Will Adams

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated


ADAM (אָדָם), the first man and progenitor of the human race. The Documentary Hypothesis distinguishes two conflicting stories about the making of man in Scripture (for a contrary view, see U. Cassuto, From Adam to Noah, pp. 71 ff.). In the first account of Creation in the Bible (attributed by critics to the Priestly narration; Gen. 1) Adam was created in God's image (verse 27), as the climax of a series of Divine creative acts, and was given dominion over the rest of creation (verses 28–30). In the second story (attributed by critics to the J or Yahwist strand; Gen. 2–3), after the completion of heaven and earth, God fashioned "the man" (ha-adam) from dust of the ground (ha-adamah), breathed life into his nostrils, and placed him in the Garden of Eden to be caretaker. Permission was given to eat freely from any tree of the Garden except, under penalty of death, from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad. In order that the man might not be alone but would have appropriate aid, God formed the various animals and had the man determine what they should be called. The man gave names to all the animals, but found among them no suitable help. God then put the man to sleep, extracted one of his ribs, and fashioned it into a woman, and presented her to the man who found her eminently satisfactory and congenial. The naked pair had no feeling of shame until the serpent seduced the woman to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. The woman shared the fruit with her husband with the result that they became aware of their nakedness and hid from God. As punishment for this transgression, the serpent was condemned to crawl on its belly and eat dust. The woman was sentenced to the pangs of childbirth, a craving for her man, and subjection to him. The man, for his part, for listening to his wife and for violating the prohibition, was destined to toil and sweat in order to wrest a bare living from an accursed and hostile soil until his return to the dust whence he came. Perpetual enmity was established between snake and man. God then made skin tunics (better: "tunics for the skin") and clothed the man and woman. The man had now become like one of the divine beings "knowing good and bad" (Gen. 3:22, i.e., everything; cf. Gen. 31:24; Lev. 5:4; ii Sam. 13:22; Isa. 41:23). To keep the man from taking and eating of the Tree of Life and thereby acquiring the other quality that distinguished the divine beings, immortality, God expelled him from the Garden of Eden and barred access to the Tree of Life by means of the *cherubim and the flaming sword. Next one reads that "the man" had experience of his wife *Eve, who bore him *Cain and later *Abel (Gen. 4:1–2), and further on that "Adam," at the age of 130 years, sired *Seth by his wife (4:25; 5:3), after which he lived on for another eight centuries without report of further events, except that he "begot sons and daughters" and died at the age of 930 (5:4–5).

The presence of the article before the word adam in Genesis 2:7–4:1 militates against construing it as a proper name. However, in 4:25, and also in 5:1–5, the article is dropped and the word becomes Adam. The masorah takes advantage of the ambiguity of the consonantal spelling (l"dm) which can mean "to/for the man" or "to/for Adam," depending on the vocalization, to introduce the proper name Adam into Genesis 2:20 and 3:17, 21, contrary to the import of the passage. Similarly, the Septuagint and Vulgate begin at Genesis 2:19 to translate ha-adam as the proper name Adam.

The only further mention of Adam in the Bible occurs in the genealogical table of i Chronicles 1:1. It is moot whether adam in ke-adam of Hosea 6:7 and Job 31:33, and benei adam of Deuteronomy 32:8, is to be taken as the proper name. In the apocryphal books, however, there are several probable allusions to Adam and the creation story (Ecclus. 17:1; 49:16; Tob. 8:6; Wisd. Sol. 2:23; 9:2; 10:1).

The etymology of the word adam is ambiguous. The feminine form adamah designates the ground or soil, and the play on the two forms adam and adamah in Genesis 2:7 suggests for adam the meaning "earthling." The root אדם ('dm) is also connected with the color "red," which might apply to the color of the soil from which man was formed. The word adamu is used in Akkadian for "blood," adamatu for "black blood" in pathological conditions, and the plural adamātu for "dark, red earth [used as dye]." The word admu/atmu ("child") probably has no relation to adam but is rather to be connected with a root wtm and related to Hebrew yatom ("orphan"). In Old South Arabic 'dm has the meaning "serf." The occurrence of 'dm as the apparent theophorous element in few personal names such as ʿbd'dm ("servant of 'dm"; mt, Obed-Edom, ii Sam. 6:10 ff.), suggests a deity 'dm, but there is little additional direct evidence for this. In an Akkadian synonym list the word adamu is equivalent to an "important, noble person." The personal names A-da-mu, A-dam-u also appear in Old Akkadian and Old Babylonian (Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, 1, part 1 (1964), 95, s.v. adamu B; cf. also W. von Soden, Akkadisches Handwoerterbuch, 1 (1965), 10).

[Marvin H. Pope]

In the Aggadah

Adam was formed from a mixture of water and earth, as is implied in Genesis 2:7. According to Greek mythology too, Prometheus formed men from water and earth (Apollodorus, 1:7, 1); and Hesiod (Opera et Dies, 61) relates that Hephaestus kneaded earth and water and made woman. The ancient Egyptians also believed that "man was formed from miry and swampy land" (Diodorus 1:43, 2).

There is no reference in the existing texts of the Septuagint to the statement of the aggadah (Mekh. 60:14) that the translators of the Bible changed Genesis 1:26 from the plural "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness," to "I will make man in my likeness and image" in order to remove any suggestion of anthropomorphic polytheism. The aggadists were actually more concerned with possible polytheistic interpretations than with the suggestion of anthropomorphism, the belief in anthropomorphism being widespread in both Hellenistic and philosophical works (e.g., among the Epicureans). In any event, many of the aggadists attempted to remove these anthropomorphisms. Some of them explain, "in His image" as meaning "with the dignity of his Maker" (see Tanh. Pekudei 2; Gen. R. 11:2).

In the creation of the universe, whatever was created later had dominion over what preceded it, and Adam and Eve were "created after everything in order to have dominion over everything" (Gen. R. 19:4). They were "created last in order that they should rule over all creation… and that all creatures should fear them and be under their control" (Num. R. 12:4). The subjection of the creatures is also greatly stressed in Adam 37–39; Apocalypsis Mosis, 10–12. Another reason for man's being created last was "that he should immediately enter the banqueting hall (everything having already been prepared for him). The matter may be likened to an emperor's building a palace, consecrating it, preparing the feast, and only then inviting the guests" (Tosef. Sanh. 8:9). On the other hand, Adam was created last, so that "should he become conceited, he could be told, 'The gnat was created before you'" (ibid. 8:8). Adam alone, of all living things, was created "to stand upright like the ministering angels" (Gen. R. 8:11; cf. Ḥag. 16a). Both Adam and Eve were created "fully developed… Adam and Eve were created as adults 20 years of age" (Gen. R. 14:7). In fact, everything created, "the sun and the moon, the stars and the planets, all were created fully developed, all the works of creation being brought into existence in their completed state" (Num. R. 12:8). The same opinion was held by Philo and by a number of Greek and Roman scholars (Dion Chrysostomus, 36:59).

Thales, "father of philosophers," used to say, "Every thing that exists is very beautiful, being the work of God" (Diogenes Laertius, 1:35). In the same vein, Philo maintained (Op., 47:136–41) that Adam was a perfect creature. The aggadists exalt the beauty of Adam, saying, "The ball of Adam's heel outshone the glory of the sun: how much more so the brightness of his face" for "Adam was created for the service of the Holy One, and the orb of the sun for the service of mankind" (pdrk 101).

