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Paradise

Paradise

A word derived from the old Persian (Zeud) pairedaèza, an enclosure, a walled-in place; old Persian pairi, around, dig, to mould, form, shape (hence to form a wall of earth). The word moved into Greek (paradeisos), Latin (paradisus), and Hebrew (pardes). It literally denotes an enclosure or park planted with fruit trees and abounding with various animals, i.e., a pleasure garden or park. Josephus referred to Solomon's garden at Etham and to the hanging gardens of Babylon as paradises. Eden is not termed a "paradise" in the Hebrew text of Gen. 2:8, but a place where God planted a garden. The term, however, was inserted in the text in the Greek Septuigant translation, which read that God planted a paradise in Eden.

While the biblical paradise is located in reference to several well-known geographic reference points such as the Euphrates and Hiddekrl (Tigris) rivers, the failure to find such a paradisical place in that area in modern times has suggested the possibility that the paradise of Eden might be found elsewhere.

Paradise has been sought for or located in many regions of the earth: on the banks of the Euphrates and of the Ganges, in Tartary, Armenia, India, China, Mesopotamia, Syria, Persia, Arabia, Palestine, Ethiopia, and near the mountains of Libanus and Anti-libanus. Some place it in Judea, what is now the sea of Galilee; others in Armenia or Syria, near Mount Ararat, toward the sources of the Orontes, the Chrysorrhoas, and the Barrady. In the early nineteenth century the Island of Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka), which was the "Serendib" of the ancient Persians and the "Taprobane" of the Greek geographers, was cited as a possibility. Robert Percival, in his book An Account of the Island of Ceylon (1803), suggested:

"It is from the summit of Hamalleel or Adam's Peak that Adam took his last view of Paradise before he quitted it never to return. The spot on which his feet stood at the moment is still supposed to be found in an impression on the summit of the mountain, resembling the print of a man's foot, but more than double the ordinary size. After taking this farewell view, the father of mankind is said to have gone over to the continent of Judea, which was at that time joined to the island, but no sooner had he passed Adam's Bridge than the sea closed behind him, and cut off all hopes of return. This tradition, from whatever source it was derived, seems to be interwoven with the earliest notions of religion entertained by the Cingalese; and it is difficult to conceive that it could have been engrafted on them without forming an original part. I have frequently had the curiosity to converse with black men of different castes concerning this tradition of Adam. All of them, with every appearance of belief, assured me that it was really true, and in support of it produced a variety of testimonies, old sayings, and prophecies, which have for ages been current among them. The origin of these traditions I do not pretend to trace; but their connection with Scripture history is very evident, and they afford a new instance how universally the opinions with respect to the origin of man coincide."

We are further informed by this writer that a large chair fixed in a rock near the summit of the mountain is said to be the workmanship of Adam. It has the appearance of having been placed there at a very distant period, but who really placed it there, or for what purpose, it is impossible to discover.

However, long before Percival travelled to Sri Lanka, this apparently oversize footprint had been venerated equally by Buddhists and Hindus, who ascribe it respectively to Gautama, Buddha, or the god Siva.

Some believed Eden represented the whole earth, which was of surprising beauty and fertility before the Fall. A curious notion prevailed to a great extent among the various nations that the Old World was under a curse and the earth became very barren. This view is reflected in the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans (8:22) where he refers to the whole of creation groaning in pain.

Eastern Philosophies of Paradise

Some Eastern philosophies shared the idea that nature had been contaminated, and that the earth labored under some defilementa sentiment that might have resulted from obscure traditions connected with the first human pair. The Hebrew historian Josephus stated that the Sacred Garden was watered by one river, which ran round the whole earth and was divided into four parts, but he appeared to think Paradise was merely a figurative or allegorical locality. Some of the peoples of Hindustan had traditions of a place resembling Paradise on the banks of the river Ganges; their accounts were completely blended with mythology and legends respecting the Deluge and the second peopling of the world.

One writer who had diligently studied the Indian Puranas (religious and mythological works) placed Eden on the Imaus Mountains of India. He stated:

"It appears from Scripture that Adam and Eve lived in the countries to the eastward of Eden; for at the eastern entrance of it God placed the angel with the flaming sword (Gen. 3:24). This is also confirmed by the Puranics, who place the progenitor of mankind on the mountainous regions between Cabul and the Ganges, on the banks of which, in the hills, they show a place where he resorted occasionally for religious purposes. It is frequented by pilgrims. At the entrance of the passes leading to the place where I suppose was the Garden of Eden, and to the eastward of it, the Hindoos have placed a destroying angel, who appears, and it is generally represented with a cherub; I mean Garudha, or the Eagle, upon whom Vishnu and Jupiter are represented riding. Garudha is represented generally like an eagle, but in his compound character somewhat like a cherub. He is represented like a young man, with the countenance, wings, and talons of the eagle. In Scripture the Deity is represented riding upon a cherub, and flying upon the wings of the wind. Garudha is called Vahan [literally the Vehicle] of Vishnu or Jupiter, and he thus answers to the cherub of Scripture; for many commentators derive this word from the obsolete root c'harab, in the Chaldean language, a word implicitly synonymous with the Sanscrit Vahan."

