the snake & the apple , (Hesiod)

Discussion in 'Graeco-Roman' started by salishan, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    En To Pan: The phrase "en to pan" is Greek for "All is One" written in conjunction to the Serpent/Ouroboros.

    Here lies the Truth and basis behind the metaphor between Adam/Eve and the Serpent from a Left Hand Path/Luciferian understanding.

    There are connections between everything, the small is mirrored in the great as the altruistic philosophy of Hermetics defines. The divine light remains in man and nature, Monotheism is where the divine becomes separate from its Creation.

    Monotheism states that there is One God. The Creator of the Universe. This God is completely separate from the world we live in. This God is All Powerful and All Good. Yet it is this god which decides what is good and thus powerful. It is this god that rules with guilt and fear, that rules with the repression of the female. This god demands total obedience and submission, surrender of the Ego (our balance between primal/animal urges & infatuated Ego). Man must be kept in the Dark. This God is a jealous god, and does not tolerate any equals.

    The divine is separate from matter, nature, soul, and spirit. Monotheism is materialism. It teaches dominance over a soul-less nature. Nature and animal were created for man's use.

    The Black Adept views Man as an animal and a part of nature. Man can become a god by divorcing himself of these limitations and separating from the material, and embracing the idea of the Beast.

    This is the Knowledge which God vehemently tried to suppress . . . and failed.
     
  2. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Greetings Thomas! I trust you are well.

    I agree that is a bit of a conundrum, certainly there are evidences of religious activity prior to the agrarian revolution. I don't think reasoning was "created" at the time noted by the Genesis Garden story, rather I think it marked an explosion of reasoning capacity...reasoning was taken to a much higher level. This deals with the dawning of written language, the cusp of the beginning of recorded history....and all that that entails.
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi juantoo3, long time no speak!

    How do you account for the negative effect?

    God says 'do this and a bad thing will happen' — and, to wax lyrical, lo, it came to pass!

    I mean, if we view the eating of the fruit as an explosion of reasoning capacity, it's still presented as a bad thing and an offence against both oneself and God, and I don't see that at all?

    We tend to view it as a failure of reason: "God said don't do it, and you did it? Are you out of your mind?" — that kind of thing.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  4. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Well, yes, if the text is isolated by itself out of the wider context...but then we also have a talking snake to contend with.

    I accept that in the Christian tradition (and likely the Jewish and Muslim) Adam and Eve were two distinct "real" people, and perhaps they were...but they were not the only ones there, and there are alternate readings of the text (in particular the Jewish readings) that do allow for other people to be present during the same time, *outside* of the Garden.

    I still think the Garden story marks the passage from the innocence of ignorance, into an era or age of accountability borne of the "knowledge of good and evil."

    In some sense others here are correct, the act of being naked wasn't sinful...but the knowledge of being naked *became* shameful because Adam and Eve *became* aware. There is considerably more to the story, and this is the family friendly condensed version, but it is still the essense.

    And in a wider historical context this awareness would have taken place during the agricultural revolution.
     
  5. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    This is actually a crucial point, and what I saw in this thread prior to jumping in amounted to duelling mythos, each trying to lay claim or precedent on the Eden story. Whereas I attempted to present from a more neutral place and consider the matter in the context of the whole. But anytime religion and science conflict the two sides talk past each other. And anytime two religions conflict it becomes a battle of wills.
     
  6. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    ...except of the tree of knowledge...

    My point in quoting is that Adam was created as a gardener, to till the soil. Why was a gardener created if men already farmed? What significance is the knowledge of farming if such is already common knowledge? All the more reason I see this as pointing to the ag. revolution. That period was already past tense when the story was written, and even in the most traditional Christian and Jewish teachings Genesis was written by Moses quite a while after the fact...and clearly it is not a historical text, so there is some artistic liberty to be allowed.
     
  7. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi juantoo3 —
    I think you're trying to locate the mythological 'events' within an evolutionary historical process, no bad thing in itself, but I would argue that the authors were addressing a philosophical problem: Why is there suffering? But then maybe, it suddenly occurs, you see more in the historical process than I do ... so this is not so much an argument as a question?

    Take the Biblical Flood and compare it to the Epic of Gilgamesh. The view of the gods is radically different: in the Epic the gods are craven, creaturely, and (much like the gods everywhere) seem more prone to vice than the poor humans they torture. They're dependent upon man for sustenance (something they didn't realise until they's almost wiped man out) and when man builds an altar, the descend like ravening vultures ... but the whole Epic is about the quest for immortality, which, in the end, fails.

    The Biblical Flood is presented as an event not because the gods found man noise-some and a nuisance, but because of moral failure. The metaphysics of Scripture is superior to the Epic to the nth degree.

    On my theology course, there was of course mention of the woman who's dna we all carry, although no-one went so far as to say her name was Eve.

