Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Garden of Eden or The Fall of the Hunter- Gatherers and The Rise of Agriculture

Chapter 1 it talks about humanoids erm, man, and it says that G-d said to them that they (Neanderthals/Early Humans etc.) could eat of herbage yielding seed, on the surface (tubers excluded for a reason?), every tree that has seed yielding fruit, every beast of the field, every bird in the sky, everything that moves on the earth, and every green herb is for food...  Yes, they ate meat, and lots of it. I know that some people claim, or try to claim, that they were vegetarians, but the anthropological evidence simply DOES NOT support that idea. The bones found from those time periods show clearly that they were predominately meat eaters. Also, they would have had to have a food source that was nutrient dense and had a good calorie for calorie trade off than plant food. And, they were very healthy!!  

In Ch. 2 Adam is made: Adam was the one that had the "higher soul" blown into or given to him by G-d... ergo: man became a spiritual being.  G-d, or the powers that be (Nomadic lifestyle wanderings?)  took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden, paradise, the land of all that is good. It's like one's home country where, when to hear them describe it through nostalgic memories, is the best place on earth, no place like it! Have to see it to believe it! It's almost the way people describe places today, or some place much more closer to our narrative, the way that the land of Canaan, "flowing with milk and honey" is described.  

Adam is then told that, or rather it's reiterated that he can eat of  every tree freely EXCEPT the tree of knowledge of good or bad.  G-d then performs the first surgery in history bringing about Eve or Hava.  They eat the fruit, but then the narrative says something quite out of place. While G-d is admonishing the couple in Ch. 3 verse 19, it says "by the sweat of your brow shall you eat bread until you return to the ground" No mention before of fire, or harvesting or crops, just Poof! Bread!... In other words, you are no longer a true hunter gatherer, simply put a metaphor was born, the hunter-gatherer period that had been the dominate way of life for so many generations was in transition to an agricultural based society. 

 The young couple had decided that they knew better and that they had now discovered the answers to how to run the world. In other words, the kids thought they knew better than mom and dad, and well, it was time for them to go.  Like parents all over the world, when the kids think they know everything, it's time to go find out that they don't and to make their own way.  Notice, when G-d shows them the exit, it DOES NOT say that they sinned, so I have no idea where the concept of "Original sin", and absurd concept, came from, but it was not from G-d or Adam and Eve. Also, it couldn't have been S-E-X, because G-d had already given the commandment to "Be fruitful and multiply".  It clearly says the reason for the departure is "Lest he put forth his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat and live forever!" verse 23 "So G-d banished him from the Garden of Eden".

There it is, stated clearly, they were already going to die. They were never meant to be, or going to be, immortal.  If so, why would they need to take and eat from the tree of life to live forever? 

 As the couple are making their exit, it says that Adam HAD known his wife Eve. This is interesting because it's in the past perfect sense. Cain and Abel, the two brothers, were already born before the departure from the garden... so to speak, or more metaphors...

Cain works the ground, or represents agriculture, and Abel is a shepherd (animal care). They both take an offering to G-d, and G-d being the one that shunned the agricultural move that the parents made, took a liking to the offering, or token reminder of the ways of the hunter, shown by Abel. Cain then kills Abel.

Agriculture in effect metaphorically replaces the nomadic hunter-gatherer (Never trust a vegetarian ;-) ).  Cain is "cursed" and has to wander (Serves you right hippy!) around to find a place to hide (From who?) but then says a phrase that tells us that the Adam and Eve family were not alone at all...Ch 4:14 "...Whoever meets me will kill me!" then he goes to settle in the land of Nod, east of Eden, verse 17: "Cain knew his wife", they had such an adorable little kid (a brat to the rest of the world) and "Cain became a city builder, which gives us insight that there were other people, and he named the city after his son..." People were already roaming around and settling down. Agro-business is born, and we've been screwed ever since.

So, the short version recap for my paleo-religionists is something like this:
G-d told us a long time ago, fruit √, herbs √, plants on the surface (no tubers?) √, tasty animals √ ... and the mystery plant... HMmmm, I'm guessing wheat as it mentions making bread in the next verses, BUT the conventional Jewish train of thought is that it was a fig tree.  No original sin concept found here (I think it's in the Vatican somewhere) Oh yeah, vegetarians BAD!! 


  1. Adam and Hava were vegetarians but they lived in Eden so obviously the "food" from the trees had the correct balance of whatever physicial and spiritual nutrients they needed. What was the "tree of knowledge? The Gemara in Sanhedrin brings 3 opinions - wheat, grapes, fig. "Apple" is based on mistranslation.

    Vegetarianism continued until Noah, a few (long) generations later. In Breshit 9:3 Noah and family are given permission to eat all animal meat, but not the blood thereof or while the animal is alive.

    No, I don't know why Havel was a shepherd before Noah. Perhaps just to bring offerings to Hashem?

    Recent archaology suggests "Eden" may have been a real place in SE Turkey:,news-comment,news-politics,history-in-turkey-gobekli-tepe-garden-eden-klaus-schmidt

  2. It never states that they were vegetarians. What is told to Noah is that we are not to eat the limb torn from an animal while it's alive. It doesn't say whether or not before Noah they were vegetarians. That is just speculation. Scientific evidence suggest otherwise.
    If the tree of knowledge did indeed include wheat, then it was a bad discovery to be sure.
    Since the introduction of wheat to the human diet, there has been a decrease in life span, and an incline in auto-immune diseases (Celiacs, Crohn's etc.)
    The reason for raising animals in any culture would be for food as illustrated by the carving mentioned in the article you shared showing ducks and a boar going into a net. Why trap them, especially a boar, if not for food?
    I do believe that story is a metaphor for how things changed.
    Thanks for the link! I had no idea... I had always just gone along with the tradition of Gan Eden being in southern Iraq.