Echoes of Eden: Genesis 2-3 and Symbolism of the Eden Garden in Biblical Hebrew Literature
Echoes of Eden attempts to establish what is called a comprehensive perspective on the Story of Eden. This includes, first, an investigation into the symbolic significance of a garden to an ancient Hebrew audience, considering actual garden constructions from the ancient Near East as well as text and figures of speech relating to the garden subject. Secondly, the book engages in a historical literary analysis of the Eden Story. It is argued that the passage derives from the Early Persian era, that it is a tightly knit literary unit, and that it extends a rather ambiguous argument on human nature. By way of a "comprehensive perspective," other biblical passages making reference to Eden are also considered. Found in a number of similes, metaphors, alegories, these passages seem to presuppose knowledge of an Eden (Story) similar to the one in Genesis 2-3. In this material emerges an impression as to what Eden "meant" to a biblical audience in Persian Age. Apparently - and quite in harmony with the picture in Genesis 2-3 - such an audience imagined a "primeval Eden" outside space and time. They did, however, also perceive several echoes of that Eden in their everyday world. Presuming this as the communicative competence in the audience, the book concludes by hinting at the significance of the Eden Garden to its implied readers.
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