In the fabled Mount Meru of Hindu mythology there is also a descriptive representation of a Mosaic-like garden of Eden. Meru is a conical mountain; the exact locality of which is not fixed, but Hindu geographers considered the earth as a flat table with the sacred mountain of Meru rising in the middle. It became at length their decided conviction that Meru was the North Pole, from their notion that the North Pole was the highest part of the world. Some Hindu writers admitted that Mount Meru must be situated in the central part of Asia. Rather than relinquish their notion of and predilection for the North Pole as the real locality of Paradise, they actually forced the sun out of the ecliptic and placed the Pole on the elevated plains of Lesser Bokhara. However, the Hindu description of this Paradise seems to be analogous to the Mosaic account.

The traditions of Kashmir represented that country as the original site of Paradise and the abode of the first human pair, while the Buddhists of Tibet held opinions respecting the mountain Meru similar to those of the Hindus. They located the sacred garden, however, at the foot of the mountain near the source of the Ganges.

The Muslims inhabiting adjacent countries adopted the belief that Paradise was situated in Kashmir. They believed the first man was driven from it, he and his wife wandered separately for some time, then meeting at a place called Bahlaka, or Balk. Two gigantic statues, which the Moslems said were yet to be seen between Bahlaka and Bamiyan, represented Adam and Eve. A third statue was that of their son Seish or Seth, whose tomb, or its site, was pointed out near Bahlaka.

Some writers maintained that Paradise was under the North Pole. They argued over the idea of the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians that the ecliptic or solar way was originally at right angles to the Equator, and so passed directly over the North Pole. Some Moslems speculated that it was in one of the seven heavens. One commentator summed up extravagant theories respecting the locality of Paradise. "Some place it as follows: In the third heaven, others in the fourth, some within the orbit of the moon, others in the moon itself, some in the middle regions of the air, or beyond the earth's attraction, some on the earth, others under the earth, and others within the earth."

Before leaving the East, it may be observed that Oriental people generally reckoned four sites of Paradise in Asia: the first Ceylon, already mentioned; the second in Chaldea; the third in a district of Persia, watered by a river called the Nilab; and the fourth in Syria near Damascus, and near the springs of the Jordan. This last supposed site was not peculiar to Oriental writers, as it was maintained by some Europeans, especially Heidegger, Le Clerc, and Hardouin. The following are the traditions once believed by inhabitants of the city of Damascusa city which the Emperor Julian the Apostate styled "the Eye of all the East," the most sacred and most magnificent Damascus. For example, M. de Lamartine observed:

"I understand that Arabian traditions represent this city and its neighbourhood to form the site of the lost Paradise, and certainly I should think that no place upon earth was better calculated to answer one's ideas of Eden. The vast and fruitful plain, with the seven branches of the blue stream which irrigate it the majestic framework of the mountainsthe glittering lakes which reflect the heaven upon the earthits geographical situation between the two seasthe perfection of the climate every thing indicates that Damascus has at least been one of the first towns that were built by the children of menone of the natural halts of fugitive humanity in primeval times. It is, in fact, one of those sites pointed out by the hand of God for a citya site predestined to sustain a capital like Constantinople."

According to Muslim beliefs, Damascus stood on the site of the Sacred Garden. Outside this city was a meadow divided by the river Barrady, and is alleged that Adam was formed from its red earth. This field was designated Ager Damascenus by the Latins, and nearly in the center formerly stood a pillar, intended to mark the precise spot where the Creator breathed the breath of life into the first man.

Other Philosophies of Paradise

Other traditions that existed among ancient nations of the Garden of Eden doubtless inspired the magnificent gardens that were designed and planted by Eastern princes, such as the Golden Garden, which was consecrated by Pompey to Jupiter Capitolinus of Aristobulus, King of the Jews. Nor is mythology deficient in similar legends. There are the Gardens of Jupiter, of Alcinous, of the Fortunate Islands, and of the Hesperides. These not only contain descriptions of the primeval Paradise, but also include the traditions of the Tree of Knowledge and of the original promise made to the woman. The Garden of the Hesperides produced golden fruit, guarded by a dangerous serpentthis fierce reptile encircled with its folds a mysterious treeand Hercules procured the fruit by encountering and killing the serpent.

