Author Topic: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story  (Read 711 times)

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Offline The Latinist

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2017, 11:21:54 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.

I think you're wrong on the facts here.  It is not true that historically every Christian and Jew believed in the literal truth of the Bible.  Throughout history there have been many, including many church fathers, who viewed biblical tales allegorically rather than historically.

My own take has long been as follows: the gods, fearing mankind, tried to keep certain knowledge from us through lies.  The serpent, pitying us, revealed the lie and gave the knowledge to mankind... and for it he was punished, just as Prometheus was in Greek parallels.  Moreover it seems clear to me that the first tree offered knowledge not of "good and evil" in general but of sexuality in particular, which explains both their response in covering themselves and the form of Eve's punishment.  With our new knowledge of sexuality and the ability to reproduce, the gods feared that, if we also gained immortality, we would become more powerful than they, so they banished us from Eden to prevent our reaching our full potential. It's not a story of our fall from grace by doing evil, but of jealous gods keeping us under their thumb.  I do not doubt that the serpent was originally the hero of the story.
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2017, 11:04:51 AM »
The serpent originally had legs. Perhaps the authors of Genesis believed in evolution. ;D
Daniel
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Offline Johnny Slick

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2017, 12:52:32 PM »
Yeah, to The Latinist's point, I'm pretty sure the whole entire point of why the Talmud exists is that the original story was not really taken so much at face value by 5th century Jews so much as it was seen as a place from which moral guidance can be delivered. To that end, pretty much all the Talmud is is the Torah with commentary on what the passages actually mean by 8 contemporary rabbis.
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

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Offline Enkidu Shamesh

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2017, 06:04:05 PM »
While there have always been those who have interpreted various myths as literally true they really didn't come into their own until the rise of scientific materialism. Once the materialist worldview became dominant it was inevitable that religious people increasingly interpreted their scriptures from a materialist perspective.

Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2017, 06:29:39 PM »
While there have always been those who have interpreted various myths as literally true they really didn't come into their own until the rise of scientific materialism. Once the materialist worldview became dominant it was inevitable that religious people increasingly interpreted their scriptures from a materialist perspective.

hmm..IDK... similar debates existed among the greek and roman pagans. 

Offline Enkidu Shamesh

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Re: Heard an interesting take on the Adam & Eve story
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2017, 06:40:34 PM »
While there have always been those who have interpreted various myths as literally true they really didn't come into their own until the rise of scientific materialism. Once the materialist worldview became dominant it was inevitable that religious people increasingly interpreted their scriptures from a materialist perspective.

hmm..IDK... similar debates existed among the greek and roman pagans.

I said as much. My point is that the spread of a materialist worldview (which I myself hold) has resulted in many more people interpreting their myths from a materialist perspective - i.e. being literally true works of historical documentation.