think its any more of an allegory than the story of Achilles.
"Watch out. Everyone has a weak spot"
Is in this case:
"Look out for women. They ruin shit. Dont let them make decisions"

I honestly think its as simple as that. I think any extra depth is just staring at clouds and giving the writers more credit than they are due.
It could just as easily be about how decisions affecting the group should never be made in isolation.

Offline Shibboleth

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2016, 09:42:33 AM »
I think there is a lot of allegory there but Genesis is the common religious story of trying to answer where we came from. It is kind of crazy but in the grand scheme of things it is one of the least crazy religious origin stories. At least we aren't being shot out of some titans butt or something.
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Offline Mr. Beagle

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2016, 10:23:47 AM »
The simpler explanation is an evolutionary memetic one. Thousands of creation stories were told around campfires for thousands of years. As communication among tribes improved, the stories whittled down. Some story parts propogated and some died off.

Then some cultures developed written records and the variants trimmed some more. Then came fixed type, and the deed was done, trimming the major survivors to a mere handful.

Most people assume that the theology, say the 10 Commandments, established our cultural morality. My contention is that the theology usually just confirmed an evolved, survival-based, moral social compact.

I use Buddhism as a case in point. What kind of "survival ethic language" will propagate and survive when basically life is shit and hopeless for most people? Buddhism fits this bill well.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2016, 11:53:45 AM »
I doubt that the writers of the Genesis stories intended them as literal history. I think they were intended to convey some sort of morality, without being regarded as historical. Like Grimm's Fairy Tales. I don't think the Brothers Grimm thought they were telling "true" stories, but they probably intended them as morality tales. I think Genesis was like that.

Of course, the Biblical canon was fixed long before the printing press.
Daniel
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Offline Harry Black

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2016, 12:11:53 PM »
I doubt that the writers of the Genesis stories intended them as literal history. I think they were intended to convey some sort of morality, without being regarded as historical. Like Grimm's Fairy Tales. I don't think the Brothers Grimm thought they were telling "true" stories, but they probably intended them as morality tales. I think Genesis was like that.

Of course, the Biblical canon was fixed long before the printing press.
I think the vacuum of entertainment is vastly underestimated when we consider why people told weird stories back in the day.

Offline Friendly Angel

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2016, 12:29:00 PM »
I think the vacuum of entertainment is vastly underestimated when we consider why people told weird stories back in the day.

I like thinking about the evolution of the story as well.  OH  ... let's say they didn't know they were naked!  OH... and put a cherub with a flaming sword at the gate... that'd be cool.
Amend and resubmit.

Offline MikeHz

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2017, 10:04:31 PM »
For 2000+ years every Christian and Jew takes the Bible at face value. Suddenly in the last generation or so, it's all an allegory of a symbolic metaphor. The trouble is, once you assign it to symbolism, then it can have whatever meaning you want.
"It's easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled." Mark Twain

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2017, 10:14:42 PM »
For 2000+ years every Christian and Jew takes the Bible at face value. Suddenly in the last generation or so, it's all an allegory of a symbolic metaphor. The trouble is, once you assign it to symbolism, then it can have whatever meaning you want.

Even back in the day, many church leaders did try to spin it as symbolism and not fact. Some of course did try to see it at face value.
Don't get me wrong, it is still BS whether looked at as symbolism or face value.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline Shibboleth

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2017, 10:32:31 PM »
For 2000+ years every Christian and Jew takes the Bible at face value. Suddenly in the last generation or so, it's all an allegory of a symbolic metaphor. The trouble is, once you assign it to symbolism, then it can have whatever meaning you want.

This isn't actually true. If you read the early Church fathers many of them took it as allegory.
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.