The rabbis interpret Genesis 1:27 to mean that Adam was created as a hermaphrodite (Er. 18a; Gen. R. 8:1; cf. also Jub. 2:14; 3:8). He was created on New Year's Day, the first of Tishri, and all that is related of him occurred on that very day. In the first hour his dust was assembled; in the second he was rough-hewn; in the third his limbs were articulated; in the fourth the soul was breathed into him; in the fifth he stood erect; in the sixth he gave names to all creatures; in the seventh Eve was brought to him; in the eighth they begot Cain and Abel; in the ninth they were forbidden to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; in the tenth they sinned; in the eleventh sentence was passed; and in the twelfth they were driven out of Eden (Sanh. 38b; cf. also Lev. R. 29:1).

When Adam was to be created, the angels were consulted. Some favored his creation for the love and mercy he would show; others were opposed to it because of the falsehood and strife he would stir up. In the end, the Holy One decided to create man (Gen. R. 8:5; Mid. Ps. to 1:22). The angels were filled with such awe at his creation that they wished to worship him, whereupon Adam pointed upward (pdre 10; Tanh. Pekudei 3), or, according to another version, God caused a deep sleep to fall upon him and the angels realized his limitations (Gen. R. 8:10). All the angels were ordered to bow down to him and they did so, all except *Satan, who was hurled into the abyss and conceived a lasting hatred for Adam (pdre 13). This myth of Satan's fall is to be found in the Apocryphal books, e.g., Adam 12–17.

It is characteristic of the book of Genesis that it gives the history of its principals up to a certain stage in their lives and then leaves them, taking up the story of their successors. Likewise, in the case of Adam, the Bible gives his story up to his expulsion from the Garden of Eden, and then deals with the succeeding generations, though Adam lived on for many years. No account is given of how Adam familiarized himself with the strange new world, which lacked those ideal conditions to which he had been accustomed. The aggadah, to some extent, attempts to fill the gap. It relates that "when the sun set (after he was driven out) darkness began to fall. Adam was terrified… thinking, 'The serpent will come to bite me.' The Holy One made available for him two flints (or, two stones) which he struck, one against the other, producing light" (Pes. 54a; Gen. R. 11:2). This subject is also dealt with by Adam and Eve 2:1, which relates that "the Lord God sent diverse seeds by Michael the archangel and gave them to Adam and showed him how to work and till the ground that they might have fruit, by which they and their generations might live." This is greatly developed in the Christian Adam books, the Cave of Treasures and the Conflict of Adam and Eve. This aggadah also hints at the answer to another question, how human civilization developed. This theme, especially the origin of light, the catalyst of all human development, greatly occupied Greek scholars. According to other aggadot, darkness itself and the seasonal change to winter terrified Adam until he became familiar with the order of the universe – sunset and sunrise, long days and short days (Av. Zar. 8a).

When Adam sinned, he lost his splendor. As a result of his sin, all things lost their perfection "though they had been created in their fullness," (Gen. R. 11:2; 12:6). Like Philo, the aggadists held that the beauty of the generations was slowly diminishing. All other people "compared to Sarah, are like apes compared to a man; Sarah compared with Eve, is like an ape compared to man, as was Eve compared to Adam" (bb 58a).

Satan selected the serpent as his tool because of its being the most subtle of beasts and the nearest to man in form, having been endowed with hands and feet (Gen. R. 19:1; 20:5). With regard to the identification of the tree of good and evil, the vine, the wheat, the citron, and the fig are suggested. According to this last view, it was because the fig tree had served as the source of Adam's sin that it subsequently provided him with the leaves to cover his nakedness, the consciousness of which was the direct result of that sin (Ber. 40a; Gen. R. 15:7; compare the Syriac Apocalypse of Adam (ed., Renan; 1853), 32). Adam was sent forth from the Garden of Eden in this world; whether he was also sent forth from the Eden of the next world is disputed (Gen. R. 21:7). With Adam's sin, the divine presence withdrew from this world, returning only with the building of the Tabernacle (pdrk 1). Adam learnt of the power of repentance from Cain. When Cain said to him, "I repented and have been forgiven," Adam beat his face and cried out, "So great is the power of repentance and I knew it not." Whereupon he sang the 90th Psalm, the Midrash interpreting its second verse as, "It is good to make confession to the Lord" (Gen. R. 22:13). In the Life of Adam and Eve, however, Adam and Eve's repentance after the expulsion from the garden is described at length (Adam 1–11). Adam was given the Noachian Laws (Sanh. 56b) and was enjoined to observe the Sabbath (Mid. Ps. to 92:6). He would have been given the whole Torah if he had not sinned (Gen. R. 24:5; 21:7). He was the first to pray for rain (Ḥul. 60b) and to offer sacrifice (Av. Zar. 8a). During the time he was separated from his wife, before he begot Seth, he gave birth to demons (Er. 18b; Gen. R. 20:11). The Zohar (7:34; 3:19) states that *Lilith, a demon, was the wife of Adam before the creation of Eve.

[Elimelech Epstein Halevy]

Medieval Jewish Philosophy

In Hellenistic and medieval Jewish philosophy Adam is often regarded as a prototype of mankind, and Genesis 2:8–3:24, interpreted as an allegory on the human condition. In spite of their predominant interest in the allegorical interpretation of the creation of Adam and his stay in the Garden of Eden, most Jewish philosophers appear to accept the historicity of the biblical account. For them the biblical story of Adam has both a literal and allegorical meaning.

Philo, following a Platonic model, sees in the twofold account of the creation of Adam a description of the creation of two distinct men, the heavenly man, created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), and the earthly man, formed out of the dust of the earth (Gen. 2:7). The heavenly man is incorporeal. The earthly man is a composite of corporeal and incorporeal elements, of body and mind (Philo, i l.a. 12). Philo maintains that it is the mind of man and not his body which is in the image of God (Philo, Op. 23). The earthly Adam excelled all subsequent men both in intellectual ability and physical appearance, and attained the "very limit of human happiness" (Philo, Op. 3). But Adam did not remain forever at this level. Through eating from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil he brought upon himself a "life of mortality and wretchedness in lieu of that of immortality and bliss" (Philo, Op. 53). Philo interprets the eating from the forbidden tree allegorically as the indulgence in physical pleasures. Because Adam succumbed to his physical passions, his understanding descended from the higher level of knowledge to the lower level of opinion. While Philo at times does accept the literal interpretation of certain elements in the story, he generally rejects the literal meaning entirely and interprets all the elements of the story allegorically. Adam becomes the symbolic representation of mind; Eve, the representation of sense-perception; the serpent, the representation of passion; and the tree of knowledge, the representation of prudence or opinion. Though Philo did not exert any direct influence upon the medieval Jewish philosophers, there are many similarities between his conception of Adam ha-Rishon and that of medieval Jewish philosophy. The similarities in the descriptions of the perfections of the first man may have their origin in the midrashic descriptions of Adam, while the similarities in the interpretation of his sin probably result from the philosophic concerns common to Philo and the medievals.

*Judah Halevi maintains that Adam was perfect in body and mind. In addition to the loftiest intellect ever possessed by a human being, Adam was endowed with the "divine power" (ha-ko'aḥ ha-Eloḥi), that special faculty which, according to Halevi, enables man to achieve communion with God. This "divine power," passed down through various descendants of Adam to the people of Israel, is that which distinguishes the people of Israel from all other peoples (Kuzari, 1:95).

