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when adam and eve ate the fruit?

3 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

This month marks 350 years since John Milton sold his publisher the copyright of Paradise Lost for the sum of five pounds.

His great work dramatizes the oldest story in the Bible, whose principal characters we know only too well: God, Adam, Eve, Satan in the form of a talking snake — and an apple.

Except, of course, that Genesis never names the apple but simply refers to "the fruit." To quote from the King James Bible:

"Fruit" is also the word Milton employs in the poem's sonorous opening lines:

But in the course of his over-10,000-line poem, Milton names the fruit twice, explicitly calling it an apple. So how did the apple become the guilty fruit that brought death into this world and all our woe?

The short and unexpected answer is: a Latin pun.

In order to explain, we have to go all the way back to the fourth century A.D., when Pope Damasus ordered his leading scholar of scripture, Jerome, to translate the Hebrew Bible into Latin. Jerome's path-breaking, 15-year project, which resulted in the canonical Vulgate, used the Latin spoken by the common man. As it turned out, the Latin words for evil and apple are the same: malus.

In the Hebrew Bible, a generic term, peri, is used for the fruit hanging from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, explains Robert Appelbaum, who discusses the biblical provenance of the apple in his book Aguecheek's Beef, Belch's Hiccup, and Other Gastronomic Interjections.

"Peri could be absolutely any fruit," he says. "Rabbinic commentators variously characterized it as a fig, a pomegranate, a grape, an apricot, a citron, or even wheat. Some commentators even thought of the forbidden fruit as a kind of wine, intoxicating to drink."

When Jerome was translating the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil," the word malus snaked in. A brilliant but controversial theologian, Jerome was known for his hot temper, but he obviously also had a rather cool sense of humor.

"Jerome had several options," says Appelbaum, a professor of English literature at Sweden's Uppsala University. "But he hit upon the idea of translating peri as malus, which in Latin has two very different meanings. As an adjective, malus means bad or evil. As a noun it seems to mean an apple, in our own sense of the word, coming from the very common tree now known officially as the Malus pumila. So Jerome came up with a very good pun."

The story doesn't end there. "To complicate things even more," says Appelbaum, "the word malus in Jerome's time, and for a long time after, could refer to any fleshy seed-bearing fruit. A pear was a kind of malus. So was the fig, the peach, and so forth."

Which explains why Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel fresco features a serpent coiled around a fig tree. But the apple began to dominate Fall artworks in Europe after the German artist Albrecht Dürer's famous 1504 engraving depicted the First Couple counterpoised beside an apple tree. It became a template for future artists such as Lucas Cranach the Elder, whose luminous Adam and Eve painting is hung with apples that glow like rubies.

Milton, then, was only following cultural tradition. But he was a renowned Cambridge intellectual fluent in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, who served as secretary for foreign tongues to Oliver Cromwell during the Commonwealth. If anyone was aware of the malus pun, it would be him. And yet he chose to run it with it. Why?

Appelbaum says that Milton's use of the term "apple" was ambiguous. "Even in Milton's time the word had two meanings: either what was our common apple, or, again, any fleshy seed-bearing fruit. Milton probably had in mind an ambiguously named object with a variety of connotations as well as denotations, most but not all of them associating the idea of the apple with a kind of innocence, though also with a kind of intoxication, since hard apple cider was a common English drink."

It was only later readers of Milton, says Appelbaum, who thought of "apple" as "apple" and not any seed-bearing fruit. For them, the forbidden fruit became synonymous with the malus pumila. As a widely read canonical work, Paradise Lost was influential in cementing the role of apple in the Fall story.

But whether the forbidden fruit was an apple, fig, peach, pomegranate or something completely different, it is worth revisiting the temptation scene in Book 9 of Paradise Lost, both as an homage to Milton (who composed his masterpiece when he was blind, impoverished and in the doghouse for his regicidal politics) and simply to savor the sublime beauty of the language. Thomas Jefferson loved this poem. With its superfood dietary advice, celebration of the 'self-help is the best help' ideal, and presence of a snake-oil salesman, Paradise Lost is a quintessentially American story, although composed more than a century before the United States was founded.