The story of the constellation, as related by Eratosthenes, is applicable to the Garden of Eden and the primeval history of mankind.

"This serpent," said that ancient writer, alluding to the constellation, "is the same as that which guarded the golden apples, and was slain by Hercules. For, when the gods offered presents to Juno on her nuptials with Jupiter, the Earth also brought golden apples. Juno, admiring their beauty, commanded them to be planted in the garden of the gods; but finding that they were continually plucked by the daughter of Atlas, she appointed a vast serpent to guard them. Hercules overcame and slew the monster. Hence, in this constellation the serpent is depicted rearing its head aloft, while Hercules, placed above it with one knee bent, tramples with his foot upon its head, and brandishes a club in his right hand."

The Greeks placed the Garden of the Hesperides close to Mount Atlas, and then claimed it was far into the regions of western Africa, yet all knowledge of its Asiatic site was not erased from the classical mythologists. Apollodorus states that certain writers situated it not in the Libyan Atlas, but in the Atlas of the Hyperboreans.

Others believed the world was originally a paradise, and its first inhabitants were human, whose dwelling was a magnificent hall glittering with fine gold and where love, joy, and friendship presided. But this happiness was soon overthrown by certain women from the country of the giants, to whose seductions the first mortals yielded, losing their innocence and integrity forever. The transgression of Eve was the obvious prototype of the fatal curiosity of Pandora.

The legends of Hindustan also supply accounts of the happiness of paradise in the Golden Age of classic mythology. Thomas Maurice, author of Indian Antiquities (1793-1800), observed at the end of the eighteenth century,

"There can arise little doubt that by the Satya age, or Age of Perfection, the Brahmins obviously allude to the state of perfection and happiness enjoyed by man in Paradise. It is impossible to explain what the Indian writers assert concerning the universal purity of manners, and the luxurious and unbounded plenty prevailing in that primitive era, without this supposition. Justice, truth, philanthrophy, were then practised among all the orders and classes of mankind. There was then no extortion, no circumvention, no fraud, used in the dealings one with another. Perpetual oblations smoked on the altars of the Deity; every tongue uttered praises, and every heart glowed with gratitude to the Supreme Creator. The gods, in token of their approbation of the conduct of mortals, condescended frequently to become incarnate, and to hold personal intercourse with the yet undepraved race, to instruct them in arts and sciences; to unveil their own sublime functions and pure nature; and to make them acquainted with the economy of those celestial regions into which they were to be immediately translated, when the period of their terrestial probation expired."

Sources:

Baring-Gould, S. "The Terrestrial Paradise." In Curious Myths of the Middle Ages. 1872. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1967.

Doane, T. W. "The Creation and Fall of Man." In Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions. 1884. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1971.

Jacoby, Mario. The Longing for Paradise: Psychological Perspectives on an Archetype. Boston: Sigo Press, 1985.

Pagel, Walter. Paracelsus: An Introduction to Philosophical Medicine in the Era of the Renaissance. New York: Karger, 1982.

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Paradise

484. Paradise (See also Heaven, Utopia.)

  1. Bali Indonesian island; thought of as garden of Eden. [Geography: NCE, 215216]
  2. Brigadoon magical Scottish village that materializes once every 100 years. [Am. Music: Payton, 100101]
  3. Canaan ancient region on Jordan river; promised by God to Abraham. [O.T.: Genesis 12:510]
  4. Earthly Paradise place of beauty, peace, and immortality, believed in the Middle Ages to exist in some undiscovered land. [Eur. Legend: Benét, 298]
  5. Eden earthly garden of luxury; abode of Adam and Eve. [O.T.: Genesis 2:8]
  6. Elysium (Elysian Fields ) abode of the blessed in afterlife. [Gk. & Rom. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary ]
  7. Garden of the Hesperides quiet garden of the gods where golden apples grew. [Gk. Lit.: Hippolytus ; Gk. Myth.: Gaster, 25]
  8. Happy Hunting Ground paradise for American Indians. [Am. Culture: Jobes, 724]
  9. Happy Valley beautiful spot in Kashmirs Jhelum Valley. [Indian Hist.: Payton, 300]
  10. hissu where trees bear fruits of lapis lazuli. [Babylonian Lit.: Gilgamesh ]
  11. land of milk and honey proverbial ideal of plenty and happiness. [Western Cult.: Brewer Dictionary ]
  12. Land of the Lotophagi African land where eating lotos fruit produced amnesia and indolence. [Gk. Lit.: Odyssey ; Br. Lit.: The Lotos-Eaters in Norton, 733736]
  13. Nirvana eternal bliss and the end of all earthly suffering. [Indian Religion: Jobes, 1175]
  14. Shangri-la utopia hidden in the Himalayas. [Br. Lit.: Lost Horizon ]
  15. Suhkavati garden of jeweled trees and dulcet-voiced birds. [Buddhist Myth.: Gaster, 24]
  16. Timbuktu fabled land of wealth and splendor. [Eur. Hist.: Brewer Dictionary, 1084]
  17. Tlapallan land of luxuriance and red sunrise. [Aztec Myth.: Gaster, 25]

