The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Lunchtime Lecture with Bruce Wells

Thu, September 19, 2019 | Batts 5.108

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

Professor Wells of the Department of Middle Eastern Studies will be speaking on the topic: “Did God Lie to Adam? A New Look at the Background to the Garden of Eden Story"

When Yahweh tells Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge or else he will die, is Yahweh being truthful? After eating from the tree, Adam and Eve do not physically die—at least not right away. Because of this, some scholars have suggested that the death referred to by Yahweh is the loss of immortality or spiritual death or some other sort of metaphorical death such as severe suffering. This talk will look at Yahweh’s statement to Adam and compare it to commands that were issued by Babylonian temple officials to their staff. A number of temple archives record orders for one or more individuals to tend and guard temple gardens, using language similar to that of Genesis 2–3. The talk will examine how these records can inform our understanding of the Eden story and shed light on the nature of the command and death threat that Yahweh issues to Adam.

Please RSVP to to reserve your spot. Lunch will be served beginning at noon, with the talk starting at 12:30.

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