*Maimonides explains that when the Bible records that Adam was created "in the image of God" it refers to the creation of the human intellect, man's defining characteristic, which resembles the divine intellect, rather than to the creation of the body. Unlike Halevi, Maimonides believes that communion with God can be achieved through the development of the intellect, and that no special faculty is necessary. Thus, Maimonides emphasizes the intellectual perfection of Adam. Before the sin Adam's intellect was developed to its fullest capacity, and he devoted himself entirely to the contemplation of the truths of physics and metaphysics. Adam's sin consisted in his turning away from contemplation to indulge in physical pleasures to which he was drawn by his imagination and desires. As a result of his sin, Adam became occupied with controlling his appetites, and consequently his capacity for contemplation was impaired. His practical reason which before the sin had lain dormant was now activated, and he began to acquire practical rather than theoretical knowledge, a knowledge of values rather than of facts, of good and evil rather than of truth and falsehood, and of ethics and politics rather than of physics and metaphysics. It is clear that for Maimonides practical wisdom is inferior to theoretical wisdom, and that, therefore, the activation of Adam's practical reason at the expense of his theoretical reason was a punishment (Guide, 1:2).

Maimonides interprets various Midrashim on the story of Adam and the Garden of Eden allegorically in accordance with his interpretation of Adam's sin as the succumbing to physical passion. The Midrash describes the serpent as a camel ridden by Samael. According to Maimonides the serpent represents the imaginative faculty, while Samael, or the evil inclination, represents the appetitive faculty. Maimonides suggests that in the midrashic description of the tree of life in Genesis Rabbah 15:6 the tree represents physics and its branches metaphysics. The tree of knowledge, on the other hand, represents ethics or practical wisdom rather than physics and metaphysics. Instead of eating from the tree of life, i.e., devoting himself to the study of physics and metaphysics which would have enabled him to attain immortality, Adam ate from the forbidden tree; he followed his imagination and succumbed to his passions, thereby impairing his capacity for the contemplation of truth, and acquiring the capacity for the acquisition of a knowledge of ethics (Guide, 2:30).

Joseph *Albo maintains that Adam, as the prototype of mankind, is the choicest of all the creatures of the sublunar world and the purpose of the creation because he is the only creature that has a knowledge of God. All other creatures exist for his sake, and he has a dominion over them. Albo, too, interprets the story of the Garden of Eden allegorically, regarding it as a "symbolic allusion to man's fortune in the world" (Sefer ha-Ikkarim, 1:11). In his interpretation Adam represents mankind; the Garden of Eden, the world; the tree of life, the Torah; and the serpent, the evil inclination. The placing of Adam in the garden, in the midst of which stands the tree of life, symbolizes the fact that man is placed in the world in order to observe the commandments of the Torah. In the banishment of Adam from the Garden of Eden after he ate from the forbidden tree Albo sees an allusion to the punishment that will befall man if he disobeys the Divine commandments.

[David Kadosh /

Adela Wolfe]

In Christian Tradition

Adam as the progenitor of the human race and as the type of humanity as such, plays a far greater role in Christian theological thought than in classical Judaism, since the former uses the account in Genesis 1–2 (and especially the story of Adam's sin and expulsion from Paradise) as a basis for its doctrine of man and his relation to God. Endowed with many extraordinary qualities as the crown of God's creation (e.g., perfect righteousness, sanctifying grace, absence of concupiscence, viz. evil inclination, immortality, etc.), he lost these at his fall ("original sin") and transmitted his fallen and corrupted nature to all his posterity. Only by the coming of Jesus, the "Second Adam," was humanity restored to its original grandeur and perfection "for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (i Cor. 15:22). As the heavenly Adam succeeded the earthly Adam, so humanity of the flesh will become a spiritual humanity (i Cor. 15:44–49). The teaching of Paul greatly influenced Augustine and later Calvin in their formulations of the doctrine on original sin, implying as it does the innate corruption of human nature.

According to one Christian tradition, Adam is buried not in the Machpelah cave at Hebron but under the Calvary in the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem, so that the redemptive blood of Jesus shed at the crucifixion, flowed on his grave. In the Greek Orthodox Church a feast in honor of the parents of humanity, Adam and Eve, is kept on the Sunday preceding Christmas.

In Islamic Legend

Adam is more favorably presented in the Koran than in the Bible. The Adamic legend, as Muhammad related it, is as follows: Allah created Adam to become his regent (caliph) on earth (Sura 2:28) and made a covenant with him (Sura 20:114; cf. Hos. 6:7 and Sanh. 38b). At first the angels opposed it, fearing that man would evoke evil and bloodshed. However, Allah endowed Adam with the knowledge of the names of all things. The angels, who do not know these names, recognize Adam's superiority and pay him homage. Only Iblīs (Gr. diábolos, the Devil) revolts, claiming that he who is born of fire should not bow before one who is born of dust, whereupon Allah expels Iblīs from Paradise. Adam and Eve are forbidden to eat the fruit of a tree, but Šayṭān (Satan) appears and whispers in their ears: Allah has forbidden this tree to you, so that you will not live eternally like the angels (Sura 7:19). They eat from the tree, become aware of their nakedness, and cover themselves with the leaves of Eden. Allah proclaims eternal enmity between Man and Satan. Then Adam repents for his sin.

*Geiger recognized that the concept that God had consulted the angels and that voices had been raised against the creation of man belongs to an old aggadah (Sanh. 38a–b; Gen. R. 8:1). The fact that the Koran knew nothing of the serpent but placed Satan in its place points perhaps to Christian influence. Umayya ibn Abi'l-Salt, Muhammad's contemporary, knew of the serpent in connection with Adam's disobedience, but not the Satan.

Later Muslim interpreters and collectors of legends completed the story of the Koran from the Bible, aggadah, and their own poetic elaboration: Allah sent his angels, Gabriel and Michael, down to Earth in order to fetch dust for the creation of man; but the Earth rejected them and the Angel of Death forcibly took dust from the surface (surface of the earth in Arabic, Adīm, thus Adam). Adam was created from red, white, and black dust – hence the various skin colorings of mankind. The dust for the head came from the Ḥaram in Mecca; the chest, the sanctuary in Jerusalem; the loins, Yemen; the feet, Ḥejāz; the right hand, the East; and the left hand, the West. For a long time the body was lifeless and without a soul. Suddenly the spirit penetrated the body, Adam sneezed and exclaimed with the angels, "Praise be to Allah."

The notion of the homogeneity of the human race, as expressed in the legend which says that dust was gathered from the whole Earth to create Adam's body, is found in the Talmud (Sanh. 38a). Rav, however, suggested the following: dust was taken for the body from Babylon; the head, Ereẓ Israel; and the remaining limbs, the rest of the countries (Sanh. 38b). The idea that in the beginning Adam lay still as a figure of clay without a soul (golem), also originates from an aggadah (bibliography and interpretation in Bacher, Pal Amor, 2 (1896), 50–51; in addition, Mid. Hag. to Gen. 2:7). The aggadah and the Islamic legend both share the belief that God was the first couple's "best man," and that the forbidden fruit was wheat. This is the reason why Gabriel taught Adam agriculture: wheat banished man from Paradise, but wheat also introduced him to the earthly world. The aggadah is interested in calculating just how the hours of Adam's first day were spent (Sanh. 38b). That Adam did not stay an entire day in Paradise is derived from Psalms 49:13: "But man abides ["spends the night"] not in honor." According to the Islamic legend, Adam foresaw the future generations and their prophets. In the aggadah there is also a most impressive description of how one generation after the other – with its great men and sages – file past Adam (Sanh. 38b; Av. Zar. 5a; arn 31:91; Gen. R. 24:2; pr 23:115).