    There is also the question that science would argue that the appearance of a new species in more than one place is statistically highly unlikely, and then we have our 'man' (what's the proper name?) alongside Neanderthal man ... so we were looking at the emergence from a phylum group? I don't know, I need more data!

    One lecturer looked to the explosion of art around the pre-historic world — suddenly, it seems from archeological finds, man everywhere was creating art — and he points to that as a turning moment.

    So we could discuss around the same lines, although I'm way short of you on the timeline details, but there is the view, as you have put forward, that we're talking about an evolutionary 'tipping point' as it were.

    I think your point about a step-change in 'reasoning' is right on the mark.

    I agree.

    I agree — but I would wave the flag and say the nakedness is a moral dimension.

    I think the idea as the serpent being 'good' and representing 'wisdom' in the face of a 'bad god' who wanted to keep man in ignorance is untenable if you read and contemplate the text. It's a very modern notion founded on anti-authoritarianism as much as anything. It would be alien to the scribe of the time. And it inverts the message of the text, which says something in itself.

    To me it's all about Israel's struggle to understand the world and themselves. If God does exist, if there is just one God, and if that one God is good (these were the issues the Greek philosophers were contending with, as was Asia and the Orient), then why is there suffering? Why is there evil?

    I think these are the questions the text addresses. What the symbolism means is subsequent to that. I think most people fail to see beyond the symbol, or reduce it to the mundane, like sex or something.

    Then again, there is the deeper thread, in Christianity, that there was a 'pre-flesh humanity', but that would be necessary for people who saw the world in a roughly Platonic fashion, the procession from high to low, etc.

    I've got an old copy of New Scientist somewhere which discusses that temple site found in Turkey, reckoned to be one of the earliest? Part of the review suggested that temple worship kick-started the agricultural revolution by creating a need to feed a large gathering of people. Apparently there's evidence of early farming around the temple site ... small family-oriented units would not (apparently) need to farm on an organised pattern, but feeding large groups of people creates different needs.

    I also recall that the appearance of common 'bread wheat' (I'm really fumbling in the dark here, through memories in a very dusty cupboard) was the happy cross-pollination (?) of two strains that created a plant with a loaded seed-head, and yet the seeds were accessible. Apparently early strains were one or t'other — seeds easily got at, but they fall off the stalk so tend to be lost when harvesting, or seeds requiring a blow-torch to access! Then a strain appeared in the Mesopotamian Basin that had a full seed head that could be harvested with little loss, but separated quite easily on the threshing-room floor ...

    ... don't know if any of this is grist to your mill. Probably not.

    Anyway — nice to catch up again ...

    God bless

    Thomas
     
  8. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Quite. I see it as man participating in God's dominion — it's a moral and metaphysical proposition.

    In Neoplatonism there is the principle of exitus and reditus — Creation is the going out from God, from the divine to the material; then there is the return, in which man is the highpoint, not only orchestrating nature towards that end, but in that all nature is summed up in man.

    God bless

    Thomas
     
  9. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    You are quite correct...and as usual my view has more to do with questions as well. It seems to me that a culture's "mythos" are built in and around familiar settings, and use familar characters/heroes to set up and deliver the punchlines. Even if, as tradition states, it was Moses who compiled the book of Genesis some 1500 or more years after the supposed fact, one would presume there was some cultural memory (oral history perhaps?) that hearkened back to the time of the Garden. In any event, the ag. revolution was still fresh enough in the minds of all the cultures in the region to have some echoing significance.

    Absolutely.


    Mitochondrial Eve. Essentially mother to mother to mother all the way back.

    There is also a Y-chromosomal Adam. Father to father to father all the way back.

    But you're quite right...this isn't typically discussed using these terms, and when it is discussed it is typically in the context of "bottleneck with founder effect."

    From the latest I've been able to glean, Neandertal has now been discounted as a modern-human ancestor, Neandertal is now considered a separate branch that died out...although a great deal of question remains as to why they died out. Neandertal and Cro-Magnon (ancestor to modern-humans) both are considered to have come from a yet earlier proto-human source, and while the child of Lapedo does create some uncomfortable questions, it does clearly show that Neandertal and Cro-Magnon could interbreed.

    Throw in the Flores Hobbit and "human" kind is a bit more diverse than we like to give credit.

    My own questions on this revolve around the anatomical differences between East and West. The anatomy of Asian peoples is sufficiently different that if examined side by side in a lab as is typical with ancient anthropological finds, the researchers would likely conclude a different "species" or at least "sub-species." So you are quite right, it is a bit hard to believe that humans could spring up independently in multiple places. Last I heard the three oldest human cultures were the Bushmen in sub-Saharan Africa, the Ainu of the northern Japanese Islands, and the Laplanders of northern Europe. I know there is a fellow, Spencer Wells?, who is working on a genetic map to attempt to trace the genetic ancestry, but I haven't heard the conclusion yet.

