Lost Book of Paradise: Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden

Lost Book of Paradise: Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden

by David Rosenberg
     
 

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The coauthor of the controversial The Book of J reimagines the story of Adam and Even, challenging traditional assumptions about the Genesis creation story with an interpretation marked by some revolutionary revisions.See more details below

Overview

The coauthor of the controversial The Book of J reimagines the story of Adam and Even, challenging traditional assumptions about the Genesis creation story with an interpretation marked by some revolutionary revisions.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Regarding this book as ``an imaginary work of scholarship'' based on the lost 11th-century B.C.E. Sefer Gan Eden , or ``Scroll of Paradise,'' Rosenberg, coauthor of The Book of J , sets out to re-create the Garden of Eden story in poetic form, and to offer two kinds of quasi-fictitious commentary on it: his own, and that of Devorah Bat-David, characterized as a scholar at the Solomonic library in Jerusalem. This ambitious literary foray into the ancient past is playful and earnest, fabulist and scholarly. Inspired by admittedly incomplete suggestions in archeological sources and Hebrew commentaries, Rosenberg challenges assumptions about the content of a legend dear to Western consciousness, about the possibilities of poetic language and about the rights of poets to recast familiar material by using the creative strengths at their disposal. The book is meant for the adventurous in mind. Rosenberg's sensuous and respectful approach to language, parallel to his approach to creation itself, is not without some interpretive mischief, which is bound to attact addmirers and detractors. For example, two snakes, not one, inhabit this garden, and Adam is seduced by the female serpent, not by Eve. Scholars, of course, are likely to return Rosenberg's challenge. He wants to cause discussion, and he will. (Sept.)
Ilene Cooper
From the coauthor of "The Book of J" (1990), which concluded that parts of the Bible were composed by a woman, comes a new interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve. It's a little hard to get your bearings here. Rosenberg is, in his words, "reimagining" an early version of the Garden of Eden story, called the "Scroll of Paradise," now lost. For some readers (and for the Library of Congress, which classifies the book as fiction), that may mean making it up. But Rosenberg, a scholar and poet, feels that much of the early poetry of the Bible has been lost through translation and that he is re-creating it, using both his knowledge as a scholar and his imagination as a poet. The source of this Book of Paradise, Rosenberg feels, is hinted at in the Song of Songs and other parts of the Bible, and there are references to it in Hebraic commentaries. Rather than simply beginning his reimagined story at the beginning, he frames it with a first-person introduction by Devorah Bat-David, the supposed original editor of the lost book, who, like J, is portrayed as a member of the court of King Rehoboam. Finally, readers come to the poem itself, a sensuous epic that depicts lonely Adam seeking Eve in the garden among the flora and the fauna, where he is seduced by Lilith, a female snake. Eve, of course, is also seduced by a snake, Samael, later Satan. Dotted with startling images and evocative word pictures, Rosenberg's language is vivid and powerful. Whatever confusion one may feel over the source of the material--Is it really a "restoration" or is it just literature with a religious theme?--the poem itself, so layered, so lush, so, well, tempting, offers much to delight in and much to ponder.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781562827595
Publisher:
Hyperion
Publication date:
09/01/1993
Pages:
192

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