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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

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Paradise

PARADISE

Paradise is a place or state of bliss and immortality. This concept has its roots in the description and conditions of the Garden of Eden in Genesis, but appears in other places in the Old Testament and the New Testament and in extraBiblical writings, in all of which it has undergone considerable development. This article will discuss first the terminology and then the concept of paradise as related to the primeval age, the eschatological age, and the present age.

Terminology. The word paradise comes to us through the Greek παράδεισος, which in turn derives from the ancient Persian pairidaēza, meaning an enclosure wall, the space enclosed, and finally a park. This Persian term was taken over by late Hebrew in the form of pardēs and is found in Neh 2.8; Eccl 2.5; and Sg 4.12. The Septuagint uses παράδεισος to translate both pardēs and the more classical Hebrew word for garden, gan, whether there be reference to a garden in the ordinary sense (e.g., Nm 24.6; Is 1.30; Jer 29.5) or to the Garden of eden (Gn 2.83.24 passim; Jl 2.3), which is elsewhere called the Garden of God (e.g., Gn 13.10; Is 51.3; Ez 28.13; 31.89) or simply Eden (e.g., Ez 31.9, 16, 18; Sir 40.27). In later Jewish writings and in the New Testament, Paradise takes on a special and at times intricate religious significance.

Paradise of Primeval Age. The Yahwist narrative of Gn 2.4b3.24 states that after creation man was placed in a garden (gan ) where trees of all kinds grew (including the tree of life and the tree of knowledge), where there was copious water and a wide assortment of natural life. References to the Garden of Eden or the Garden of God are found in Gn 13.10; Is 51.3; Ez 31.89; 36.35; Jl2.3; and Sir 40.27, with slightly varying terminology being used. The enigmatic Ez 28.1319 not only speaks of Eden, the Garden of God, but also gives a kind of parallel and variant tradition of the Fall; in this text there is reference to a richly clad royal figure, a mountain, a cherub, and a fall from pristine innocence through trafficking and haughtiness (to mention some obvious features that differentiate it from the Genesis account).

In Genesis one may note several discordant features within the account, e.g., the probable reference to a kind of artesian well in 2.6 stands in contrast with the river system in 2.1014, from both of which the ground or earth (Heb. ădāmâ ) is watered (the ădāmâ being understood for the moment as outside the Garden). In 2.9 the reference to the Tree of Knowledge seems to be added to the verse, and 3.3 bears out the suggestion. In 3.2223 only the man is spoken of as being driven out of the Garden, although the narrative has involved the woman very intimately. These examples point to various elements having been brought together from different sources with clever, but not perfect, literary skill.

From these and other disharmonies, it appears that there are various teachings in this account. One teaching is sin's influence on the earth's poverty (3.1719), although one is free to suggest that the real cause is man's lack of industry and resourcefulness in his fallen condition. The Garden, too, is depicted as a place of blessedness and of closeness to God. One may note here, as in the case of Utnapishtim's dwelling in the gilgamesh epic, the idea of remoteness: "far away at the mouth of the rivers" [J. B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament 2 (2d, rev. ed. Princeton 1955) 95b]. Thus Gn 2.8 speaks of the Garden "out in the steppe" ("Eden" presupposing the Sumerian e d i n, via the Akkadian edinu, which means steppe), "off towards the East"the terms that are both vague and somewhat mysterious. The Hebrew ēden (delight) is a clever and significant wordplay. The parallel use of terms in Is 51.3 brings out the same idea.

The possible location of Paradise has long intrigued men, especially those of fundamentalist outlook who have little knowledge of and concern for literary forms. Since two of the four rivers in 2.1014 can be identified, the p erāt and the iddeqel being the Euphrates and the Tigris respectively, while the other two remain difficult to identify, many have thought of some location near the headwaters of the above named rivers. It is, however, extremely doubtful that the Yahwist had scientific geography in mind. He more likely borrowed famous names out of the past, thus adding to the luster of the Garden which was not the site where earliest man actually lived. The emphasis is on man's primitive state and his lost opportunity for immortality. The number four elicits a note of universality (cf. "four corners of the earth" in Is 11.12 and the "four winds" in Mt 24.31).

Paradise in the Eschatological Age. In the writings of the Old Testament Prophets man's future happiness vaguely situated in the "latter times"is often depicted in terms reminiscent of Paradise. The peace and ideal justice to be procured by the messianic king will be like those of Paradise in Is 11.611. The same image is found in Hos 2.20, where peace in the animal kingdom and cessation of war are depicted. References to Eden are found in descriptions of the Promised Land in Is 51.3 and Ez 36.35, while the promise of longevity reminiscent of the immortality proffered to man in Eden is found in Is 65.1725.

According to the Apocrypha and some rabbinical writings, Paradise will be the place of reward and bliss following upon judgment (e.g., Enoch 61.113; Testament of Levi 18.1014; Apocalypse of Baruch 4). In

these descriptions one finds the most varied ideas, e.g., Paradise is to be established in Jerusalem; the Tree of Life will flourish once more. The eschatological Paradise is often identified with the primeval Paradise. The Testament of Levi 18.10 tells how the high priest of the messianic age will open the gates of Paradise and remove the flaming sword mentioned in Gn 3.24. On the other hand, Paradise was described by some rabbis as close to gehenna or as associated with sheol, the latter term now being taken as one form of reference to future bliss [for many references, see R. H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (Oxford 1913) 1:861 s.v. "Paradise"].

In the New Testament Paradise is described with more restraint, and only three times by name. Of these references only Rv 2.7 is of interest. In this text the conquerors are promised the fruit of the Tree of Life that is in the Paradise of God. This fruit, symbolizing a very real spiritual value, is already available. Such a notion is common to New Testament thought, where union with Christ anticipates eschatological benefits. Revelation ch. 22 is filled with imagery drawn from Genesis ch. 2 and 3, although Paradise is not specifically named.

Paradise in the Present Age. If one makes the identification of the primeval Paradise with that to come, one might presuppose that Paradise has never ceased to exist. Such a notion could be derived from Gn 3.2324, understood in a crassly literal sense. On the other hand, as the doctrine on retribution after death developed, and a separate lot for the good and the wicked was postulated, speculation regarding entrance into Paradise quite normally increased. Some of the apocryphal writings state that after death and prior to resurrection the elect (and especially the Patriarchs) will be placed in Paradise (see Jubilees 4.23). The location of Paradise was likewise discussed. Some situated it, with Gn 2.8, in the East (e.g., Jubilees 8.16); others placed it in the North (Enoch 61.14; cf. 77.3; is 14.13); and still others placed it in the West (reported by Josephus as Essene doctrine in Bell. Jud. 2.155158; 4 Esdras 14.9). Still others assumed, seemingly, that after the Fall of Man, Paradise was removed from the earth and taken up to heaven with God (Life of Adam and Eve 25.3; Apocalypse of Baruch 4.6; 4 Esdras 4.78) and is, more precisely, in the "third heaven" (Apocalypse of Moses 37.5; Slavonic Enoch 8.1).

In the New Testament in Lk 23.43 Our Lord refers to the then already existing temporary abode of the just after their death. The notion is linked to that of abraham's bosom, mentioned in Lk 16.23. In 2 Cor 12.24 Paradise is situated in the "third heaven" (an identification found in Slavonic Enoch 8.1), God's abode being the "seventh heaven." Underlying the "great chasm" of Lk 16.26 is the same notion of temporary beatitude, opposed in this instance to hades. With our present knowledge of the universe it is impossible to point toward Paradise, i.e., heaven, as a distinctive place, though it would seem preferable to conceive of it as a place distinct from the earth.

See Also: afterlife, 2.

Bibliography: c. cothenet, Dictionnaire de la Bible, suppl. ed. l. pirot, et al. (Paris 1928) 6:11771220. Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible, tr. and adap. by l. hartman (New York 1963), from a. van den born, Bijbels Woordenboek 172025. p. hoffmann, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 8:6972. a. jepsen and f. hesse, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (ed ed. Tübingen 195765) 5:96100. j. jeremias, g. kittel Theologisches Wöterbuch zum Neuen Testament (Stuttgart 1935) 5:763771. j. l. mckenzie, "The Literary Characteristics of Gn 23," Theological Studies 15 (1954) 541572. h. renckens, Israel's Concept of the Beginning, tr. c. napier (New York 1964) 204213. j. daniÉlou, From Shadows to Reality, tr. w. hibberd (Westminster, Md. 1960) 1165. j. weisengoff, "Paradise and St. Luke 23:43," American Ecclesiastical Review 103 (1940) 163167.