Nor is there any doubt as to the reciprocity between the Islamic legend and the late Midrash. Thus, for instance, the specific statement that Adam was formed from red, white, and black earth – hence the differences in the complexion of mankind – is a further development of both the late aggadah (Targ. Yer., Gen. 2:7; pdre 11) and the Islamic legend. The Koran (2:28–32) recognizes Adam's superior status in that he knew the names of the creatures and things. Familiar is the Islamic oath: "By Allah who taught the names to Adam" (see Gen. R. 17:4). Pirkei de-R. Eliezer 16 says – under Islamic influence – that Samael came to Eden riding on the serpent; what the serpent said, all came from Samael (similar, Mid. Hag. to Gen. 3:1–5). The following example appears to be significant concerning the mutual influence of aggadah and Islamic legend: Genesis Rabbah 19:8 cites Genesis 2:17: "On the day on which you eat from it, you will die," in connection with Psalms 90:10: "The number of our years is seventy," and thus interprets: "One Lord's Day, that is, 1,000 years [Ps. 90:4] was allotted to Adam, but he only lived 930 years and gave 70 years to each of his descendants." Pirkei de-R. Eliezer 19 relates that Adam gave 70 years of his life to David. According to Tabari (1:156), Adam let David have 40 of his own years.

[Bernard Heller]

Illuminated Manuscripts

Adam and Eve often appear in illuminated manuscripts, especially in the scenes of the Temptation and the period after the Fall. Among them is the Hebrew manuscript (British Museum Add. 11639), where the serpent is shown with a human face. This indicates the influence of the Jewish legend, which relates that before the Temptation of Eve, the serpent had wings, hands, and feet and was the size of a camel. Other illustrations are more conventional in examples such as the British Museum Haggadah (Ms. Or. 2884) and the Haggadah of Sarajevo, but it is interesting to note that the non-Jewish manuscripts such as Octateuch in Istanbul (Serail, Codex 8), a Bible Moralisée in the British Museum (Add. 15248), and Hugo van der Goes' diptych in Vienna are influenced by this Jewish legendary approach.

[Helen Rosenau]

In the Arts

The story of Adam and Eve is frequently exploited in Western literature because of its theological association with the Christian doctrine of Original Sin. The oldest surviving treatment is the 12th-century Anglo-Norman Jeu d'Adam. In medieval English, French, and Spanish miracle plays Adam is represented as a precursor of Jesus. An early Protestant interpretation was Der farend Schueler im Paradeiss (1550), a comedy by the German dramatist and poet Hans Sachs. The drama L'Adamo (1613), by the Italian actor-playwright Giambattista Andreini, probably influenced the English Puritan John *Milton, whose Paradise Lost (1667) depicts Adam as a free agent overcome by Satan, but sustained by his belief in ultimate redemption. This post-medieval conception of the first man also permeates two Dutch works, the Adamus Exul (1601) of Hugo Grotius (Hugo de Groot) and Adam in Ballingschap ("Adam in Exile," 1664) by Joost van den Vondel. Milton's epic poem was dramatized by John Dryden as The State of Innocence, and Fall of Man (1677), while a Rousseauesque yearning for an imagined Golden Age appears in the drama Der Tod Adams (1757) by the German poet F.G. Klopstock.

Some later plays on this theme are Az ember tragédiája ("The Tragedy of Man," 1862) by the Hungarian writer Imre Madách; Adam Stvořitel ("Adam the Creator," 1927) by the Czech authors Josef and Karel Čapek; Nobodaddy (1925) by the American writer Archibald Macleish; and the first part of G.B. Shaw's Back to Methuselah (1921). The English writer C.M. Doughty based his "sacred drama" Adam Cast Forth (1908) on a Judeo-Arabian legend; while Arno *Nadel wrote his play Adam (1917) on the basis of a fragment by S. *An-ski.

In the sphere of art there are early treatments of the Adam and Eve theme in second-century frescoes at Naples and in the Christian chapel at *Dura-Europos in Syria, as well as on Roman sarcophagi. There are also representations in medieval mosaics and in metal and in both Christian manuscripts and Jewish *Haggadot of the Middle Ages. Scenes from the creation of Adam to the expulsion from Eden were much favored by medieval artists and early sculptures include the reclining Eve by the 12th-century French sculptor Gislebertus, and a pair of gaunt figures at Bamberg Cathedral in Germany (c. 1235).

In the 15th century the reawakening feeling for the beauty of the human body gave artists an opportunity to depict the nude within the framework of religious art, particularly in Renaissance Italy. Masaccio's fresco in the Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence (1427) shows Adam and Eve leaving the Garden of Eden with their faces buried in their hands in a striking gesture of despair. In the best-known representation of the theme, Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam (1511) in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, the newly created man reclines on a rock while the Creator sweeps by with the heavenly host. Other treatments are those of Raphael and Tintoretto, and Titian's robustly sensual Fall (1570) in the Prado, Madrid. Adam and Eve were also represented by various masters of the Flemish, Dutch, and German schools, notably the brothers Van Eyck, Albrecht Duerer, Hieronymus Bosch, Lucas Cranach, and Hugo van der Goes. In the painting The Spring by the French artist Nicolas Poussin (1660–64), Adam and Eve are seen in a peaceful landscape resembling a vast park (in the Louvre, Paris). A century later the theme inspired a watercolor by William *Blake, while Marc *Chagall painted a Creation, a Paradise, and an Expulsion from Eden, all remarkable for their iridescent colors. Two modern examples are Rodin's Eve (1881) for his Gates of Hell, and Jacob *Epstein's heroic and deliberately primitive Adam (1938).

The earliest musical work of any distinction based on the Bible story is the opera by the German composer, J.A. Theile, Der erschaffene, gefallene und wieder aufgerichtete Mensch (1678). There have been many librettos based on Milton's Paradise Lost and on its Continental imitations, notably Klopstock's Der Tod Adams, which was set to music as La Mort d'Adam (1809) by the French composer J.-F. Lesueur. Anton *Rubinstein's first oratorio, Das verlorene Paradies (1858), and E. Bossi's Italian "poema sinfonico-vocale," Il paradiso perduto (1903), were both based on Milton's epic. Two interesting French compositions were F. David's L'Eden (1848) and Jules Massenet's stage music for the "mystère" Ève (1875). The American composer Everett Helm's Adam and Eve (1951) is a modern adaptation of a 12th-century mystery play.

See also: *Creation in the Arts.


bible: Amsler, in: Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie, 2 (1958), 107–12; N. Sarna, Understanding Genesis (1966), 1–36. aggadah: Guttmann, Mafte'aḥ, 1 (1906), 621–48; Ginzberg, Legends, 1 (1942), 49–102; 5 (1947), 63–131; Altmann, in: jqr, 35 (1944/45), 371–91; J. Jervell, Imago Dei (1960); Smith, in: bjrl, 40 (1957/58), 473–512; idem, in: E.R. Goodenough Memorial Volume (1968), 315–26.; M. Stone, History of the Literature of Adam and Eve (1992); G. Anderson, The Genesis of Perfection (2001); P. van der Horst, ddd: 5–6. philosophy: Guttmann, Philosophies, 289; D. Kaufmann, Meḥkarim ba-Sifrut ha-Ivrit shel Yemei ha-Beinayim (1962), 126–35; Talmage, in: huca, 39 (1968), 177–218; H.A. Wolfson, Philo, 2 (1947), index. add. bibliography: D. Steinmetz, in: jbl, 13 (1984), 193–207; J. Barr, Garden of Eden (1992); D. Carr, in, zaw, 110 (1998), 327–47; E. Pagels, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent (1998); N. Sarna, Genesis the jps Torah Commentary (1989), 16–30. christian tradition: Driscoll, in: Catholic Encyclopedia, 1 (1907), 131–2; Dictionaire de Théologie Catholique, 1 (1929), 368–86; J. Daniélou, Sacramentum Futuri (1950), 3–52 (Fr.); Jeremias, in: G. Kittel (ed.), Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 1 (1964), 141–3. islam: J.W. Hirschberg, Juedische und christliche Lehren im vor und fruehislamischen Arabien (1939), 47–53, 105–114; A.I. Katsch, Judaism in Islam (1954), index. add. bibliography: Adam, in: eis2, 1, s.v. (incl. bibl.). in the arts: T. Ehrenstein, Das Alte Testament im Bilde (1923), 1–78; The Bible in Art (1956), 5–17; Weitzmann, in: Muenchner Jahrbuchfuer bildende Kunst, 3–4 (1952–53), 96 ff.; Reallexikon zur deutschen Kunstgeschichte, 1 (1937), 126–67 (with illustrations).

