Adam and Eve in Early Christian and Jewish Tradition
Tuesday 3:30 to 6:00
Mr. Gary Anderson
Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, 3rd Floor Aldermann
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.
- A. The course will presume attendance and preparation for
each and every session. During the course of the term students will be
asked to make presentations and those presentations will also be a part
of the grade. Because the course is a seminar, the major portion of the
grade will derive from the final project.
- B. In addition to the conventional seminar components of the
course, this course will also have an electronic component. Many of the
reading for the course will be posted on a WWW page. The address for
this page is posted above and the way to access it will be described
during the first meeting of the class. Students will also be expected to
prepare an electronic text for the course. In addition, if the student
wishes, a final paper can be created in a hypertext manner, linking some
portion of the life of Adam and Eve to other textual and visual
- C. Students will be asked to provide e-mail addresses so that
inter-class communications will be facilitated.
The calculation of the grade will be roughly as follows: 1. oral
presentation (20%), 2. preparation of an electronic text (20%), 3. final
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.
- M. Stone, History of the Literature of Adam and Eve
- S. Brock, trans.,St. Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns on
- "Life of Adam and Eve," (photocopied Source Book, hereafter
- Biblical and other related texts (photocopied Source Book,
4. Electronic Resources for the Course
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
A. What is Jewish Midrash?
- 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)
- Midrash Rabbah, SB
- Targum Neofiti, SB
- b. Pesahim 118a, SB
B. Who is St. Ephrem?
- Hymns, 7-76, Hymns 1-3, 13 and entire prose commentary
- section from Ephrem in SB.
2/7 Penitence after Expulsion
A. What is the Vita?
- Read entire story in Armenian version.
- Vita, pericopes 2,4, 6
- Anderson, "The Penitence Narrative. . ." (Clemons)
- Stone,History, chapters 1 and 2.
B. Biblical texts on the Fall of Satan
2/14 The Fall of Satan
A. Vita Material
- Vita, 5, 18
- Anderson, "The Exaltation of Adam. . ." (Clemons)
- Stone, "The Fall of Satan. . ." (Clemons)
B. Biblical Texts on Adam's Contract
- Romans 5:12-21; Colossians 2:13-15
- Chrysostum's commentary on Romans and Colossians
2/21 The Cheirograph
A. Vita Material
- Vita, 2
B. Quest of Seth
- Vita, 12-15
2/28 The Quest of Seth
A. Medieval Developments
- Quinn, The Quest of Seth (Clemons)
B. Descent of Christ into Hades
- Gospel of Nicodemus, SB
3/5 The Garments of Glory
- Vita, 10 , 22
- S. Brock, "Clothing Metaphors. . ." (Clemons)
- B. Murdoch, "The Garments of Paradise"(Clemons)
- J. Smith, "The Garments of Shame"(Clemons)
- H. Maguire, "Adam and the Animals"(Clemons)
4/2 and beyond: Presentations. Pay attention to WWW Home Page for
5. Student Roster
- Berger, Ami (alb2v)
- Gardiner, Margaret (meg4m)
- Marder, Robyn (rlm5w)
- Rasnic, Scott (rsr4t)
- Aiken, Christopher (cba4m)
- Cheshire, Diane (dec3x)
- Geismar, Amy (aeg2e)
- Graham, Kristin (keg4k)
- Groome, Carol (csg4f)
- Prosise, Kara (kap4y)
- Rausch, Tallison (thr6q)
- Ravenell, William (wsr2x)
- Sachs, Amanda (ahs2y)