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Paradise

PARADISE

PARADISE . The word paradise originated from Old Persian pairidaeza, which meant "walled enclosure, pleasure park, garden." Pairidaeza came into Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek retaining its original meanings. It appears three times in the Hebrew scriptures (Neh. 2:8, Eccl. 2:5, Sg. 4:13) and also in later rabbinic literature. In the Septuagint, the Hebrew word for "garden" was usually translated by the Greek paradeisos. In Genesis 23 paradeisos refers to the original Garden of Eden (lit., "delight").

The earliest known description of a paradisial garden appears on a cuneiform tablet from protoliterate Sumer. It begins with a eulogy of Dilmun, a place that is pure, clean, and bright, a land of the living who do not know sickness, violence, or aging. It lacks one thing only: fresh water. This, however, is soon supplied by the sun god Utu at the command of the Sumerian water god Enki. Dilmun is thereby transformed into a garden with fruit trees, edible plants, and green meadows. Dilmun is a garden of the gods, not for humans, although one learns that Ziusudra, the Sumerian Noah, was exceptionally admitted to the divine paradise.

The Garden of Eden

According to the mythical narrative in Genesis 23, God planted a garden in Eden and therein placed man to till and keep it. God also caused trees to grow in the garden. The Edenic paradise was mainly arboreal, thereby providing food for man. The original human diet seems to have been vegetarian. According to Genesis 9, it was only laterafter the Floodthat the descendants of Adam (Noah and his family) were permitted to eat flesh. A dietary restriction remained, however, for flesh containing blood was not to be eaten (Gn. 9:4).

The garden was the source of the world's sweet waters. A river not only watered the garden but flowed out of it to become four rivers (Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates), apparently to water the four directions or quarters of the world (Gn. 2:1014).

The myth recognizes a deficiency in man's life in Eden: He is alone. This solitariness is soon relieved, for God forms beasts and birds. These living creatures are brought to man to be named. The naming signifies his mastery of the animals. Still, it is said, man does not have a suitable companion. The account of the creation of woman (Eve) follows. She is said to have been created from the rib (bone) of Adam, perhaps reflecting an archaic religious identification of the essence of life with bone (rather than with blood, as in Genesis 9). Adam and Eve become "one flesh."

One of the creatures of God, the serpent, approaches Eve and inquires whether God has placed any limits on the trees from which the couple may eat. Earlier in the narrative (2:9), there is reference to the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the warning to humans that they will die if he eats of the latter (2:17). When Eve reveals the prohibition, the serpent denies that death will result and insists instead that eating the fruit will result in likeness to God in that humans will then know good and evil. Both Eve and Adam eat the forbidden fruit, popularly thought to have been an apple. The knowledge they obtain is of their own nakedness; in shame they fashion simple garments.

At the sound of God walking in the garden, the couple hide among the trees. When discovered and questioned, they reveal that they have violated the divine prohibition. Sentence is passed on them as well as the serpent. Henceforth, Eve will experience pain in childbirth and subordination to her husband. Adam is condemned to till the soil under difficult conditions and ultimately to return to the soil or dust from which he originally came, that is, to die.

The concluding verses of the narrative refer to the second of the treesthe Tree of Lifewhich is earlier said to be in the midst (center?) of the garden. The deity appears concerned that humans, if allowed to remain in the garden, will eat also of the Tree of Life and live forever. It may be that the myth intends to say that the Tree of Life was hidden among the many trees of the garden and that humans, having eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, might find it. At any rate, Adam and Eve are driven from the garden, and an angel and a flaming sword are placed at the entrance to guard the way to the Tree of Life.

The first human habitat was, according to the narrative of Eden, a fertile, well-watered garden or orchard that supplied all things required by its inhabitants for nutrition and ease. The garden was a veritable oasis, perhaps to be contrasted with the desert or the wilderness, as it was in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic thought (see, e.g., Williams, 1962). The taking of life was not necessary for human sustenance. The animals and birds of Eden, while under the mastery of humans, seem to have lived in more or less peaceful and harmonious relationship with them and one another. Similarly, the relationship between man and woman seems to have been harmonious. Sexual tension had not yet appeared. The original nudity of the pair and the lack of shame signified paradisial innocence. In general, the conditions of life were ideal.

The significance of the serpent is not clear. It has been suggested that the serpent hoped through Adam and Eve to discover the Tree of Life and thus secure immortality for himself. In many interpretations of the Genesis narrative the serpent is given a negative valuation as the tempter and deceiver of women. In some other religious traditions (e.g., Hinduism), the serpent is associated with the very things symbolized by the two special trees of paradise: wisdom and immortality.

The turning point of the narrative is the act of disobedience. It has serious consequences. That Adam and Eve should recognize their nakedness is indicative of their loss of innocence. Also, the divine-human communication possible when God walks in the garden and converses with humans becomes problematic. The consequences of disobedience are profound changes in the conditions of human life: Pain, toil, and mortality are specifically mentioned (Gn. 3:1619). It is the loss of paradise that gives the narrative its poignancy. However one may interpret the details, the essential meaning of the myth of the Garden of Eden is that, in the beginning, life was paradisial but something happened that changed it into what it has been since that time.

The lost paradise of Eden has sometimes been thought actually to have existed somewhere on earth. Because the Bible nowhere indicates its destruction, some people have assumed that the garden, or traces of it, could be discovered. Thus it has been imagined to exist at the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It has also been "discovered" far from the Middle East. Christopher Columbus, for example, believed that the freshwater currents he detected in the Gulf of Paria between Trinidad and the South American coast had their source in the four rivers flowing out of the biblical Eden. The luxuriant vegetation and the mild climate as well as the scents of tropical flowers seemed proof enough to confirm his speculations. Paradise has also been "found" in the most improbable places, as, for example, the Arctic Pole (see William F. Warren, Paradise Found: The Cradle of the Human Race at the North Pole, 1885).

The Primordiality of Paradise

The Edenic paradise was primordial. Paradise is frequently thought to have been primordial, that is, to have existed in the fabulous time of beginnings.

Hermann Baumann (1936) has called attention to African myths concerning a primordial paradise. In these myths, human beings understand the language of animals and are at peace with them. They have no need to work, and food is plentiful at hand. Disease and death are unknown. However, an event occurs that terminates these paradisial conditions and makes human life what it is today.

Myths of primordial paradise, broadly conceived, include the large number of myths in which, in the beginning, Heaven and Earth are in close proximity and, also, myths according to which Heaven is easily accessible by a concrete means such as a tree, ladder, vine, or mountain that can be climbed. As the result of the separation of Heaven and Earth or the removal of the link between them, easy communication is lost. A rupture occurs. It signifies the end of paradise and entry into the ordinary human condition.

Characteristics of the Primordial Paradise

Among the marks or characteristics of the primordial paradise are perfection, purity, plenitude, freedom, spontaneity, peace, pleasure, beatitude, and immortality. Each contrasts with the characteristics of ordinary, postparadisial human life. To this list could appropriately be added harmony and friendship with the animals, including knowledge of their language, and, as well, ease of communication with the gods and the world above.

Unlike a Darwinian view with its stress on rudimentary, imperfect beginnings, the myths of primordial paradise envision the perfection of beginnings. Moreover, the original purity of all things is preserved. Myths of primordial paradise affirm plenitude, often in terms of extraordinary abundance. Freedom and spontaneity are expressed by the absence or minimalization of constraints; there are few if any laws in paradise. As for peace, the typical scenario creates an atmosphere of ease, rest, tranquillity, the absence of tension and conflict. As noted above, human beings and animals live peaceably, sexual tension has not yet appeared, and labor is unnecessary. Indeed, things seem to be in easy equilibrium, perhaps even static. Pleasure abounds, whether described in sensual terms or as spiritual satisfactions. Beatitude, consummate bliss, is the happy lot of all the inhabitants of paradise. Paradise is outside ordinary, historical time. Hence there can be no aging or death. Humans are immortal, for death has not yet appeared. Nor has sickness or disease or sin or injustice or any of the ills that postparadisial man is heir to.