views updated


ADAM is the designation and name of the first human creature in the creation narratives found in the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament). The word adam may refer to the fact that this being was an "earthling" formed from the red-hued clay of the earth (in Hebrew, adom means "red," adamah means "earth"). Significantly, this latter report is found only in Genesis 2:7, where the creator god enlivens him by blowing into his nostrils the breath of life. Here the first being is clearly a lone male, since the female was not yet formed from one of his ribs to be his helpmate (ʿezer ke-negdo; Gn. 2:2123). In the earlier textual account of Genesis 1:124a, which is generally considered to be a later version than that found in Genesis 2:4b25, God first consults with his divine retinue and then makes an adam in his own "form and image": "in the form of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Gn. 1:27). If the second clause is not simply a later qualification of a simultaneous creation of a male and a female both known as adam (see also Gn. 5:1), then we may have a trace of the creation of a primordial androgyne.

Later ancient traditions responded to this version by speculating that the original unity was subsequently separated and that marriage is a social restitution of this polarity. Medieval Jewish Qabbalah, which took the expression "in the image of God" with the utmost seriousness, projected a vision of an adam qadmon, or "primordial Adam," as one of the configurations by which the emanation of divine potencies that constituted the simultaneous self-revelation of God and his creation could be imagined. And because Adam is both male and female according to scriptural authority, the qabbalists variously refer to a feminine aspect of the godhead that, like the feminine of the human world, must be reintegrated with its masculine counterpart through religious action and contemplation. Such a straight anthropomorphic reading of Genesis 1:27 was often rejected by religious philosophers especially (both Jewish and Christian), and the language of scripture was interpreted to indicate that the quality which makes the human similar to the divine is the intellect or will. Various intermediate positions have been held, and even some modern Semiticists have preferred to understand the phrase "image of God" metaphorically; that is, as referring to man as a divine "viceroy" (in the light of an Akkadian expression), and this in disregard of clearly opposing testimony in both Mesopotamian creation texts (like Enuma elish ) and biblical language itself (cf. Gn. 5:13).

According to the first scriptural narrative, this adam was the crown of creation. Of his creation alone was the phrase "very good" used by God (Gn. 1:30f.). Moreover, this being was commissioned to rule over the nonhuman creations of the earth as a faithful steward (Gn. 1:292:9). Out of regard for the life under his domain, this being was to be a vegetarian. In the second version (where the specifying designation ha-adam, "the Adam," predominates; cf. Gn. 2:74:1), the creature is put into a divine garden as its caretaker and told not to eat of two treesthe tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life, that is, the two sources of knowledge and beingunder pain of death (Gn. 2:1517). This interdict is subsequently broken, with the result that death, pain of childbirth, and a blemished natural world were decreed for humankind (Gn. 3:1419).

This primordial fault, which furthermore resulted in the banishment of Adam and his companion from the garden (Gn. 3:2224), and the subsequent propagation of the human species as such (Gn. 4:1ff.), has been variously treated. The dominant rabbinic tradition is that the sin of Adam resulted in mortality for humankind and did not constitute a qualitative change in the nature of the speciesit was not now set under the sign of sin as it was in the main Christian tradition, beginning with Paul and exemplified in the theologies of Augustine and John Calvin. For Christian theology, the innate corruption of human nature that resulted from Adam's fall was restored by the atoning death of a new Adam, Jesus (cf. 1 Cor. 15:22). In one Christian tradition, the redemptive blood of Christ flowed onto the grave of Adam, who was buried under Calvary in the Holy Sepulcher. The typologizing of Adam in Jewish tradition often focused on him as the prototype of humankind, and so the episode in Eden was read as exemplary or allegorical of the human condition and the propensity to sin. In this light, various spiritual, moral, or even legal consequences were also drawn, particularly with respect to the unity of the human race deriving from this "one father"a race formed, according to one legend, from different colored clays found throughout the earth. In addition, mystics, philosophical contemplatives, and Gnostics of all times saw in the life of Adam a pattern for their own religious quest of lifeas, for example, the idea that the world of the first Adam was one of heavenly luminosity, subsequently diminished; the idea that Adam was originally a spiritual being, subsequently transformed into a being of fleshhis body became his "garments of shame"; or even the idea that Adam in Eden was originally sunk in deep contemplation of the divine essence but that he subsequently became distracted, with the result that he became the prisoner of the phenomenal world. For many of these traditions, the spiritual ideal was to retrieve the lost spiritual or mystical harmony Adam originally had with God and all being.

Apocryphal books about Adam and his life were produced in late antiquity and in the Middle Ages, and the theme was also quite popular in Jewish and Christian iconography, in medieval morality plays, and in Renaissance art and literature. Well known among the latter is John Milton's Paradise Lost, illustrated by John Dryden. Michelangelo's great Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel, the Edenic world in the imagination of the modern painter Marc Chagall, and the agonies of loss, guilt, and punishment seen in the works of Franz Kafka demonstrate the continuing power of the theme of Adam's expulsion from Eden.

See Also

Eve; Fall, The; Paradise.


Fishbane, Michael. Text and Texture. New York, 1979. See pages 1723.

Ginzberg, Louis. The Legends of the Jews (19091938). 7 vols. Translated by Henrietta Szold et al. Reprint, Philadelphia, 19371966. See volume 1, pages 49102; volume 5, pages 63131; and the index.

Le Bachelet, Xavier. "Adam." In Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, vol. 1, cols. 368386. Paris, 1903.

Sarna, Nahum M. Understanding Genesis. New York, 1972. See pages 1218.

Speiser, E. A. Genesis. Anchor Bible, vol. 1. Garden City, N.Y., 1964. See pages 328.

Michael Fishbane (1987)

views updated


The name given in the genealogical lists of Gn 4.255.5 to the first human being, identical in form with the Hebrew word for man, 'ādām. He is named simply Man, not merely because he was the first man, but rather because he was regarded as the type of all mankind (Gn 5.2). However, in the story of paradise and the Fall of Man in Gn 2.4b3.24 the term is always preceded by the definite article in Hebrew, hā-ādām, "the man," and therefore in this section it should not be translated as if it were a proper noun. The Hebrew word 'ādām means man in the sense of "mankind"; to designate an individual man, Hebrew must use the term ben ādām, son, i.e., member, of the human race. This fact is of some importance in the interpretation of the story of the fall of man, in which the inspired author is speaking not so much about an individual man as about the whole human race typified by this individual.

The derivation of the Hebrew word 'ādām is uncertain. Probably there is nothing more than a folk etymology in Gn 2.7 where it is implied that man is called 'ādām because God formed him out of the dirt of the 'ădāmâ (ground). But in any case, the author of Gn 2.4b3.24

makes skillful use of this derivation: because man ('ādām ) was formed from the ground ('ădāmâ ), he is destined to till the ground (Gn 2.5) in hard labor (3.17, 23) and ultimately go back to it in death (3.17).

According to the genealogies of the patriarchs, Adam lived for 930 years (Gn 5.5). The children that eve bore him were Cain, Abel and Seth (4.12, 25).

