Approaching Eden: Adam and Eve in Popular Culture

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You don't have to be religious for the story of Adam and Eve to have touched your life. From Voldemort's snake mascot in Harry Potter novels to the "forbidden fruit" apple that puts Snow White to sleep in fairy tales, we are inundated with references to the Garden of Eden in popular culture from an early age. On a deeper level, the story has been used as justification for conflicting viewpoints on issues ranging from nudity to marriage to slavery. Approaching Eden digs much deeper than merely cataloguing entertaining Adam and Eve references in popular culture by exploring how these references are used and how they shape society. Theresa Sanders provides essential historical background from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim perspectives to show the relevance and prominence of Adam and Eve's story in life today.

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Editorial Reviews

National Catholic Reporter
Theresa Sanders...has blessed us with a commentary that is scholarly, contemporary, perceptive and often very funny. Approaching Eden traces the 'first sin' through centuries of theological speculation and 80 years of fiction, film and television.
S. Brent Plate
Adam and Eve have become icons, pop stars. Their mythical presence emerges in The Simpsons, New Yorker cartoons, and Beech-Nut baby food advertisements. Approaching Eden is a delightfully serious romp through pop culture's religious unconscious.
Anton Karl Kozlovic
Theresa Sanders' Approaching Eden gives us another adventure in Paradise with her fruitful analysis of the Adam and Eve biblical story within popular film and television. Ranging through drama to science fiction, horror to the Jesus genre and beyond, it is a veritable tree of knowledge. Her interfaith exploration of Genesis is an especially devilish delight.
John R. May
Approaching Eden is without a doubt the most engaging and instructive book that I have read on reflections in popular culture of our foundational mythic text.
February 2010 Confetti Antiques and Books
Her study reveals the assumptions we have made about what the story both says and doesn't say. She accomplishes this in articulate fashion that engages, informs, and entertains without being pedantic.

Through the lens of modern cultural phenomena she lets us glimpse how the chronicle from the first chapters of Genesis touches our lives in ways we may not even be aware of.

April 2010 CHOICE
Sanders takes readers through a myriad of sources, ranging from medieval Jewish legends about Lilith to episodes of The Simpsons and movies such as Pleasantville (1998). . . . Recommended.
Sr. Rose Pacatte
Approaching Eden is a gift to anyone attempting to bring faith and life closer in a world filled with mediated stories: in this case, tales and images influenced by the Biblical creation narrative of Genesis 1-3. Sanders is fearless in her critical analysis but never cavalier. Her prose is energetic and accessible; her surveys broad and her insights bold. Sanders makes theology a pleasure while enticing the reader to deeper theological scrutiny of accepted widely-held interpretations of Genesis through representations of Adam and Eve from movies to museums. Approaching Eden is an intellectual and spiritual delight.
Relegere: Studies in Religion and Reception
Sanders's work is often fascinating and always suggestive in how it illuminates the connections between Gen 2—3 and popular cultural products.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742563339
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/16/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Theresa Sanders is associate professor of religion at Georgetown University. She is the author of Celluloid Saints.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 In the Beginning
Chapter 2 And God Said
Chapter 3 A Helper Fit for Him
Chapter 4 Fig Leaves
Chapter 5 The Curse of Adam
Chapter 6 The Curse of Eve
Chapter 7 Monkeyshines
Chapter 8 Back to Nature
Chapter 9 Paradise Regained
Chapter 10 The Final Frontier
Appendix: Additional Uses of Adam and Eve in Film

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