Nostalgia for Paradise

Although the primordial paradise has been lost, it has not been forgotten. One finds expressions of the desire to recover the essential condition, the condition that would still obtain if all had gone as it should. The image of a place and time of perfect and endless peace and plenty has the power to make historical existence significant and bearable and its transitoriness acceptable. A Freudian interpretation would speak of wish fulfillment and the desire to return to the womb, but such an interpretation would be both limited and reductive. More significant than wishes, although they may be present, is the nostalgia, the haunting sense of loss and the powerful desire for recovery. The nostalgia for paradise is among the powerful nostalgias that seem to haunt human beings. It may be the most powerful and persistent of all. A certain longing for paradise is evidenced at every level of religious life.

An unusually well documented example of an actual quest for paradise is provided by the Guaraní Indians of Brazil. For more than four centuries, the Guaraní have engaged in a series of migrations in search of the "land without evil." It is thought actually to exist in this world but to be well hidden. Mircea Eliade has suggested that the paradisial images used by shamans in recounting their dreams and ecstasies have helped to keep alive the centuries-old quest (The Quest, 1969).

Recurring Paradises

Paradises are found in cosmically oriented as well as historically oriented religions, that is, in religions in which time is cyclical as well as in those in which it is linear and historical. In the former, paradise is not only lost but recurs, from time to time, in step with the ever-turning wheel of time.

The most impressive example in the history of religion is the Hindu doctrine of the world ages (yuga s). It is cast in mythical terms by relating the ages of the life of the god Brahmā. Briefly, each world cycle is subdivided into four world ages. They are comparable to the four ages of Greco-Roman tradition. That tradition used the names of metalsgold, silver, bronze, and ironto designate the successive ages. Hinduism uses the four throws of the Indian game of dice: kta (4), tretā (3), dvāpara (2), and kali (1). Decline and deterioration proceed as age follows age.

Ktayuga is the perfect age, the age of four (the winning throw in the dice game). The number four is a frequent symbol of totality, plenitude, and perfection in Hinduism. The age is known also as the satya ("real, true, authentic") yuga. During the kta age dharma (the fundamental universal moral order) is observed totally and spontaneously. It is the golden age, the age of truth, justice, prosperity, and human fulfillment. In other words, it is equivalent to the primordial, paradisial age of other religious traditions.

Unfortunately, the ktayuga inevitably ends and is followed by the three ages of increasing decline, culminating in the kaliyuga, the dark age, in which only one-quarter of dharma remains. In the dice game kali is the losing throw. In the kali age the nadir is reached. The world and humans are at their worst. Also unfortunately, today's world is now in the kaliyuga, which, according to one reckoning, will last 432,000 human years. Even so, it will eventually come to an end and will be followed by the return of the ktayuga, the perfect, golden age. In other words, paradise will reappear. In the meanwhile, it exists as an image, a powerful image of perfection, plenitude, and prosperity.

Buddhism adopted essentially the Hindu cyclical view of ages, relating it to the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Here, too, paradisial motifs appear, as in Mahāyāna texts describing the world at the time of the birth of the expected next Buddha, Maitreya, in this world system. In the Maitreyavyākaraa the worldmore specifically, Indiais described as remarkably different at the time of Maitreya's appearing. Its innumerable inhabitants will commit no crimes or evil deeds and will delight in doing good. People will be without blemishes. They will be strong, large, and joyful, and few will be the illnesses among them. The soil will be free of thorns, covered with green grass, and will produce rice without any work. Into this paradisial, or near-paradisial, world, Maitreya will come to proclaim the true Dharma.

Hesiod in the Theogony writes of five ages, inserting an age of heroes after the bronze age in the usual Greco-Roman sequence of gold, silver, bronze, and iron ages. He describes the golden age in paradisial terms. Men live like gods. They do not work or experience sorrow. Neither do they grow old. Though they are mortal, death comes as sleep. The fertile land is fruitful. Men are at peace and have every want supplied. They are succeeded, however, by a lesser, silver race of men.

Plato in the Politicus (269c ff.) speaks of cyclical return that includes times of regeneration. The time comes when ordinary processes are reversed. Thus human beings begin to grow younger rather than older, returning to infancy and finally ceasing to be. There appears then the age of Kronos in which a new race ("Sons of Earth") is born. Human beings rise out of the earth. Trees provide them with fruits in abundance. They sleep naked (in paradisial nudity) on the soil. The seasons are mild, and all animals are tame and peaceable.

Paradise as the Abode of the Righteous

The biblical conception of paradise is not limited to the primordial Garden of Eden. With the emergence of Jewish belief in the resurrection of the dead, perhaps around 200 bce, paradise could be taken to refer not only to the original Garden of Eden but also to the eternal abode of the righteous. That is, the righteous dead could expect to have the Garden of Eden, or paradise, as their postresurrection abode (rather than Gehenna, the fiery place of punishment of the wicked). Thus Garden and Gehenna constituted a contrasting pair. Moreover, the garden of paradise could refer as well to the intermediate abode of the righteous until their resurrection.

The location of the paradisial abode of the righteous, whether before or after the resurrection, could still be taken as earthly, as it was by some, but the tendency was to locate it above, either in heaven or in one of the multiple heavens (e.g., the third heaven).

In the New Testament, the myth of the Garden of Eden is interpreted as the account of the "fall" of humans through willful disobedience, thus emphasizing the need for and appropriateness of a savior who effects the restoration of fallen humans. In this regard, characteristically Christian interpretations of the myth of Eden have differed from Jewish interpretations. The former have emphasized estrangement from the divine and "original sin." The latter have not.

The New Testament contains three specific references to paradise (2 Cor. 12:3, Lk. 23:43, Rv. 2:7). These indicate experiential and eschatological conceptions of paradise. In 2 Corinthians 12:3 a man is said to have been caught up into paradise, which in the preceding verse is identified with the third heaven. Paradise appears to be thought of as a celestial or heavenly level entered through ecstasy. Paradise may also be entered by privileged persons (for example, martyrs and the "good thief" of Luke 23:43). The third reference to paradise is Revelation 2:7, addressed to the church in Ephesus. The promise is given that one who conquers will be granted to eat of the tree of life in God's paradise. It is said in the context of a call for patient endurance and appears to link an eschatological paradise with the primordial, earthly Eden.

In the Islamic religion the Arabic word for "garden"janna is used to refer to the Garden of Eden and, as well, to the heavenly Paradise in which the God-fearing will dwell. In the Qurʾān it more commonly refers to the latter. As in the Jewish religion, there is a contrasting pair of terms: garden (janna ) and Gehenna (Jahannam). In sūrah 2:25 those who believe and do works of righteousness are promised gardens with flowing rivers and abundant fruit, therein to dwell forever. Sūrah 47:15 promises the God-fearing a garden not only with rivers of water but rivers of milk, wine, and honey as well as every kind of fruit. The garden is a luxuriant oasis, an appealing image to any desert-dwelling people such as the first hearers of the Qurʾān. "Gardens of delight" are promised in sūrah 56. The inhabitants will recline on couches where they will be served from a pure spring by immortal youths. They will eat as they desire of fruit and the flesh of fowl. With them will be the ūrī s, described (56:36f.) as chastely amorous virgins.

Representations of Paradise

Paradise is susceptible to a variety of specific representations. Something that belongs to the actual world is used to refer to an ideal world.

Garden

The garden is the most common representation of paradise. This representation is not limited to religions originating in the Middle East. There is, for example, a Mahāyāna Buddhist paradise, Sukhāvatī, the "pure land" of the Buddha Amitābha. In the Sukhāvativyūha, the paradise of Amitābha is described as fertile, rich, comfortable, and delightful. It is filled with a great variety of flowers and fruits. Many deep, broad rivers flow through it. Birds sing pleasantly. Calm and peace pervade this garden paradise.