What makes the temptation scene so absorbing and enjoyable is that, although written in archaic English, it is speckled with mundane details that make the reader stop in surprise.

Take, for instance, the serpent's impeccably timed gustatory seduction. It takes place not at any old time of the day but at lunchtime:

What a canny and charmingly human detail. Milton builds on it by lingeringly conjuring the aroma of apples, knowing full well that an "ambrosial smell" can madden an empty stomach to action. The fruit's "savorie odour," rhapsodizes the snake, is more pleasing to the senses than the scent of the teats of an ewe or goat dropping with unsuckled milk at evening. Today's Food Network impresarios, with their overblown praise and frantic similes, couldn't dream up anything close to that peculiarly sensuous comparison.

It is easy to imagine the scene. Eve, curious, credulous and peckish, gazes longingly at the contraband "Ruddie and Gold" fruit while the unctuous snake-oil salesman murmurs his encouragement. Initially, she hangs back, suspicious of his "overpraising." But soon she begins to cave: How can a fruit so "Fair to the Eye, inviting to the Taste," be evil? Surely it is the opposite, its "sciental sap" must be the source of divine knowledge. The serpent must speak true.

Martins Dominik
Answer # 2 #

The poverty and lack in our world began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit . The fruit, which grew on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was the catalyst for the fall of man — when original sin entered creation and led to the reality we face every day.

Masakazu Herrera
Natural Science
Answer # 3 #

Forbidden fruit is a name given to the fruit growing in the Garden of Eden which God commands mankind not to eat. In the biblical story, Adam and Eve eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and are exiled from Eden.

As a metaphor outside of the Abrahamic religions, the phrase typically refers to any indulgence or pleasure that is considered illegal or immoral.

The story of the Book of Genesis places the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, where they may eat the fruit of many trees, but are forbidden by God to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

In Genesis 3, a serpent tempts the woman:

Desiring this knowledge, the woman eats the forbidden fruit and gives some to the man, who also eats it. They become aware of their "nakedness" and make fig-leaf clothes, and hide themselves when God approaches. When confronted, Adam tells God that Eve gave him the fruit to eat, and Eve tells God that the serpent deceived her into eating it. God then curses the serpent, the woman, then the man, and expels the man and woman from the Garden before they ate of the tree of eternal life.

According to the Quran, Surah Al-A'raf 7:19 describes Adam and his wife in Paradise where they may eat what is provided, except for one Tree they must not eat from, lest they be considered Ẓālimūn (Arabic: ظالمون; wrongdoers).

Surah Al-A'raf 7:20–22 describes Shaitan (Arabic: شيطان), who whispers to Adam and his wife and deceives them. When they taste of the tree, their shame becomes manifest to them and they begin to cover themselves with leaves.

A Gnostic interpretation of the story proposes that it was the archons who created Adam and attempted to prevent him from eating the forbidden fruit in order to keep him in a state of ignorance, after the spiritual form of Eve entered the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil while leaving a physical version of herself with Adam once she awakened him. But the forces of the heavenly realm (Pleroma) send the serpent as a representative of the divine sphere to reveal to Adam and Eve the evil intentions of their creators. The serpent succeeds in convincing them to eat the fruit and become like gods, capable of distinguishing between good and evil.

The word fruit appears in Hebrew as פֶּ֫רִי (pərî ). As to which fruit may have been the forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden, possibilities include apple, grape, pomegranate, fig, carob, etrog or citron, pear, quince, and mushrooms. The pseudepigraphic Book of Enoch describes the tree of knowledge: "It was like a species of the Tamarind tree, bearing fruit which resembled grapes extremely fine; and its fragrance extended to a considerable distance. I exclaimed, How beautiful is this tree, and how delightful is its appearance!" (1 Enoch 31:4).