    To say art "exploded" I guess is a bit dramatic, but no less than I use regarding the ag. revolution. But I do see the ag. revolution taking place in less than a thousand years, where art has a bit broader range of development. And then, what is "art?"

    Examples of the use of red ochre are widespread and date back almost 100 thousand years. Pierced shells, thought to be used as a necklace or other body ornament have been found in South Africa dating back almost 100 thousand years. Is body paint and ornaments considered art? The more pressing question for me is "why?" Did they paint their bodies and decorate their bodies solely and only for the aesthetic reasons, or is there a deeper reason for doing so?

    Neandertal had art as well...it is not considered to be as well developed, but there are some amazing complex geometric patterns carved on stones and on cave walls. The patterns are remarkable for accuracy especially if they didn't have tools like squares and compasses. Neandertal art is not like that of the Cro-Magnons, it is distinct. What that means regarding any differences in how each brain worked is wide open to debate.

    I don't disagree at face value. The only exception I can think of is how far one will go to equate "serpent" with "dragon." Both have negative connotations in the Abrahamic faiths, but the dragon in particular is a wisdom symbol in many of the eastern cultures.

    Absolutely. I think these questions still resonate today.

    LOL. I see your point.

    Well now, to be quite honest you are the first person I've discussed this with from a "Christian" perspective that was even willing to entertain the thought. Frankly, in my experience Christians plug their ears and look the other way rather than try to place these matters into a context. And the thought of having ancestors far more ancient than Eden is just downright disturbing and upsets a lot of cherished applecarts.

    I can see now I may have misread your quote...if by "pre-flesh" you meant something like "spirit bodied" humans living in some astral alternative existence. I do think that is a default "go to" place rather than considering what I had just mentioned.

    I think I know what site you are speaking of...the name escapes me at this moment. I don't know that I agree with that summation. For one, its really hard to know what took place, what happened first, etc. There's no written records I'm aware of. It also seems to presume the temple was first, and that a large number of people decided it was a good idea to mill about the place. It takes awhile to grow a crop to harvest...

    I can only conjecture, but going by just this you stated, I would be inclined to think the garden came first, and the temple was then built either to commemorate or otherwise consecrate the place. Then you have something there to feed those people milling about, and an incentive and inducement to hang around. Göbekli Tepe, is that the name of the place?

    A bit outside my understanding, but I do recall reading years ago of some wheat retrieved from an Egyptian tomb that was still viable. A quick check says it might be what is called Khorasan wheat, but I really don't know. I do recall reading that besides being still viable after 4000 years, that it was used to hybridize into some of the modern strains of wheat grown today. But yeah, Mesopotamia seems to be where grain cultivation took off...but then we're still stuck trying to fit Asians into the equation. I haven't been able to find any source material in English that describes prehistoric Neolithic development in Asia.

    Thank you Thomas! And G-d bless you as well! (I'm certain He does!)
     
  10. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Ah, so the teleological argument has Neoplatonism to blame?

    I've often been scolded for reverting to antiquated teleological arguments that were popular 30 or so years ago.
     
  11. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    In India, serpents (Vasuki being their king) and cobras (Sheshanaga being their king who makes a couch with its coils for Lord Vishnu to recline and adornment of Lord Shiva) are never devious and always respected. Lakshaman, younger brother of Lord Rama and Balarama, the elder brother of Lord Krishna, are supposed to be incarnations of Sheshanaga. They are supposed to be sons of primordial sage Kashyapa and his wife, Kadru, one of the daughter of the hindu Adam, Daksha Prajapati. Hindus are not expected to kill any snake or cobra.
     
  12. donnann

    donnann Active Member

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    The serpent and the apple are symbolic. In the beginning the human population consisted of pairs that were literally one being.
    But for Adam[f] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
    Sounds like cloning but opposite sex doesnt it.

    The serpent is a sexual symbol. Since each male and female pair were two who were literally one being sex outside the pairs caused a split. They were immortal and that split made the human community mortal. The temptation of eating the forbidden fruit was adultery. The story of solomon and the two women claiming a child as belonging to each of them is a key to this fact. Splitting the child in two would kill the child so the woman who didnt want to do this was said to be the true mother. Splitting the male and female in the beginning was splitting the human child of god in two because the two were one being and that caused death and mortality.
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    No it's not, it's just modern man is infatuated by sex.

    That doesn't even make sense.

    There wasn't marriage then. There wasn't post-Victorian notions of sex. 'Adultery' is a sin born out of societal living and, the focus is on power and ownership ...

    ... the sin in the Garden was pride. Pride is far more dangerous than a bit of nookie.
     
