Adam and Eve in Early Christian and Jewish Tradition

REL 378/528
Tuesday 3:30 to 6:00

Mr. Gary Anderson
Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, 3rd Floor Aldermann Library
Office Hours: Tuesday 1-3 p.m. and by appointment

1. Purpose of the Course:

The Story of Adam and Eve is one of the most richly commented upon narratives in Western Culture. The story has received interpretive elaboration in a wide variety of different literary genres and other artistic media. One thinks of the vast amount of commentaries which are devoted to the two chapters in Genesis about these figures and the even more elaborate treatment of Adam and Eve in various retellings of the story, from the earliest Apocryphal materials up to the last grand synthesis, that of Milton's Paradise Lost. In this course we plan to examine how the story of Adam and Eve has been understood across several of these different types of genres. In the main our interest will be in the Apocryphal story, "The Life of Adam and Eve." But in examining the story line of this very popular and widespread tale we will make ample opportunity to see how the interpretive issues raised by this book are treated in the more conventional commentary genre and in the visual arts.

2. Requirements:

The calculation of the grade will be roughly as follows: 1. oral presentation (20%), 2. preparation of an electronic text (20%), 3. final paper (60%).

3. Texts for the Course

In addition, it is highly recommended that the student, en course, consult U.Cassuto Commentary on Genesis 1. This book has been ordered for the Bookstore. It is also available on Two-Hour loan from Clemons Library.

4. Electronic Resources for the Course

5. Syllabus

1/24 Introduction: What is the Bible?
A. The Bibles of the Ancient World
B. Electronic Texts.

1/31 Traditional Biblical Interpretation: The Geography of Eden
A. What is Jewish Midrash?
  1. Kugel, "Two Introductions to Midrash" (Clemons)
    (as you read the following sources pay careful attention to details about the geography of Eden and development of agriculture)
  2. Midrash Rabbah, SB
  3. Targum Neofiti, SB
  4. b. Pesahim 118a, SB
B. Who is St. Ephrem?
  1. Hymns, 7-76, Hymns 1-3, 13 and entire prose commentary
  2. section from Ephrem in SB.

2/7 Penitence after Expulsion
A. What is the Vita?
  1. Read entire story in Armenian version.
  2. Vita, pericopes 2,4, 6
  3. Anderson, "The Penitence Narrative. . ." (Clemons)
  4. Stone,History, chapters 1 and 2.
B. Biblical texts on the Fall of Satan

2/14 The Fall of Satan
A. Vita Material
  1. Vita, 5, 18
  2. Anderson, "The Exaltation of Adam. . ." (Clemons)
  3. Stone, "The Fall of Satan. . ." (Clemons)

B. Biblical Texts on Adam's Contract
  1. Romans 5:12-21; Colossians 2:13-15
  2. Chrysostum's commentary on Romans and Colossians

2/21 The Cheirograph
A. Vita Material
  1. Vita, 2
B. Quest of Seth
  1. Vita, 12-15

2/28 The Quest of Seth
A. Medieval Developments
  1. Quinn, The Quest of Seth (Clemons)

B. Descent of Christ into Hades
  1. Gospel of Nicodemus, SB

3/5 The Garments of Glory
  1. Vita, 10 , 22
  2. S. Brock, "Clothing Metaphors. . ." (Clemons)
  3. B. Murdoch, "The Garments of Paradise"(Clemons)
  4. J. Smith, "The Garments of Shame"(Clemons)
  5. H. Maguire, "Adam and the Animals"(Clemons)

4/2 and beyond: Presentations. Pay attention to WWW Home Page for further instructions.

5. Student Roster