In Islamic tradition, the fruit is commonly either identified with wheat or with grapevine.

In Western Europe, the fruit was often depicted as an apple. This was possibly because of a misunderstanding of – or a pun on – two unrelated words mălum, a native Latin noun which means evil (from the adjective malus), and mālum, another Latin noun, borrowed from Greek μῆλον, which means apple. In the Vulgate, Genesis 2:17 describes the tree as de ligno autem scientiae boni et mali : "but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil" (mali here is the genitive of malum). According to the Bible, there is nothing to show the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge was necessarily an apple.

The larynx, specifically the laryngeal prominence that joins the thyroid cartilage, in the human throat is noticeably more prominent in males and was consequently called an Adam's apple, from a notion that it was caused by the forbidden fruit getting stuck in Adam's throat as he swallowed it.

Rabbi Meir says that the fruit was a grape, made into wine. The Zohar explains similarly that Noah attempted (but failed) to rectify the sin of Adam by using grape wine for holy purposes. The midrash of Bereishit Rabah states that the fruit was grape, or squeezed grapes (perhaps alluding to wine). Chapter 4 of 3 Baruch, also known as the Greek Apocalypse of Baruch, designates the fruit as the grape. 3 Baruch is a first to third century text that is either Christian or Jewish with Christian interpolations.

The Bible states in the book of Genesis that Adam and Eve had made their own fig leaf clothing: "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves girdles". Rabbi Nehemiah Hayyun supports the idea that the fruit was a fig, as it was from fig leaves that God made garments for Adam and Eve upon expelling them from the Garden. "By that with which they were made low were they rectified." Since the fig is a long-standing symbol of female sexuality, it enjoyed a run as a favorite understudy to the apple as the forbidden fruit during the Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo Buonarroti depicting it as such in his masterpiece fresco on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Proponents of the theory that the Garden of Eden was located somewhere in what is now known as the Middle East suggest that the fruit was actually a pomegranate, a plant indigenous from Iran to the Himalayas and cultivated since ancient times. The association of the pomegranate with knowledge of the underworld as provided in the Ancient Greek legend of Persephone may also have given rise to an association with knowledge of the otherworld, tying-in with knowledge that is forbidden to mortals. Also, it is believed Hades offered Persephone a pomegranate to force her to stay with him in the underworld. Hades is the Greek god of the underworld and the Bible states that whoever eats the forbidden fruit shall die.

Rabbi Yehuda proposes that the fruit was wheat, because "a baby does not know to call its mother and father until it tastes the taste of grain."

In Hebrew, wheat is "khitah", which has been considered to be a pun on "khet", meaning "sin".

Although commonly confused with a seed, in the study of botany a wheat berry is technically a simple fruit known as a caryopsis, which has the same structure as an apple. Just as an apple is a fleshy fruit that contains seeds, a grain is a dry fruit that absorbs water and contains a seed. The confusion comes from the fact that the fruit of a grass happens to have a form similar to some seeds.

A fresco in the 13th-century Plaincourault Abbey in France depicts Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, flanking a Tree of Knowledge that has the appearance of a gigantic Amanita muscaria, a psychoactive mushroom. Terence McKenna proposed that the forbidden fruit was a reference to psychotropic plants and fungi, specifically psilocybin mushrooms, which he theorized played a central role in the evolution of the human brain. Earlier, in a well-documented but heavily criticized study, John M. Allegro proposed the mushroom as the forbidden fruit.

Several proponents of the theory exist dating from the thirteenth century. In Nathan HaMe’ati's 13th century translation of Maimonides's work The Medical Aphorisms of Moses, the banana is called the "apple of eden". In the sixteenth century, Menahem Lonzano considered it common knowledge in Syria and Egypt that the banana was the apple of Eden.

Charles George Gordon identified the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge with the coco de mer.

The similarities of the story to the story of Pandora's box were identified by early Christians such as Tertullian, Origen, and Gregory of Nazianzus.

Mika Gielgud
Structure Maintainer