  14. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    You'll find your origins of the serpent and the apple in Sumerian cosmology.

    The Hebrews recast earlier motifs appearing in Mesopotamian myths. Eden's garden is understood to be a recast of the gods' city-gardens in the Sumerian Edin, the floodplain of Lower Mesopotamia.

    Eden's Serpent is also a recast of several Mesopotamian gods bearing the Sumerian epithet
    ushumgal (ushum = "serpent", gal = "great") known as Enki. The apple is
    from the Great Apple Tree within Edin and was the tree of the Lord of Edin, Dumuzid, the husband of Inanna.

     
  15. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Do all of you out there read this thread as literally as donnann ("the serpent is a sexual symbol") or etu malku ("Eden's Serpent is also a recast of several Mesopotamian gods bearing the Sumerian epithet ushumgal... The apple is from the Great Apple Tree within Edin and was the tree of the Lord of Edin, Dumuzid, the husband of Inanna")?

    Do any of you out there really grok either literalism? Or do you rather beluieve that the story is eternally important metaphor?
     
  16. donnann

    donnann Active Member

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    Actually the original fruit was said to be a pomegranate not an apple. The serpent was in the account of the fall the tempter of adam and eve. In the beginning there was a whole human community not just two. Adultry among that community caused the fall. The loss of paradise. The loss of being immortals. The serpent represents sex but the temptation was going outside that paired oneness which caused the split of each male and female entity. The story of solomon and the two women who claimed to be the mother is a good example of this truth. Solomon said he could split the child in two. The mother who was ok with that was shown to not be the true mother of the child. The true mother would rather give that child up than see it die. The human child was as I have stated many times two that were also one as well as being three all making up one immortal entity called human.
     
  17. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    Well, my coinciding the Judeo-Christian story with its older Sumerian story shows exactly this! That it is indeed a metaphorical, mythological story . . . did you think that I believed either tale? :cool:
     
  18. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Sorry, it seemed a little literal to me. Peace.
     
  19. moonbeam

    moonbeam New Member

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    Genesis 2 IS clear about what type of "reptile or amphibian" the serpent is - it is a serpent, which is another word for snake. That is why it came to be depicted as a snake in later art. Any misunderstandings about this can be cleared up in Genesis 3, in which God curses the serpent to slither on its belly forever afterward. Snakes are the only reptiles and/or amphibians that have no legs and slither on their bellies, thus it clearly was some type of snake (unless it was some animal that is now extinct).

    Now, what serpents were like before they became the creatures we know as snakes... that is a very interesting question that could take people lots of different places in debate.

    But the fact that the text is clearly talking about snakes is fairly obvious, so there is no mystery there.

    As for the apple - why an apple? I have no idea. I suspect that some artist at some point simply painted an apple, and everyone else thought it looked good and started to copy until it was the convention.

    Although your mention of the golden apples of the Hesperides is worthy of note. There are similarities, and it is possible that whatever artist started painting Eden's forbidden fruit as apples was inspired by this, especially since the Renaissance period was quite interested in Classical literature and mythology. If this is the case, though, I personally think it would have been more along the lines of some artist thinking, "Oh hey, these golden apples would look lovely in a painting... I'll use apples!" I don't think there was any deeper meaning to it other than artistic license and aesthetics.

    I had a Sunday School teacher once tell us that his personal belief was that the fruit was actually a grape - to which I immediately said, "Grapes don't grow on trees." This was exactly his point. He believed that since God cursed the serpent, he must have cursed the tree as well - causing grapes to no longer be grown on real trees, but to slither up from the earth as vines. An interesting view, certainly, but nowhere is that view supported or even hinted at in scripture. So - your mileage may vary, and I personally don't buy the grape theory.

    It's just as likely that whatever type of fruit was actually meant by the original author no longer exists, because plant species become extinct just as surely as animals do.

    For that matter - were apples commonly grown in the middle east at the time of the writing of Genesis? I honestly don't know the answer to this question, so anyone who knows about ancient fruit growth would be helpful here. :) My gut says that if apples weren't commonly grown in the region where Genesis was written at the time that Genesis was written, then the author could not possibly have been talking about apples. He would have meant a fruit that he knew of or some type of mystery fruit of which even he was unaware (which could be why he only mentioned fruit, not what type).

    I wonder when apples began to be cultivated in ancient Greece? Certainly before that lovely poem you mentioned was written... I may have to look up the domestication of the apple tree now. :)
     
  20. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    The most probable candidate is dates, grows on a tree, and a darling of people of that region. Otherwise
    Figs, Grapes, or Olives (common fruits if Iraq, if Eden was somewhere there). That also resolves the fig-leaf incident (it could not have been a leaf of the date-palm. Or did they weave date-palm leave stripes to make a skirt).
     

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