Myth-Folklore Unit: Adam and Eve

Overview. This reading unit starts by reviewing the story of Adam and Eve as told in the Biblical book of Genesis, and then you will get to see how different storytellers over the centuries have filled in the gaps and also expanded on that story. In the stories from The Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg, you will learn more about Adam and Eve's life in Paradise, including the fall of Satan and also the legend of Adam's first wife, Lilith. Then, in "The First Book of Adam and Eve" (a medieval Christian text, from The Forgotten Books of Eden anthology), you will read about the trials and tribulations that Adam and Eve faced when they left the Garden of Eden and entered into the "Cave of Treasures" which God prepared for them to alleviate their punishment.

Language. This unit consists of three very different types of material, so make sure you check out a few paragraphs from each section to see what you think. The Genesis pages come from the King James Version of the Bible (although you can choose to read a different Bible translation if you want). Next come the Jewish legends collected by Louis Ginzberg and retold in contemporary English; these should not pose any real problem. Finally, there is a modern English translation of the ancient Syriac Book of Adam and Eve.

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below, and you can also use this link to see the story posts displayed on two pages total: Adam and Eve. Click "Older Posts" at the bottom of that page to see the second page.

Notes. This unit does not have notes on every page yet, so please feel free to ask questions if something is not clear — and your questions will help me write better notes, too! You can ask your question by leaving a comment, just like at any other blog. You can also rate each page with the star ratings checkbox at the bottom of each post. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated!

Connecting Units. If you are interested in this topic, I strongly recommend the Folklore of the Holy Land unit coming up in the Middle East module, which features Jewish, Christian and Islamic folklore, centered on the city of Jerusalem.

Read More. In this unit, you read only part of Ginzberg's amazing (and enormous!) study of Jewish folklore and the Bible. If you want to read the whole book, you can find it online in various formats: The Legends of the Jews. There is also much more to read in the "Book of Adam and Eve," which you can read online as part of The Forgotten Books of Eden.

Additional Resources. You can find a good overview of extra-Biblical literature of all kinds at Wikipedia: Biblical Apocrypha.

Table of Contents:

Free audiobooks available:

  1. The Creation (Genesis)
  2. The Fall (Genesis)
  3. The Ideal Man (Ginzberg)
  4. The Fall of Satan (Ginzberg)
  5. Lilith (Ginzberg)
  6. Eve (Ginzberg)
  7. Paradise (Ginzberg)
  8. The Fall of Man (Ginzberg)
  9. The Punishment (Ginzberg)
  10. The Punishment, cont. (Ginzberg)
  1. Leaving the Garden (Book of Adam and Eve)
  2. Entering the Cave of Treasures (Book of Adam and Eve)
  3. They Die a First Time (Book of Adam and Eve)
  4. The Beasts of the Creation (Book of Adam and Eve)
  5. Want of Water and Light (Book of Adam and Eve)
  6. The Darkness (Book of Adam and Eve)
  7. The Sunrise and the Serpent (Book of Adam and Eve)
  8. Suicide and Salvation (Book of Adam and Eve)
  9. Worship and Blessing  (Book of Adam and Eve)

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