After these first few chapters of Genesis, Adam is not mentioned again in the Old Testament until the books written in the last few centuries before Christ (1 Chr 1.1; Tb 8.6; Sir 17.14; 49.16; Wis 2.2324; 9.23; 10.12), when people began to speculate about the first man. Several curious tales are told about Adam in the apocryphal and rabbinical writings.

In the New Testament, besides the passing references in Lk 3.38, Acts 17.26, and Jude 14, Adam is mentioned in connection with the Christian doctrine on marriage (Mt 19.46; Eph 5.31), the position of women (1 Cor 11.712; 1 Tm 2.1314), and especially the teachings of St. Paul on the universality of grace (Rom 5.1221), the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor 15.2122), and the state of the glorified body (1 Cor 15.4549). Paul draws an important contrast between "the first, the old, the earthly Adam" of Genesis and "the second, the new, the heavenly Adam" who is Christ; the former is the "figure" (τύπος) of the latter (Rom 5.14). The Christian must "strip off the old Adam and his deeds and put on the new Adam, so that he may be renewed unto perfect knowledge according to the image of his Creator" (Col 3.910).

In theology both Greek and Latin fathers affirmed a privileged state for Adam, head of the human race, before his sin, but the enumeration and analysis of his gifts were arrived at slowly. Some, such as Gregory of Nyssa, tended to elaborate; others, such as Irenaeus, tended to attenuate the Genesis paradisal passages. Augustine formulated the traditional gifts: immortality, impassibility, integrity,

a marvelous knowledge. He made the gift of original justice seem the same as sanctifying grace. Anselm followed Augustine but saw original justice as pertaining to the nature of man. Aquinas taught that Adam was created in grace but left room for a distinction between sanctifying grace and original justice, the former regarded not as a formal constituent of original justice but as efficient cause. He followed Augustine's enumeration of the gifts, as did most scholastics up until the present century. A triple subordination existed in Adam. His reason was subject to God, the lower powers to reason, the body to the soul; and the first subjection was the cause of both the second and third (St. Thomas, Summa theologiae, 1a, 95.1). The Church is more cautious than its theologians. Nowhere are the gifts singly defined. Trent uses the phrase "holiness and justice" to indicate them (H. Denzinger, Enchiridion symbolorum, 1511).

The theory of evolution and the findings of paleontology have proposed many questions about the first man (see evolution). Were there many Adams or just one? Was Adam the paragon of creation or a cave man? Did he know the natures of all created things or was his knowledge very primitive? Contemporary sciences dealing with the origin of man seem to contradict the traditional concept of Adam. "If the details of the evolutionary theory regarding man are still hypothetical, its general direction is uncontestably shown [and] the conception of a primitive paradisal state would seem to be absolutely outside the facts" (Gardeil).

Contemporary theology on Adam has accepted, in general, this trend in scientific thought. Pius XII in 1950 reminded Catholics that "the Catholic faith obliges us to believe that souls are immediately created by God" and that Adam cannot be regarded as representing a certain number of first parents since "it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with what the fonts of revelation and the pronouncements of the magisterium

of the Church set forth concerning original sin" (Enchiridion symbolorum, 389697).

Toward a harmony of science and revealed truth, theologians make many points. Three may be mentioned here. There is a parallel between the production of the first man and that of any man. As in the latter case biology cannot ascertain the fact of the infusion of the soul by God, so in the former paleontology cannot ascertain the fact of the divine intervention. Again, sanctifying grace is not to be judged or measured by technology. The first man may indeed have been a primitive; this does not rule out his friendship with god. Finally, the special endowments of Adam may be interpreted now as "germs or possibilities rather than perfections actually realized" (Gardeil).

See Also: eve; creation, articles on; original sin.

Bibliography: Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 190350; Tables générales 1951), Tables générales 1:3033. j. schildenberger, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (Freiburg 195765) 1:127130. a. robert and a. tricot, Guide to the Bible, tr. e. p. arbez and m. p. mc guire, 2 v. (Tournai-New York 195155; v. 1 rev. and enl. 1960) 1:174, excellent bibliog. on European and American lit. to 1960. l. pirot and j. b. frey, Dictionnaire de la Bible, suppl. ed. l. pirot et al. (Paris 1928) 1:86134. j. jeremias, in g. kittel, Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament (Stuttgart 1935) 1:141143. j. daniÉlou, From Shadows to Reality, tr. w. hibberd (Westminster, Md. 1960). a. vitti, "Christus-Adam," Biblica 7 (1926) 121145, 270285, 384401. c. westermann, Genesis 111 (Minneapolis, 198486). thomas aquinas, Summa theologiae, 1a, 90102, and commentary by h. d. gardeil in Somme théologique I.90102: Les Origines de l'homme, tr. a. patfoort (Paris 1963) 423451. j. coppens, La Connaissance du bien et du mal et le péché du Paradis (Louvain 1948), also in Revue biblique 56 (1949) 300308. j. de fraine, The Bible and the Origins of Man (New York 1962). a. m. dubarle, Le Péché originel dans l'Écriture (Paris 1958). c. hauret, Beginnings: Genesis and Modern Science, tr. and ed. e. p. emmans (Dubuque 1964). m. m. labourdette, Le Péché originel et les origines de l'homme (Paris 1953). j. l. mckenzie, Myths and Realities (Milwaukee 1963) 146181. r. j. nogar, The Wisdom of Evolution (Garden City, N.Y. 1963). h. renckens, Israel's Concept of the Beginning, tr. c. napier (New York 1964). l. f. hartman, "Sin in Paradise," The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 20 (1958) 2640, with fine bibliog. c. reilly, "Adam and Primitive Man," The Irish Theological Quarterly 26 (1959) 331345. c. vollert, "Evolution and the Bible," Symposium on Evolution (Pittsburgh 1959) 81119.

[e. h. peters/

t. r. heath/eds.]