In Greek mythology one finds the garden, or orchard, of Hesperides, located in the far west, not far from the Isles of the Blessed. It is renowned for its golden apples. A guard stands at the entrance. There are, as well, the Elysian Fields, where, according to Homer's Odyssey (4.564ff.), the climate is wonderfully mild, as there is no winter. The ocean provides refreshing breezes for mortals. Their lives are said to be the easiest.

The association of garden with paradise has been persistent, as shown by Elizabeth Moynihan in Paradise as a Garden: In Persia and Mughal India (1979). She demonstrates the continuity of the tradition and symbolic topography of the paradise garden. She points especially to the relationship between water, the central and most essential element in the Persian garden, and trees, symbolizing regeneration or immortality and the possibility of ascension. The blissful Paradisethe reward in the afterlifewas the model for the Persian garden. The latter, with its trees reaching symbolically upward and its rippling water and fragrant flowers, never became entirely secular.

A rather different kind of example is found in the symbolization of America as a garden paradise. Charles L. Sanford has studied the depth of the search for paradise in American civilization in The Quest for Paradise (1961). It is well known that the early explorers and settlers of the New World spoke of it in terms of Eden. Its virgin forests, fertile soil, abundant game, aboriginal inhabitants, and freedom from the restraints of the Old World encouraged this identification. Here humankind, having left behind the Old World of Europe, could make a new beginning, as R. W. B. Lewis makes clear in The American Adam (1955). Moreover, particular parts of America were identified with Eden, illustrating the possibility of a multiplicity of paradises. Thus George Alsop identified Maryland as the terrestrial paradise, saying that its trees, plants, flowers, fruits, and even its roots were signs of Adam's realm, special evidence of its innocence. John Smith believed he had discovered Eve in the Powhatan tribe and that he had chanced on a land that was as God made it, a place where heaven and earth best agreed as a land for human habitation. In a 1609 farewell sermon given for Virginia adventurers by Daniel Price, Virginia was described as the garden of the world, a land flowing with milk and honey. When the frontierspeople crossed the mountains through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky, they saw it not only as "the dark and bloody ground" but, paradoxically, as a veritable Eden, rich in forests and game and fertile in soil. The same sort of thing was happening in Puritan New England, though often in terms of future expectations. Thus Edward Johnson considered Massachusetts a place where a new heaven and a new earth will be created by the Lord. Later, Jonathan Edwards could speak of the Great Awakening as a glorious work that would make New England a heaven on earth.

It is not difficult to understand why the garden has often provided the setting for the primordial paradise and, as well, the paradise of the dead. Whether cultivated (as it was after the discovery of agriculture) or provided by nature, a garden is a striking phenomenon. Typically, it is in evident contrast with the surrounding territory, sometimes dramatically. It seems to constitute another world, different from the ordinary one, a world in which seed, soil, and water combine in evident manifestation of fertility, vitality, and abundance. For humans it provides refreshment as well as nourishment, and signalizes an alluring mode of human existence.

Island

Gardens are not the sole representations of paradise. It is also represented in other ways, frequently as an island or a mountain. These several representations are sometimes combined, as in a gardenlike island paradise. Such is the case with the Pacific Ocean island paradises of novels and the lush, vividly colored island paradises of Gauguin's paintings.

The Isles of the Blessed in Greek mythology are well known. They are an insular counterpart to Olympus, the mountain of the gods. One finds parallels in Celtic mythology, where isle as well as garden is used as an image of paradise. Moreover, the myth of the submerged world, comparable to Plato's Atlantis, is also found. Here one has the motif of a more or less paradisial world in which something went wrong, resulting in its disappearance beneath the waves.

Perhaps even more effectively than the garden, the island symbolizes a world. Its limits and contours are in sharp relief in the midst of the sea, and its microcosmic nature is evident.

An island suggests isolation. It can readily symbolize the remoteness and difficulty of access of paradise. Often a river or an ocean has to be traversed. Paradise cannot easily be found, entered, recovered. In this context the motif of journey, especially of difficult or perilous journey, appears.

Mountain

The mountain is also sometimes associated with paradise, as, for example, in connection with Jerusalem (Mount Zion) in its paradisial dimensions, or with Mount Meru of Hindu mythology. John Milton in book 4 of Paradise Lost describes paradise as a mountain. In fact, Milton brings together several images, for in his description the paradisial mountain is also a garden and the origin of the four rivers that course down its sides.

The distinctive characteristic of the mountain is its height. It towers above the earth and therefore can readily symbolize transcendence. Thus when paradise is thought of as a transcendental realm, the mountain is an appropriate image.

Eschatological Paradises

While paradise is usually thought of as in the past, it also figures in some eschatologies. In the Book of Revelation there is envisioned a new heaven and a new earth and, as well, a new Jerusalem, which will come down from God (Rv. 21:1ff.). God will then dwell among humans, and henceforth mourning, crying, pain, and death will be no more. In Jewish messianism the coming age is frequently described in terms strongly reminiscent of paradisial existence (e.g., Is. 11:68, Ez. 47:112). Norman Cohn in The Pursuit of the Millennium (1957) found paradisial elements in his study of revolutionary messianism in medieval and Reformation Europe.

In modern times "cargo cults" of Melanesia and Micronesia have been especially generative of paradisial motifs. Briefly, these cults are typically based on myths that prophesy that soon an ancestor-bearing ship will arrive with a wonderful cargo to be received by those who have expected and prepared for its arrival. The return of the ancestors and the arrival of cargo signal profound changes. Not only will poverty be abolished but all that belongs to the old world will be destroyed. A series of reversals will take place: Servants will become masters, the old will become young, yams will grow on trees, and coconuts will grow in the ground. After all that belongs to the old world has been changed or destroyed, a new world will appear. In this world there will be freedom from laws, traditions, work, poverty, disease, ageing, and death. In other words, this radical transformation or renewal of the world signifies paradise.

Secular Paradises

Most of the paradises referred to have been explicitly religious. However, paradisial motifs and nostalgias for paradise have appeared, especially in the modern world, in other guises. Utopias, some of which, but not all, are explicitly religious, typically have some of the characteristics of paradise, often to a lesser degree and with some concessions to actuality. It could be said that utopias are efforts to actualize the image of paradise, under the conditions of this world.

The strong interest in communes in recent decades, especially among the young, may be understood as a quest for a secular paradise, as may the more pervasive and continuing interest in returning to the land, evidenced first by the creation of suburbia but extending subsequently to the truly rural countryside.

See Also

Bones; Cargo Cults; Fall, The; Gardens, overview article; Heaven and Hell; Mountains; Utopia.

Bibliography

Armstrong, John H. S. The Paradise Myth. London, 1969. Seeks an alternative to the Genesis paradise myth in elements of Sumerian and Greek myths and in themes in Renaissance literature and art.

Baumann, Hermann. Schöpfung und Urzeit des Menschen im Mythus der afrikanischer Völker. Berlin, 1936. Myths of beginning and end in Africa.

Cohn, Norman. The Pursuit of the Millennium. 3d ed. New York, 1970. Revolutionary messianism in medieval and Reformation Europe and its bearing on modern totalitarian movements.

Lewis, R. W. B. The American Adam. Chicago, 1955. The new Adam in American literature of the nineteenth century as an expression of a native American mythology.

Lincoln, Andrew T. Paradise Now and Not Yet. Cambridge, U.K., 1981. Paradise in Saint Paul's eschatology.

Moynihan, Elizabeth B. Paradise as a Garden: In Persia and Mughal India. New York, 1979. The oldest surviving garden tradition. Richly illustrated.

Sanford, Charles L. The Quest for Paradise. Urbana, Ill., 1961. Origins and meaning of "the Garden of America" and its broader applications to aspects of American civilization.

Smith, Henry Nash. Virgin Land. Cambridge, Mass., 1950. The American West as myth and symbol.

Stevens, Henry Bailey. The Recovery of Culture. New York, 1949. Argues that humans once lived in a horticultural paradise before the "fall" into hunting and the subsequent sacrifice-linked agricultural period.

Sylvia Mary, Sr. Nostalgia for Paradise. London, 1965. A somewhat comparative study of the longing for paradise done from a Christian religious and theological perspective.

Williams, George H. Wilderness and Paradise in Christian Thought. New York, 1962. The ambivalent meanings of wilderness, garden, and desert in the Bible and subsequent appearances of these themes in Christian thought and literature.

