Figs, Dates, Laurel, and Myrrh: Plants of the Bible and the Quran

Front Cover
Timber Press, 2007 - Nature - 336 pages
0 Reviews
This book celebrates the plants of the Old Testament and New Testament, including the Apocrypha, and of the Quran. From acacia, the wood of the tabernacle, to wormwood, whose bitter leaves are the flavor of absinthe, 81 chapters cover the more than 100 plants in the sacred texts that have true botanical counterparts.
Especially fascinating are the surprises and mysteries, such as why the fruit of Eden may not have been an apple and why Babylon's weeping willows were probably another tree entirely. These stories of the fruits, trees, grasses, grains, flowers, and fragrances of ancient lore include botanical characteristics, plant habitats, and traditional uses. Each account interprets evocative quotations to reveal the fast-disappearing collective wisdom of the ages.
Grounded in reverence for the region, this handy reference covers a broad geographic range beyond Israel, encompassing the biblical Holy Land from southern Turkey to central Sudan and from Cyprus to the Iraq border. "It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey," as Deuteronomy describes it, and so much more, a region as unique for its diverse flora as for its historical and religious significance.
Richly illustrated with extensive color photography and with a foreword by the incomparable Garrison Keillor, this delightful ecumenical botany offers the welcome tonic of a deep look into an enduring, shared natural heritage.

What people are saying - Write a review

Figs, dates, laurel, and myrrh: plants of the Bible and the Quran

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The enormous task of examining the diverse and sometimes speculative side of religious ethnobotany is well executed here. Musselman (botany & biological sciences, Old Dominion Univ.; Jordan in Bloom ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2007)

Lytton John Musselman has studied Bible plants for three decades and has published numerous books and articles on their identification, symbolism, and use in the holy writings. He is Mary Payne Hogan Professor of Botany and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He also wrote Jordan in Bloom (2000), which was commissioned by Queen Rania Al-Abdullah. He has lived and worked in several Middle Eastern countries, including serving as a Fulbright professor at the American University in Beirut (he has held three Fulbright Awards); he travels to the Middle East annually. He is also interested in parasitic plants (and edits Haustorium, the newsletter for those interested in the biology of such plants) and quillworts (Isoetes. Also a field naturalist, he is the manager of the Old Dominion's Blackwater Ecologic Preserve.

Bibliographic information