views updated

adamantabeyant, mayn't •ambient, circumambient •gradient, irradiant, radiant •expedient, ingredient, mediant, obedient •valiant • salient • resilient • emollient •defoliant • ebullient • suppliant •convenient, intervenient, lenient, prevenient •sapient •impercipient, incipient, percipient, recipient •recreant • variant • miscreant •Orient • nutrient •esurient, luxuriant, parturient, prurient •nescient, prescient •omniscient • insouciant • renunciant •officiant • negotiant • deviant •subservient • transient •affiant, Bryant, client, compliant, defiant, giant, pliant, reliant •buoyant, clairvoyant, flamboyant •fluent, pursuant, truant •affluent • effluent • mellifluent •confluent • circumfluent • congruent •issuant • continuant • constituent •lambent • absorbent •incumbent, recumbent •couchant • merchant • hadn't •ardent, guardant, regardant •pedant •appendant, ascendant, attendant, codependent, defendant, descendant, descendent, intendant, interdependent, pendant, pendent, splendent, superintendent, transcendent •antecedent, decedent, needn't, precedent •didn't • diffident • confident •accident • dissident •coincident, incident •oxidant • evident •improvident, provident •president, resident •strident, trident •co-respondent, correspondent, despondent, fondant, respondent •accordant, concordant, discordant, mordant, mordent •rodent •imprudent, jurisprudent, prudent, student •couldn't, shouldn't, wouldn't •impudent •abundant, redundant •decadent • verdant • infant • elephant •triumphant • sycophant • elegant •fumigant • congregant • litigant •termagant • arrogant • extravagant •pageant •cotangent, plangent, tangent •argent, Sargent, sergeant •agent • newsagent • regent •astringent, contingent, stringent •indigent • intelligent • negligent •diligent • intransigent • exigent •cogent •effulgent, fulgent, indulgent •pungent •convergent, detergent, divergent, emergent, insurgent, resurgent, urgent •bacchant • peccant • vacant • piquant •predicant • mendicant • significant •applicant • supplicant • communicant •lubricant • desiccant • intoxicant •gallant, talent •appellant, propellant, propellent, repellent, water-repellent •resemblant •assailant, inhalant •sealant • sibilant • jubilant •flagellant • vigilant • pestilent •silent •Solent, volant •coolant • virulent • purulent •ambulant, somnambulant •coagulant • crapulent • flatulent •feculent • esculent • petulant •stimulant • flocculent • opulent •postulant • fraudulent • corpulent •undulant •succulent, truculent •turbulent • violent • redolent •indolent • somnolent • excellent •insolent • nonchalant •benevolent, malevolent, prevalent •ambivalent, equivalent •garment • clement • segment •claimant, clamant, payment, raiment •ailment •figment, pigment •fitment • aliment • element •oddment •dormant, informant •moment • adamant • stagnant •lieutenant, pennant, subtenant, tenant •pregnant, regnant •remnant • complainant •benignant, indignant, malignant •recombinant • contaminant •eminent •discriminant, imminent •dominant, prominent •illuminant, ruminant •determinant • abstinent •continent, subcontinent •appurtenant, impertinent, pertinent •revenant •component, deponent, exponent, opponent, proponent •oppugnant, repugnant •immanent •impermanent, permanent •dissonant • consonant • alternant •covenant • resonant • rampant •discrepant • flippant • participant •occupant • serpent •apparent, arrant, transparent •Arendt •aberrant, deterrent, errant, inherent, knight-errant •entrant •declarant, parent •grandparent • step-parent •godparent •flagrant, fragrant, vagrant •registrant • celebrant • emigrant •immigrant • ministrant • aspirant •antiperspirant • recalcitrant •integrant • tyrant • vibrant • hydrant •migrant, transmigrant •abhorrent, torrent, warrant •quadrant • figurant • obscurant •blackcurrant, concurrent, currant, current, occurrent, redcurrant •white currant • cross-current •undercurrent •adherent, coherent, sederunt •exuberant, protuberant •reverberant • denaturant •preponderant • deodorant •different, vociferant •belligerent, refrigerant •accelerant • tolerant • cormorant •itinerant • ignorant • cooperant •expectorant • adulterant •irreverent, reverent •nascent, passant •absent •accent, relaxant •acquiescent, adolescent, albescent, Besant, coalescent, confessant, convalescent, crescent, depressant, effervescent, erubescent, evanescent, excrescent, flavescent, fluorescent, immunosuppressant, incandescent, incessant, iridescent, juvenescent, lactescent, liquescent, luminescent, nigrescent, obsolescent, opalescent, pearlescent, phosphorescent, pubescent, putrescent, quiescent, suppressant, tumescent, turgescent, virescent, viridescent •adjacent, complacent, obeisant •decent, recent •impuissant, reminiscent •Vincent • puissant •beneficent, maleficent •magnificent, munificent •Millicent • concupiscent • reticent •docent •lucent, translucent •discussant, mustn't •innocent •conversant, versant •consentient, sentient, trenchant •impatient, patient •ancient • outpatient •coefficient, deficient, efficient, proficient, sufficient •quotient • patent •interactant, reactant •disinfectant, expectant, protectant •repentant • acceptant •contestant, decongestant •sextant •blatant, latent •intermittent •assistant, coexistent, consistent, distant, equidistant, existent, insistent, persistent, resistant, subsistent, water-resistant •instant •cohabitant, habitant •exorbitant • militant • concomitant •impenitent, penitent •palpitant • crepitant • precipitant •competent, omnicompetent •irritant • incapacitant • Protestant •hesitant • visitant • mightn't • octant •remontant • constant •important, oughtn't •accountant • potent •mutant, pollutant •adjutant • executant • disputant •reluctant •consultant, exultant, resultant •combatant • omnipotent • impotent •inadvertent •Havant, haven't, savant, savante •advent •irrelevant, relevant •pursuivant • solvent • convent •adjuvant •fervent, observant, servant •manservant • maidservant •frequent, sequent •delinquent • consequent •subsequent • unguent • eloquent •grandiloquent, magniloquent •brilliant • poignant • hasn't •bezant, omnipresent, peasant, pheasant, pleasant, present •complaisant • malfeasant • isn't •cognizant • wasn't • recusant •doesn't

views updated


Play by Joshua Sobol, 1989

Adam (1989), the second of three plays in a Holocaust triptych by Israeli playwright Joshua Sobol, dramatizes the historical struggle for power in the Vilna ghetto between Judenrat leader Jacob Gens and United Partisan Organization (UPO) leader Yitzhak Wittenberg, whom Sobol calls Adam Rolenick in the play. Unlike in Sobol's most popular and widely known drama about the Holocaust, Ghetto, Gens in Adam is not portrayed favorably but rather as an accomplice of the Nazi ghetto liquidator Kittel. In this play Gens and the members of the UPO disagree strongly on the most suitable course of action to take against the Nazis. Gens, believing that the Russian army will rescue them in a few months (they are approaching from the east), demands that the Jews be patient and act peacefully in order to avoid the attention and the wrath of the Nazis. The UPO believes, contrariwise, that the Jews in the ghetto must arm themselves with weapons and fight against the Nazis because the liquidation of the ghetto is inevitable; they must take their fate into their own hands and, if successful in their attempt to fight their way out of the ghetto, join the partisans in the forest. The clash in the methodology pits the two sides on a collision course because Kittel is under orders, as a consequence of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, to liquidate any ghetto that shows evidence of armed underground activity. Therefore, the actions of the UPO could potentially save the lives of the Jews in the ghetto or at least allow them to die with dignity, but, conversely, their actions could incite the Nazis to destroy everyone in the ghetto. Both Gens and the members of the UPO have a plausible argument, but Sobol chooses to tell the story primarily from the perspective of Rolenick (Wittenberg) and his lover, Nadya, who survives the ghetto and whose purpose in the play is to serve as a narrator of the action and an eyewitness.

After a Lithuanian partisan named Kaslaskas is captured by the Nazis and, under torture, provides them with Rolenick's name, Kittel decides to capture Rolenick so that he can torture him, thus finding out all the information he can regarding the armed underground resistance in Vilna. Because of his desire to prevent the liquidation of the ghetto, which would occur if armed resistance and contact with partisans were discovered, Gens works against the UPO, arranging to turn their leader, Rolenick, over to Kittel. When Gens sets up a meeting at night with Rolenick, Kittel is there with some Nazi soldiers to arrest the UPO leader. To Kittel's surprise there are UPO members conducting surveillance of the arrest; they attack the Nazis and free Rolenick, thus allowing him to hide in the ghetto. The UPO attack on Kittel's Nazi officers is simultaneously a success and a failure, for the underground rescues their leader but at the same time exposes their military operations and insults the Nazis, jeopardizing the lives of the 15,000 Jews who inhabit the Vilna ghetto. Gens is then faced with an ultimatum from Kittel: turn Rolenick over to him within a few hours or the ghetto will be liquidated and all of the Jews will die. Once again Gens comes into conflict with the UPO. Kittel successfully turns the Jews against themselves: Gens sends a frantic message to his constituents, claiming that all of them will die unless they find Rolenick within a few hours and turn him over to Kittel. The inhabitants of the Vilna ghetto proceed with a desperate search for Rolenick; the members of the UPO decide initially to fight in order to protect Rolenick, yet they back down because that involves fighting against and injuring their fellow Jews. Ultimately the UPO agrees reluctantly to surrender their leader, much to his dismay. Rolenick asserts prophetically that any organization willing to surrender its leader will never succeed.