New Sources

Bernheim, Pierre-Antoine. Paradis, Paradis. Paris, 1991.

Bockmuehl, Markus. "Strawberries, the Food of Paradise: A Study in Christian Symbolism." Crux 27/3 (1991): 921.

Brockway, Robert W. "The Eden Myth: Archetypal Vision of Paradise." Faith and Freedom: A Journal of Progressive Religion 44 (1991): 3334; 3942.

Buck, Christopher. Paradise and Paradigm: Key Symbols in Persian Christianity and the Bahái Faith. Albany, N.Y., 1999.

Heinberg, Richard. Memories and Visions of Paradise: Exploring the Universal Myth of a Lost Golden Age. Los Angeles, 1989.

Luttikhuizen, Gerard P., ed. Paradise Interpreted: Interpretations of Biblical Paradise in Judaism and Christianity. Leiden and Boston, 1999.

Miller, James E. Western Paradise: Greek and Hebrew Traditions. San Francisco, 1997.

Zaleski, Carol. "When I Get to Heaven: Picturing Paradise." Christian Century 120, no. 7 (2003): 2231.

Harry B. Partin (1987)

Revised Bibliography

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Paradise

PARADISE

PARADISE , the English derivative of Παράδειοος, Greek for "garden" in the Eden narrative of Genesis 2:4b–3:24 (see *Garden of Eden). One of the best-known and most widely interpreted pericopes in the Bible, this narrative is at the same time one of the most problematic. While on the surface the narrative unfolds smoothly, its deeper meaning, its composition and literary affinities, and many of its allusions, assumptions, and implications raise questions that are presently insoluble.

contents of the narrative

The pericope divides naturally into two sections, one relating God's beneficent acts in creating man and placing him in a paradise; the other, man's disobedience and consequent banishment from paradise. The masoretic parashah division considers 2:4a ("This is the story of heaven and earth when they were created") the beginning of this narrative, but most scholars today take 4a as the conclusion of the first creation story (1:1–2:4a), the opening verse of which it echoes, and begin the Eden narrative with 2:4b. More ambiguous is the position of 2:25 ("The two of them were naked, the man and his wife, yet they felt no shame"): some, accepting the present chapter division, consider it the climax of the perfect state created by God before man's disobedience; others (including njps) see that climax in 2:23–24 and take 2:25 as the introduction, which sets the theme, to the section on the "fall" in which awareness of nakedness and the making of clothing are prominent (3:7, 10–11, 21).

After the Lord God had made earth and heaven, but before the appearance of grasses and shrubbery, God created man out of lumps of soil and breathed life into him (man thus combines both earthly and divine elements). As man's home He created a garden in Eden filled with fruit-bearing trees, including the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and bad, which man was prohibited to eat on pain of death. God then created, also out of earth, all the animals and the birds of the sky and brought them to Adam to be named. God then fashioned a woman out of one of Adam's ribs, and Adam found her a fitting helper. The two were naked, but were unashamed of the fact. The serpent convinced the woman that God's threat of death for eating from the tree of knowledge was idle and that in fact its fruit would make the couple like divine beings who know good and bad. The woman and then the man ate some of the forbidden fruit and became aware of their nakedness; they then sewed some fig leaves into loincloths for themselves. Each participant in this act of disobedience was punished by God. The serpent was condemned to a life of crawling on its belly, and of enmity with mankind. The woman was condemned to painful pregnancy and childbirth; further, she would be dominated by her husband. The man was condemned to a life of struggling to eke out a living from the earth. To prevent him from eating from the tree of life, too, and acquiring the attribute of immortality, the Lord banished the man and his wife from the garden and set up *cherubim and "the fiery ever-turning sword" to guard the way to the tree of life.

specific problems

Many details of the narrative are elusive or troublesome.

The Location of the Garden

The text states that the garden is located "in Eden, in the east" (2:8), and that "a river issues from Eden to water the garden, and it then divides and becomes four branches:… Pishon,… which winds through the whole land of Havilah … Gihon,… which winds through the whole land of Cush … the Tigris,… and … the Euphrates" (2:10–14, njps translation). Starting from what is clear, the Tigris and the Euphrates, scholarly opinion has divided into two schools. The first reasons that the two unknown rivers must be great world rivers on the scale of the Tigris and Euphrates; this view is supported by the Gihon's association with Cush, which usually means Nubia in the Bible, from which it is concluded that the Gihon is the Nile. Accordingly the fourth river is thought to be the Indus or the Ganges. These views, and their many variants, would locate the garden at some hypothetical common point of origin of the Tigris, Euphrates, Nile, and Indus or Ganges. The second school reasons that the two unknown rivers must be near the Tigris and the Euphrates. The Gihon's association with Cush presents no problem for this view since the ancient Near East also had another area known as Cush, the land of the Kassites (Akk. Kaššû/Kuššu-, Greek Kossaîoi) in present-day Luristan, east of the Tigris (cf. also the Mesopotamian associations of Cush in Gen. 10:8–10). This accords well with the Samaritan version's translation of Gihon as ʾAsqop, apparently the river Choaspes, modern Kerkha – in Luristan. If, following the apparent order of the biblical text, one then looks further east for the Pishon, the Kar-n in Elam becomes a candidate. However, this school also admits other possibilities, e.g., that the Gihon is the Diyala and Pishon the Kerkha or even the Arabian Wadi er-Rumma (for other aspects of this problem see *Havilah). According to any of these views, since the common meeting point of these rivers in antiquity was, or was believed to be, the Persian Gulf, the latter would be the undivided river mentioned in Genesis 2:10a (but could it ever be referred to as a river?). This would conform with the implication of Genesis 11:2, 9 that the garden was located east of Shinar (probably Sumer) and Babylon. Since Sumerian tradition (the Eden story has many Mesopotamian affinities) located its paradise in Dilmun, somewhere in or along the Persian Gulf, this school seems to be on the right track. Often associated with this school is the explanation of "Eden" (traditionally connected with Heb. ʿeden pl. ʿadanim, "luxury, delight") as the Sumerian edin ("plain"), a term which is often used as a geographic designation for the plain between the Tigris and Euphrates in southern Mesopotamia. However, this does not conform precisely to the text's suggestion that the garden is east of the Mesopotamian plain. Furthermore, the assumption of this view that Genesis 2:10 speaks of four rivers flowing into one, rather than vice versa, is debatable. It is at least equally possible that the single source river is understood to be located at the head of the Tigris and the Euphrates in the north, in which case the identification of Pishon and Gihon remains problematic. The location of Eden and its rivers clearly remains an open question.

The Trees of Life and Knowledge

As elusive as the identification of the rivers of paradise is the meaning of "the tree of knowledge of good and bad" (ʿeẓ hadaʿat tov wa-raʿ; for the syntax cf. ha-daʿat ʾoti in Jer. 22:16). Several theories have been proposed over the centuries, but none has won general acceptance.

moral discernment

This view takes "good and bad" in the moral sense of right and wrong (cf. Isa. 5:20; Amos 5:14; Micah 3:2) and "knowledge" as the ability to distinguish (cf. ii Sam. 19:36; Isa. 7:15) the one from the other. Critics of this view note that the very prohibition presumes that man knows the rightness of obedience and the wrongness of disobedience, and ask how the biblical God can be conceived as wishing to withhold moral discernment from man.

sexual knowledge

The main evidence supporting this interpretation is the frequent use of "to know" (not only in Hebrew and other ancient Near Eastern languages) in the sense of "to be intimate with"; it also finds a distinction between homosexual and heterosexual indulgence in the phrase "to know good and bad," ignoring the objective case of the nouns. Another argument for interpreting "knowledge of good and bad" in the Garden of Eden story as "sexual awareness" is the use of "to know good and bad" in contexts which may conceivably refer (actually they are far more embracing) to the sexual urge (Deut. 1:39, before it develops; Manual of Discipline 1:9–11, when it develops; ii Sam. 19:36, after it has faded). Indeed, the immediate consequence of eating from the tree is awareness of nakedness, and the first action reported after the expulsion from the garden is Adam's "knowing" Eve (4:1). As regards the latter, however, we-ha-ʾadam yadaʿ (instead of wa-yedaʿ ha-ʾadam) can indicate the past perfect tense and could be interpreted as "Now the man had known," which suggests that Adam knew his wife before eating from the tree. Further, critics of the sexual awakening theory cite God's declaration to the heavenly court in 3:22 that through this knowledge "man has become like one of us." It is inconceivable that the Bible would attribute sexuality to God; and the answer that the reference here is to human procreation as the counterpart of divine creativity seems forced. Genesis 2:23–24 seems naturally to include sexuality as established already before eating from the tree. Furthermore, eating from this tree was prohibited even before the woman was created.