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Paradise

Paradise heaven as the ultimate abode of the just; the abode of Adam and Eve before the Fall in the biblical account of the Creation; the garden of Eden. Recorded from Middle English, the word comes via Old French and ecclesiastical Latin from Greek paradeisos ‘royal (enclosed) park’, from Avestan pairidaēza ‘enclosure, park’. The word was used first in Greek by Xenophon for a Persian enclosed park, orchard, or pleasure ground.

From late Middle English, Paradise was also used for an enclosed garden or orchard, or an enclosed area or court in front of a building, especially a church, and in the Middle Ages particularly a court in front of St Peter's, Rome. Parvis derives from the same base as this.

Paradise Lost is the title of Milton's epic poem (1667), which in twelve books relates the story of the Fall of Man, and which in its own words is intended to ‘justify the ways of God to man’. Paradise Regained (1671), its sequel, relates in four books the story of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.

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paradise

par·a·dise / ˈparəˌdīs/ • n. (in some religions) heaven as the ultimate abode of the just. ∎  (Paradise) the abode of Adam and Eve before the Fall in the biblical account of the Creation; the Garden of Eden. ∎  an ideal or idyllic place or state: the surrounding countryside is a walker's paradise my idea of paradise is to relax on the seafront. DERIVATIVES: par·a·dis·al / ˌparəˈdīsəl/ adj. par·a·di·si·a·cal / ˌparədiˈsīəkəl/ (also par·a·di·sa·i·cal / ˌparədiˈsā-ikəl/ or par·a·di·si·cal / ˌparəˈdīsikəl/ ) adj.

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paradise

paradise garden of Eden; Heaven XII; paradisaical place or state XIII; park, pleasure-ground; (after Luke 23: 43, etc.) the Intermediate State XVII. ME. paradis, also parais (XII–XV) — (O)F. paradis, also in semi-pop. form parais — ChrL. paradīsus — Gr. paradeisos, first used of the parks of Persian kings and nobles, (hence) garden, orchard, in LXX and N.T. Eden, abode of the blessed — Av. pairidaēza enclosure, f. pairi around, PERI- + diz mould, form.
Hence paradisaic XVIII, paradisaical XVII. So paradisiac, paradisiacal XVII. — ChrL. paradīsiacus — Gr. paradeisiakós. Vars. of greater or less currency are paradisean XVII, paradisial XVIII, paradisian XVII, paradisic XVIII, paradisical XVII.

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Paradise

Paradise (Gk., possibly from Pers. pardes/pairidaeza, ‘enclosure, park’, hence ‘garden’). Idyllic state in the presence of God, especially after death, hence often a synonym for heaven. The Septuagint uses the word of a literal garden (Ecclesiastes 2. 5; Song of Songs 4. 12), but the reference is more often the Garden of Eden (Paradise Lost) or the restored Garden (e.g. Ezekiel 36. 35, 47. 12; Isaiah 51. 3—Paradise Regained).

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Paradise

Paradise.
1. Cloistered atrium, court, or garth at the west end of a church.

2. West or south porch of a church, including space above it, sometimes corruptly called a parvise.

3. Burial-ground of a conventual establishment.

4. Jerusalem, or innermost part of a labyrinth or maze.

5. Park containing exotic animals.

6. Pleasure-ground.

7. Topmost gallery in a theatre, called the ‘gods’, with the cheapest seats.

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Paradise (town, United States)

Paradise, uninc. town (1990 pop. 25,406), Butte co., N central Calif., in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range. It is mainly residential with a growing population. Cattle are raised and fruits, olives, nuts, wheat, and nursery stock are grown. Gold was discovered nearby in 1859.

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Paradise

Par·a·dise / ˈparəˌdīs; ˈpe(ə)r-/ a community in southeastern Nevada, south of Las Vegas; pop. 124,682.

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Paradise (in religion)

Paradise: see Eden, Garden of; heaven.

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paradise

paradiseadvice, bice, Brice, choc ice, concise, dice, entice, gneiss, ice, imprecise, lice, mice, nice, precise, price, rice, sice, slice, speiss, spice, splice, suffice, syce, thrice, trice, twice, underprice, vice, Zeiss •merchandise • paradise • sacrifice •packice • woodlice • fieldmice •titmice • dormice • allspice •cockatrice • edelweiss

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