Adam Rolenick turns himself over to Gens, who, surprisingly, is rather disappointed. Gens has expected—and even desired—an armed revolt against the Nazis. Gens, therefore, is a very complex character: He works against the armed resistance because of his role as ghetto leader, but he, conversely, sympathizes with the movement and would have enthusiastically joined it if the revolt had occurred. Because Rolenick turns himself in, however, the UPO becomes fragmented and never attempts the military battle that they had planned. As Rolenick correctly predicts, the ghetto is ultimately liquidated with no resistance, as the Jewish inhabitants, who turned against the underground movement, go meekly to their deaths. As for the members of the UPO, some of them escape to the forest, where they join the partisans.

In Adam Sobol dramatizes one instance, based on historical documents and eyewitness accounts, of how the Nazis successfully turned the Jews against themselves. The Jewish inhabitants of the ghetto wanted so desperately to live that they, ironically, helped to destroy the only organization that could have saved them.

—Eric Sterling

views updated


ADAM , Jewish monthly literary journal in the Romanian language. The first number of Adam was published in Bucharest on April 15, 1929. The journal was subsequently published for 12 years, until July 1940, in book form. Its founder and director was the writer and publicist I. *Ludo (Isac Iacovitz). He edited the review until 1936, when he left Romania temporarily and sold it to Miron Grindea and Idov Cohn. They continued publication until their emigration from Romania, Miron Grindea to England (where he published a new review under the same name in London in English) and Idov Cohn (Cohen) to Palestine. Adam was a successful publication, reflecting the personality of its editor, Ludo, who wrote most of the articles. He succeeded in attracting various contributors, intellectuals with various outlooks, among them Felix *Aderca, Ury *Benador, F. Brunea-Fox, Ion Calugaru, Avraham *Feller, Benjamin Fundoianu, Jacob Gropper, Rabbi M.A. Halevy, Michael *Landau, Theodor Loewenstein, Marius *Mircu, Chief Rabbi Jacob Niemirower, Eugen *Relgis, and A.L. *Zissu. Some of them (as well as others) served their literary apprenticeship at Adam. It was a review that refused to surrender to the ghetto mentality and also attracted non-Jewish contributors, among whom the best known were Tudor Arghezi, Gala Galaction, Eugen Lovinescu, and N.D. Cocea. Adam also featured many illustrations, including work by Victor *Brauner, Marcel *Jancu, M.H. *Maxy, Jules *Perachim, and Reuven *Rubin. Adam also engaged in polemics. Its basic idea was that Jewish-Romanian writers, before they could be Romanian writers, must be Jewish writers. In 1939, Adam published a yearbook on the occasion of its tenth anniversary.


Adam (1929–40); Almanahul Adam (1939); A. Mirodan, Dictionar neconventional, 1 (1986), 18–21; M. Mircu, Povestea presei evreiesti din Romania (2003), 320–58; H. Kuller, Presa evreiasca bucuresteana (1996), 116–19.

[Lucian-Zeev Herscovici (2nd ed.)]

views updated

Adam (Heb., ‘man’), In W. tradition, the first human being. According to the first creation account in Genesis, Adam was created in the image of God (1. 27) on the final day of creation. In Genesis 2, he is said to have been made from the dust of the earth (Heb., adamah, ‘earth’) and to have become a living soul after God had breathed into him (2. 7) As a result of disobedience God punished them by evicting them from the Garden of Eden and condemning the man to toil for his living (Genesis 2. 5–3. 24). Despite the punishment, Judaism does not understand the fall of Adam as having created a radical fault, as does Christianity, requiring the second Adam (i.e., Christ) to deal with the fault and its effects. The ‘fall’ is a fall upwards, into new opportunities of action and knowledge.

In Islam, Adam is not only the first human being but the first prophet, entrusted by Allāh with a message for humankind. Allāh is said to have made a covenant with Adam and with his descendants (7. 172), and he is thus in a special sense the father of all humankind.

views updated

Adam (in the biblical and Koranic traditions) the name of the first man. According to the Book of Genesis, Adam was created by God as the progenitor of the human race and lived with Eve in the garden of Eden.

In the Bible the Book of Genesis describes how Adam was formed from the dust of the ground and God's breath; Eve, the first woman, was created from one of Adam's ribs as his companion. They lived together in the Garden of Eden until the serpent tempted Eve to eat an apple from the forbidden tree; she persuaded Adam to do the same. As a result of this original sin of disobedience they were both expelled from the garden.

Adam comes from Hebrew 'āḏām ‘man’, later taken to be a name.
Adam's apple the projection formed in the neck by the thyroid cartilage, named from the belief that a piece of the forbidden fruit became lodged in Adam's throat.
Adam's rib the rib from which Eve was formed, as in Genesis 2:22.
the old Adam the unregenerate condition or character, and depends on the identification of Adam as the figure referred to by St Paul in Romans 6:6.
when Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman? popular rhyme particularly associated with the itinerant preacher John Ball, a leader of the 1381 ‘Peasants' Revolt’, who used it to incite the people against their feudal lords.
See also second Adam.

views updated

Will Adams (William Adams), 1564?–1620, first Englishman to visit Japan. As pilot of a Dutch ship searching for gold and trade, he reached Japan in 1600. At first imprisoned and sentenced to death, Adams was released by the shogun Ieyasu, and soon became one of his favorites, advising him on navigation, trade, and Western affairs. The Japanese used vessels constructed under his direction for many of their longer voyages. Adams attempted to foster trade relations with England, and he made trading trips to the Ryukyu Islands, Siam, and Cochin China. He married a Japanese woman, acquired a Japanese name (Anjin Sama, or Mr. Pilot), was named an honorary samurai, and was given an estate at Yokosuka. Western trade with Japan was largely maintained by dint of his close relationship with the shogun. Shortly after Adams's death, foreign trade was prohibited and Japan was closed to the West until the arrival of Matthew Perry more than 200 more years later. Adams's story forms the basis of James Clavell's novel Shogun (1975).

See his letters (ed. by T. Randall, 1850) and his logbook (ed. by C. J. Purnell, 1916); biography by G. Milton (2003); R. Cocks, Diary (1964); and H. H. Gowen, Five Foreigners in Japan (1936, repr. 1967).

views updated


ADAM (Heb. אָדָם), city on the eastern bank of the Jordan River mentioned in Joshua 3:16 as the place where the Jordan ceased flowing at the time of the Israelite crossing. It also appears in the inscriptions of Pharaoh Shishak (10th century b.c.e.). King Solomon's foundries were in the vicinity of Adam (i Kings 7:46; ii Chron. 4:17). The place is perhaps also mentioned in Hosea 6:7 and Psalms 68:19, 78:60, and 83:11 as an ancient site of worship.

The ford that was situated during ancient times at Adam is marked on the *Madaba Map and is still found at a place the Arabs call Damiyeh on the road from Shechem to Gilead and Moab. It is south of the confluence of the Jabbok and the Jordan on the one side and north of the mouth of Wadi Fariah on the other. On the small Tell el-Damiyeh near the ford, potsherds from the Canaanite and Israelite periods (Late Bronze to Iron Age i–ii) as well as from the Roman and Byzantine periods have been found.


Kutscher, in: bjpes, 2 (1935), 42; Torczyner, ibid., 11 (1944–5), 9 ff.; Goitein, ibid., 13 (1947), 86–88; Albright, in: aasor, 6 (1926), 47 ff.; idem, in: basor, 19 (1925), 19; J. Garstang, Joshua-Judges (1931), 355; Noth, in: zdpv, 61 (1938), 288; Glueck, in: basor, 90 (1943), 5; idem, in: aasor, 25–28 (1951), 329–34; Aharoni, Land, index.

[Michael Avi-Yonah]