universal knowledge

This view understands "good and bad" as a merism, expressing totality by two extremes (cf. ii Sam. 14:17 and 22, where David is said in one verse to resemble an angel [cf. Gen. 3:22] in "understanding [lit. "hearing"] good and bad" and in the other to be as "wise as an angel… in knowing all that is on the earth"; cf. also "good and bad," meaning "anything at all," Gen. 24:50; 31:24, 29; ii Sam. 13:22). Against this interpretation it is pointed out that man did not, in fact, gain universal knowledge.

mature intelligence

This view notes passages where knowledge of good and bad is said to be absent in children (Deut. 1:39; Isa. 7:15; cf. Manual of Discipline 1:9–11), and notes that unconcern with nakedness is typical of early childhood, while shame comes with maturation. Critics argue that Adam's ability to name the animals and God's holding him responsible for disobedience assume something beyond childlike intelligence. These objections, however, may not be decisive, and there may be some significance in the fact that this interpretation was assumed by certain tannaim (Gen. R. 15:7; cf. Ber. 40a; Sanh. 70b).

civilizing human rationality

This view identifies the knowledge acquired by eating from the tree as the mental capacity which distinguishes man from beast and is the source of civilization. Critics point out that man's assignment "to till the garden and tend it" (2:15) itself constitutes civilized behavior; that the only change reported in the text is awareness of nakedness; and that the arts and crafts of civilization for the most part originate only with Adam's descendants (4:20ff.). However, Adam himself, not only his descendants, became a farmer (3:19, 23), a typically civilized occupation. Becoming aware of nakedness is also a distinguishing mark of civilization and may be only the first of many civilized acts.

The latter point, like this interpretation as a whole, may claim some support in comparative ancient Near Eastern literature. The beginning of the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh Epic (Pritchard, Texts, 72–99, 503–7) describes the early life of Gilgamesh's friend Enkidu; he lived with, and in the manner of, wild animals, knowing nothing of civilized ways. His rise to civilization began when a harlot seduced him. After a week of cohabitation Enkidu "now had [wi]sdom, [br]oader understanding," and the harlot described his change as having "become like a god" (ibid., p. 75c, lines 29, 34), much as Adam and Eve became "like divine beings who know good and bad" (Gen. 3:5, 22; if the beginning of the last-quoted line from the Gilgamesh Epic is really to be restored, "Thou art [wi]se," the parallel with Gen. 3:5, 22 would be even more complete; however, a restoration "Thou art [beauti]ful" is also possible; cf. Pritchard, Texts, 77a, line 11). Subsequently the harlot clothed Enkidu and introduced him to human food and drink and other aspects of civilization. Clearly the change in Enkidu was far more than sexual, as some have held. The text stresses Enkidu's resultant alienation from his erstwhile animal companions and his acquisition of human ways. The "wisdom" and "understanding" he gained constitute human intelligence. (A sort of commentary on this passage appears in Dan. 4:29–30, which describes Nebuchadnezzar's life while exiled in terms reminiscent of Enkidu's early life (some literary relationship between the two passages must be presumed), while Dan. 4:13 states explicitly that the change is from a human mind (lit."*heart") to an animal mind, and verse 31 specifies a loss of "knowledge" (mandaʿ).) Some parts of the Enkidu narrative are known to be modeled on creation myths, and the narrative of his civilization may similarly reflect an as yet unknown text about the first man. Be that as it may, this narrative supports the view that the knowledge gained from the tree of knowledge was human rationality (cf. below, for knowledge in the "Myth of Adapa"). However, such comparative literary support cannot be considered an infallible guide to the biblical meaning, since literature often undergoes reinterpretation when transferred from one society to another. Far less problematic, but still not lacking in ambiguity, is the "tree of life." Clearly it confers immortality (3:22, "he might also take from the tree of life and eat, and live forever!"). It is not included in God's prohibition (2:16–17), so it may be that God originally intended Adam to live forever; only after man had disobeyed and obtained the divine prerogative of "knowing good and bad" was this boon revoked (3:19, 22–24). It is not clear whether immortality would have been conferred by eating this tree's fruit once or only by continuous eating. Since Adam had access to the tree before the expulsion, the fact that he had not already gained immortality suggests that the fruit had to be eaten continuously, but the urgency of the expulsion (3:22–24) suggests that a single eating may have sufficed.

The Serpent

The text is at pains to point out the creatureliness of the serpent, describing it as one "of all the wild beasts that the Lord God had made" (3:1, 14); it is distinguished from the other beasts only by its shrewdness (3:1). Its insignificance is underlined in 3:9–19, where God interrogates Adam and Eve, and both respond, while the serpent is not questioned and does not respond. In view of the prominent role played by serpents in ancient Near Eastern religion and mythology this treatment of the serpent amounts to desecration and demythologization, quite possibly intentional. As a result, the source of evil is denied divine or even demonic status: evil is no independent principle in the cosmos, but stems from the behavior and attitudes of God's creatures.

From early times the serpent has been seen as a symbol, whose meaning is widely debated. Some have stressed the serpent's well-known phallic symbolism and fertility associations, taking the narrative to reflect an attitude toward human sexuality, fertility cults, and the like. Others see the serpent as representing man's own shrewdness. Since in ancient Near Eastern mythology the forces of chaos which oppose the forces of creation and cosmos are widely represented as serpents, many see the serpent here, too, as a personification of the forces of chaos. According to this view, disobeying God undermines the cosmic order. Alternatively, the serpent may represent ethical evil in general, a meaning that serpentine mythological motifs are given elsewhere in the Bible (e.g., Isa. 26:21–27:1).

Mythological Features

Certain details of the narrative seem not to conform to "classical" biblical religion, but rather to reflect more primitive notions and premises. The very need to withhold immortality from manbespeaks divine jealousy: God and the divine beings are unwilling to have man acquire both of the distinctive characteristics of divinity, "knowledge of good and bad" and immortality (even if they may be willing to have man acquire immortality alone). The Eden narrative is deeply rooted in ancient Near Eastern and folkloristic traditions. In spite of some adaptation of these traditions to biblical theological tenets, it seems that some of the primitive notions of these traditions resisted adaptation.

literary composition

Critics generally hold that the Eden narrative stems from a different source than the preceding creation narrative (Gen. 1:1–2:4a or 4b). Divergent authorship is indicated, according to the documentary hypothesis, by the two narratives' contradictory orders of creation (ch. 1: trees, animals, man and woman; ch 2: man, trees, animals, woman). On the basis of vocabulary and content the first narrative is assigned to the Priestly Document (p), while the second is assigned to the Jehovist, or Yahwist, Document (j; for a contrary view see Cassuto, Genesis i, ad loc.).

The Eden pericope in itself appears to combine more than one narrative of the same events. Many doublets in the text point to at least two parallel recensions. The following are some of the doublets which have been suggested: 2:5 and 6 (primordial irrigation), 2:8 and 9 (planting the garden), 2:8 and 15 (placing man in it), 2:23 and 3:20 (naming the woman), 3:7 and 21 (clothing the couple), 3:18b and 19a (man's future food), 3:18a and 17c, d, 19a (man's future occupation), 3:19b and 19c (man's return to the earth), 3:23 and 24 (expulsion from paradise). Other seemingly disjunctive elements are 2:9b (the two trees clumsily seem attached to the verse) and 10–14 (the rivers). On these points there is general agreement, at least in principle. However there is no unanimity at all when it comes to regrouping the variants in order to reconstruct the hypothetical earlier recensions.

literary and folkloristic affinities

The Eden narrative's affinities with primitive folklore and other biblical and ancient Near Eastern, especially Mesopotamian, compositions are many, yet there is no single piece of ancient literature which resembles the narrative as a whole, either in its details or theological significance.

