Here it is, I'm so excited about it. It was for my geomythology class, and it is my take on the existence of the Garden of Eden based on the evidence we've been given. It was pretty fun once I actually sat down and wrote it.
The Garden of Eden is a story that has perplexed and interested researchers and theologists alike for many years. There are many proposed possibilities for the location of the garden. Although the evidence is strong, it fails to convince me of a specific Middle Eastern location of the garden. The idea of global climate change is a more compelling idea and addresses important issues such as mythic unity.
Many areas have been proposed for the location of the paradise known as Eden. According to the Heinberg article, Juris Zarins has used technology to locate the possible existence of the garden. After obsessing over the text of the bible, the geology of the Middle East and the geography of the area, he turned to satellite imaging. Upon finding that the Tigris and Euphrates were once met by two now nonexistent rivers in an area rich in both bdellium and gold, he postulate that an area that is now beneath the Persian gulf is the resting place of Eden. This broader, more scientific view seems the most probable. Other theories include the location simply being the fertile area between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers where Mesopotamia once resided, as well as a very specific valley such as shown in the video. The story is also explained to possibly be an analogy of man’s change from a hunter-gatherer society to an agricultural society.
None of these explanations, however, convince me that Eden existed in the Middle East. One reason I remain incredulous is the questionable background of the bible. Because priests compiled it and the authors of the Old Testament are unknown, the dubious quality of the book is magnified. Another thing that makes me skeptical is the difference in style between the passage describing the location of Eden and the rest of the Old Testament. Genesis 2:8 reads “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden.” Linguistically, that passage differs from the specifics of “The name of the first is Pison[…] and the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.” The passage giving the detailed location of Eden seems out of place. The second reason I am skeptical is the possible errors in translation of the text or changes that could have taken place in the text. When the Old Testament was compiled by Sumerian priests from scrolls and tablets, the various pieces could have been in existence for many years before that. Not only could the priests have added passages and or misinterpreted the passages provided, they also could have, according to The Memory Crunch by Barber, changed the location of events in order to make the story of the Garden of Eden more relevant. It is also true that if the people who brought the myth to the Middle East migrated from another place on the globe, they may have changed it to achieve that same relevance.
The most likely explanation, in my opinion, is that Paradise simply refers to better, warmer, more abundant times for planet Earth. The word Eden translates to “fertile plain”; what if the fertile plain was actually the whole Earth? The “fall” from Eden could be explained as the global climate cooling change that occurred just over 10,000 years ago. Instead of the “fall” being the change from foragers to agriculturalists, the “fall” would have precipitated that change out of necessity. This would, according the Heinberg, also explain “the presence of Paradise myths among [today’s] preagricultural peoples.” The last and most important issue that the idea of global climate change would elucidate is Mythic Unity. The idea that cultures all over the globe would have stories about a Paradise that occurred in one tiny section of the globe that they had never seen or heard of in unimaginable. If the fall from the paradise of abundance to a less rich and fertile Earth occurred on a worldwide scale, it would clarify the occurrence of worldwide myth.
This class is very exciting to me. I'm going back and forth between three science classes to fulfill my science credit: geology, light and color, and ancient astronomy. I'm thinking the third would be the best, but if I go with ancient astronomy, I won't be able to take it this semester, because I need a humanities credit first. I'm thinking perhaps a humanities class or an english class, a math class, and an art class for next semester. That is only three units, but I could possibly take a class at the center for reading, writing and learning or do an activities credit like ballroom dancing or badminton. I have to start thinking about it though, I register next month. I also have to pick a topic for my Geomythology final, and I'm thinking the geology and geological events of Montana and how they appear in Native American myths. I have to do a little research, but I think I should be able to find something to do with the mountains, old faithful, other things in yellowstone, or something!
Alright. I'm off to meet Lori to go get my physical. Love you all! <3