The primordial absence of produce and standard forms of irrigation resemble the immediately postdiluvian conditions, which presumably duplicate primordial conditions in the Sumerian "Rulers of Lagās" (in: jcs, 21 (1967), 283). The notion of a divine garden, paradigm of fertility, is mentioned elsewhere in the Bible (Gen. 13:10; Isa. 51:3; Ezek. 36:35; Joel 2:3); a fragmentary passage in the Gilgamesh Epic (Pritchard, Texts, p. 89c) and a fuller passage in Ezekiel 28:11–19 speak of its jewel-bearing trees; the Ezekiel passage is a narrative and reflects a different version of the Eden story (cf., also Ezek. 31:5–9, 16–18). Yet another paradise narrative is the Sumerian tale of "Enki and Ninhursag" (Pritchard, Texts, 37–41), which describes the land (or island) of Dilmun, east of Sumer, as a pure, clean, and bright land, where there is neither sickness nor death, and where the animals live in harmony. One episode in the narrative involves the sun-god's watering Dilmun with fresh water brought up from the earth, thus making it fertile. The earth-goddess Ninhursag gives birth to eight plants, which the water-god Enki proceeds to devour. This leads Ninhursag to curse Enki; this nearly causes the latter's death, but ultimately Ninhursag is made to heal him. Aside from the Eden narrative's manifest similarities to these stories, the differences are also significant; most noticeable is the far more natural configuration of the narrative in Genesis 2–3, in contrast to the fantastic or supernatural nature of the other accounts, including Ezekiel's. Placing man in the garden "to till and tend it" faintly echoes the Mesopotamian creation stories according to which man was created to free the gods from laboring to produce their own food (Pritchard, Texts, 68; cf. W.G. Lambert, Atrahasis (1969), 42–67; A. Heidel, The Babylonian Genesis (1942), 69–71; S.N. Kramer, The Sumerians (1963), 149–50). In the Bible this is not seen as the purpose of man's creation – in fact, the creation of man and the placing of him in the garden are separated by several verses; and there is no suggestion at all that God or the other heavenly beings benefit from man's labor. The theme of lost immortality appears briefly near the end of the Gilgamesh Epic. From the bottom of the sea Gilgamesh brought up a plant which contained the power of rejuvenating the aged; he called it "The Man Becomes Young in Old Age," declaring, "I myself shall eat [it], and thus return to the state of my youth" (in Pritchard, Texts, 96). Later, however, Gilgamesh set the plant down while bathing, and a serpent made off with it and subsequently shed its skin (11. 285–9; in 1. 296 the serpent is referred to as "ground-lion"; some take this as simply an epithet of the serpent, but others, following the testimony of Akkadian lexical texts, take "ground-lion" as "chameleon" (which etymologically means "ground-lion")). The belief that snakes, or lizards, regain their youth when they cast their skins is common among primitive peoples (cf., the analogous belief about molting eagles in Isa. 40:31; Ps. 103:51). This is a reflex of the well-known folklore motif of how the serpent cheated man out of immortality, for the significance of which see below. The loss of immortality is treated in great detail in the Akkadian Myth of Adapa (Pritchard, Texts, 101–3). Priest and sage of the city of Eridu, Adapa had been given "wise understanding… to teach the patterns of the land" (a, 3 (this apparently means to teach mankind the patterns of civilization), had been shown "the heart of the heaven and the earth" (b, 57–58)). The god Ea "had given him wisdom, eternal life he had not given him" (a, 4). While he was fishing in the Persian Gulf to supply Ea's temple at Eridu with fish, the south wind swamped Adapa's boat, so Adapa broke its wing with a curse. As Adapa was summoned before the chief god Anu in heaven to account for this behavior, Ea warned him not to eat and drink the bread and water of death that would be presented to him there. However, Anu had been disposed favorably to Adapa by another of Ea's stratagems, so that he in fact desired to supplement Adapa's wisdom by offering him the bread and food of life. Unaware, Adapa refused it, accepting only a garment and some anointing oil Ea had approved; and so he lost (eternal) life. Adapa is to be identified with Oannes, known from other sources to have been the first of approximately seven antediluvian sages who taught humanity civilization, paralleling the culture-founding Cainite genealogy from Adam through Lamech's children (Gen. 4), with Oannes-Adapa occupying the position of Adam. To this some have added the evidence of an Akkadian synonym list which supposedly equates Adapa, written a-da-ap/b, with "man" (E.A. Speiser in Pritchard, Texts, 101 n. 1; see also M. Civil (ed.), Materials for the Sumerian Lexicon, vol. 12, p. 93 line 20); however it is doubtful that this is Adapa, whose name is not written this way, and the very significance of the equation is uncertain. Not all details of the relationship of the Myth of Adapa to the Eden narrative are clear or necessarily convincing, but some relationship does seem indicated. The contrasts, aside from obviously wide divergence in details and plot, are most profound and characteristic in the area of underlying religious outlook. Although the Myth of Adapa does not make it clear whether Ea simply erred or purposely deceived Adapa, it expresses in either case a resigned acceptance of death as a situation beyond rational human control. The biblical narrative, on the other hand, assumes that death and other forms of misfortune in this world are the earned results of human behavior whose consequences man knew in advance. The theme of man's being cheated out of immortality by the serpent or some other skin-sloughing animal appears in the folklore of several peoples. Another frequently occurring motif is that of the perverted message, wherein God sent to man a message of immortality which the messenger perverted into a message of mortality, thus dooming mankind ever since. At times these two motifs are combined: God's message instructed man to rejuvenate himself by casting off his old skin, but the faithless messenger gave this information to the serpent instead, and told man that his life would end in death. On the basis of these motifs, J.G. Frazer surmised that an earlier version of the Eden narrative related as follows: the garden contained two trees – the tree of life and the tree of death (cf. the food and drink offered Adapa). God sent a message, through the serpent, that man should eat from the tree of life, not the tree of death. The clever serpent, however, reversed the message, leading the human couple to eat from the tree of death (cf. the deception of Adapa), while he himself ate from the tree of life and thus gained immortality (cf. Pritchard, Texts, 96 referred to above).

The material surveyed above leads to the conclusion that the biblical Eden narrative has roots in ancient Near Eastern literature. Yet, as noted above, these parallels are fragmentary, dealing with only a few motifs each, and the discrepancies in detail are often great. How these gaps were bridged cannot be said with certainty, presumably because of ignorance of the process of transmission of ancient Near Eastern literature to the Bible. Quite possibly these stories became known to the biblical authors in proto-Israelite versions which they molded, with creative editorial skill, into a unique narrative with a wholly new meaning.

[Jeffery Howard Tigay]

paradise and hell in later jewish thought

Paradise and Hell, the places of reward for the righteous and punishment for the wicked after death, are traditionally referred to as the Garden of Eden and *Gehinnom respectively. In the Bible these two names never refer to the abode of souls after death; nevertheless, the idea of a fiery torment for the wicked may have been suggested by Isaiah 66:24. The earliest possible allusion to Gehinnom in the new sense is found in the Apocrypha, in which the general phrase "accursed valley" is used to describe the place where the wicked will be judged and punished (i En. 27:1ff.). The name Gehenna (= Gehinnom) first appears in the New Testament (e.g., Matt. 5:22, 29ff.), as does "Paradise," the abode of the blessed (e.g., Luke 23:43). The word pardes ("park," "orchard") occurs in biblical and talmudic sources, but rarely, if ever, in the sense of "heavenly abode." The oldest Jewish source to mention Gan (= Garden of) Eden and Gehinnom is probably a statement of Johanan b. Zakkai at the end of the first century c.e.: "There are two ways before me, one leading to Paradise and the other to Gehinnom" (Ber. 28b). Jewish teaching about a future life was never systematized, and the varied statements in rabbinic literature cannot be combined into a consistent whole. "Days of the Messiah" and "World to Come" are sometimes sharply distinguished, sometimes virtually identified. Some passages indicate that the righteous and wicked will enter Gan Eden and Gehinnom only after the resurrection and last judgment; in others, the departed take their assigned places immediately after death. Other descriptions of future bliss and punishment make no mention of locale.

apocalyptic literature

The apocalypses frequently mention the punishment of the wicked by fire (i En. 90:26ff.; iv Ezra 7:36; Testament of Abraham (a) 12). In ii Enoch 10 the places of reward and punishment are located in the third heaven; usually Hell is underground, as in ii Enoch 40:12. Hell is sometimes identified with *Sheol (i En. 22:8ff.). In the Bible, however, Sheol was the abode of all the dead, and it was not a place of retribution. Now it becomes to some extent a place of punishment. The Apocalypses of Baruch and Ezra come closer to the old notion: Sheol is the temporary abode of souls between death and the last judgment (ii Bar. 23:5; iv Ezra 4:41); but reward and punishment may begin during this period (ii Bar. 36:11). The punishment at the end of time is final, and there is no hope of any further change or repentance (ibid. 85:12). The sources also describe the rewards of the righteous; Assumption of Moses 10:10 includes among the satisfactions of the righteous that they will see the wicked suffering in Gehenna.

rabbinic literature

Gehinnom and Gan Eden existed even before the world was created (Pes. 54a), Gehinnom at the left hand of God, Gan Eden at His right (Mid. Ps. 90:12).

Gehinnom

So vast is Hell, it may be compared to a pot of which the rest of the universe forms the lid (Pes. 94a). Gehinnom is not only for punishment, but also for purgation. According to Bet Shammai, those whose merits and sins are evenly balanced will be purified in the flames of Gehinnom, and thus rendered fit to enter Gan Eden. Bet *Hillel held that such marginal persons would, by God's mercy, escape the ordeal (Tosef., Sanh. 13:3; rh 16b–17a). A widely held view was that the wicked will be punished in Gehinnom for 12 months only, after which they will be annihilated, to suffer no more. Only a limited group, chiefly those who by word and deed have repudiated their loyalty to the Jewish people and the basic doctrines of Jewish faith, will endure endless torment (Tosef., Sanh. 12:4, 5; rh 17a). However, R. Akiva cited Isaiah 66:23 concerning the 12-month sentence, indicating that even the wicked after having atoned for their sins in purgatory will join the righteous in Gan Eden (Eduy. 10). The severity of Gehinnom was mitigated in rabbinic thought. It was widely believed that all Israel, except for a few arch sinners, would have a share in the world to come, and so could not be unconditionally doomed to Hell (Sanh. 10). Abraham was said to stand at the entrance of Gehinnom and prevent his circumcised descendants from being incarcerated there (Er. 19a; cf. the reference to "Abraham's bosom" in Luke 16:23). Moreover, all the condemned, including gentiles, would have respite from punishment on the Sabbath (Sanh. 65b). The possibility that the reprobates might repent, acknowledge the justness of their punishment, and thus open the way to their redemption is mentioned in several places (Er. loc. cit.; on the sons of Korah, see Ginzberg, Legends, 6 (1928), 103, n. 586). That the piety of a son may mitigate the punishment of a deceased parent is implied in Kiddushin 31b (cf. ii Macc. 12:42ff.) and stated explicitly in a post-talmudic story (Kallah Rabbati, 2:9, ed. Higger, 202ff.). The special effectiveness of the recital of *Kaddish for this purpose is mentioned in medieval writings (e.g., Baḥya ben *Asher, Deut. 21:8). Some Palestinian rabbis denied that there is, or will be, a place called Gehinnom. They held that at the final judgment sinners will be destroyed by the unshielded rays of the sun or by a fire issuing from their own bodies (Gen. R. 6:6; 26:6).

Gan Eden

A place is reserved for every Israelite in both Gan Eden and Gehinnom. Before being assigned to their proper abode, the wicked are shown the place they might have occupied in Heaven, and the righteous, the place they might have occupied in Hell (Mid. Ps. 6:6; 31:6). In contrast to passages that depict the righteous sitting at golden tables (Ta'an. 25a) or under elaborate canopies (Ruth 3:4) and participating in lavish banquets (bb 75a), Rav (third century c.e.) declared that in the world to come – Gan Eden is not specifically mentioned – there will be no sensual enjoyment and no transaction of business or competition, but the righteous will sit crowned, enjoying the radiance of the Divine Presence (Ber. 17a). Some 11 persons, mostly biblical figures, entered Paradise alive (Ginzberg, Legends, 5 (1925), 5–96) and legend tells in detail how R. Joshua b. Levi accomplished this feat (Ket. 77b).

medieval literature

A number of post-talmudic writings give longer and more fully elaborated descriptions of Gan Eden and Gehinnom, which are in substantial agreement with the briefer accounts in the Talmud and classic Midrashim. Among these writings are tractate Gan Eden and tractate Gehinnom, the Iggeret of R.Joshua b. Levi, Midrash Konen, and Otiyyot de-R. Akiva. They generally picture Heaven and Hell each divided into seven sections; souls are assigned to the several sections in accordance with the level of their merits or the heinousness of their sins. The Jewish accounts of Hell are tame compared to those in medieval Christian literature, as is apparent from Dante's Divine Comedy, written in the 14th century. On the other hand, Gan Eden is not pictured as a place of completely static bliss: the Messiah is there awaiting the day of the redemption (according to Midrash Konen, suffering for the sins of Israel), and he enlists the help of the righteous souls in urging God to speed the final deliverance (see J.D. Eisenstein, Oẓar Midrashim, 1 (1915), 85, 87). In the 13th–14th centuries the poet *Immanuel b. Solomon of Rome wrote the fullest account of Paradise and Hell in Hebrew literature; it is entitled Tophet and Eden and is the last section of his Maḥbarot. It was possibly suggested by Dante's Divine Comedy, but possesses little literary power or religious depth. Its most notable feature is the inclusion of a section in Eden for pious gentiles in accordance with the prevailing Jewish teaching. Moreover, unlike Dante, Immanuel did not mention reprobates in Tophet by name. Some medieval philosophers explained earlier references to Paradise and Hell as figures of speech. Heaven meant the joy of communion with God, and Hell meant to be deprived of eternal life (Maim., Yad, Teshuvah 8:1, 5). To Joseph *Albo, Hell is the state of the soul which, having sought only material gratifications in this life, has no means of obtaining satisfaction in the non-material life beyond the grave (Ikkarim 4:33). The Kabbalists developed and adapted the relatively simple notions of Gan Eden and Gehinnom to fit into their complex systems, and especially in order to reconcile them with the doctrine of reincarnation (see *Gilgul).

modern period

Moses *Mendelssohn flatly rejected the idea of Hell as incompatible with the mercy of God (Gesammelte Schriften, 3 (1843), 345–7). Modern Jews of all religious viewpoints, including those who vigorously uphold the belief in personal immortality, have generally discarded the idea that Paradise and Hell exist literally. Since these concepts, though once widely accepted, were never regarded as dogmatically binding, the rejection of them has not occasioned any strain, even on Orthodoxy.

[Bernard J. Bamberger]

bibliography:

J. Frazer, Folklore in the Old Testament, 1 (1919), 45–77; Th. C. Vriezen, Orderzoek naar de paradijs-voorstelling bij de oude Semietische Volken (1937), incl. bibl.; P. Humbert, Etudes sur le récit du paradis et de la chute dans la Genèse (1940), incl. bibl.; U. Cassuto, in: Studies in Memory of M. Schorr (1944), 248–58; J.L. McKenzie, in: Theological Studies, 15 (1954), 541–72; E.A. Speiser, in: basor, 140 (1955), 9–11; idem, in: Festschrift Johannes Friedrich (1959), 473–85; R. Gordis, in: jbl, 76 (1957), 123–38; B.S. Childs, Mythand Reality in the Old Testament (19622), 43–50; N.M. Sarna, Understanding Genesis (1966), 23–28; T.H. Gaster, Myth, Legend and Custom in the Old Testament (1969), 6–50, 327–71; J.A. Bailey, in: jbl, 89 (1970), 137–50. See also Commentaries to Genesis 2:4–3. in jewish philosophy: R.H. Charles, Eschatology (19632); K. Kohler, Heavenand Hell in Comparative Religion (1923); H. Strack and P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament, 4 (1928), 1016–65.

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