‘the apple of my eye’ by young British photographer Eleanor Hardwick
Genesis, the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, the patriarchy, guilt and sensuality have always been front and center in my thinking. As a young woman, I launched a journal called ‘The Gospel According to Lilith’. At NYU, my senior thesis was focused on women in fifth-century BC Greece.
I’ve spent my life trying to understand why dolphins were so honored in Greece at this time that killing them was a capital crime, but today — when we know more about dolphin brains and consciousness than ever before — we ritually kill them in Taiji, Japan.
The History Channel show ‘Mysteries of the Garden of Eden’ is without question the most important hour of TV I’ve ever watched.
While ‘Mysteries of the Garden of Eden’ doesn’t focus on why the patriarchy rose to power, it shatters the Genesis myth once and for all in my eyes, showing how the exact stories of the Bible are traced back to Sumerian culture, when women were first veiled.
Religious scholars — not heathen liberals as Rush Limbaugh would suggest — explain that the Garden of Eden story is almost identical to the Sumerian creation myth.
Lilith, Adam’s first wife in the Old Testament, was once known as a Sumerian fertility/agricultural goddess before she became demonified by later religions. HC gives Lilith a much more central role than I’ve ever experienced on TV.
Every religion known to mankind has some kind of “evil woman” myth, writes The Lilith Library. Quite a few of them bear a startling resemblance to Lilith, who has many different names, such as Marilith or Lilitu, but all of them connect with the common theme: A demon woman, often with wings, who kills men and sometimes children.
One of the most startling facts in the History Channel presentation on the Garden of Eden isn’t that apples didn’t grow in the Mediterranean, leaving many historians to argue that the apple was really a pomegranate.
A much more provocative explanation is advanced by Nortre Dame religious scholar Gary Anderson.
The apple didn’t even appear in versions of the New Testament until 500 AD. Three years of Latin didn’t keep me from forgetting that apple in Latin is called ‘malus’. The word also means bad, evil and wicked.
Especially in America, where two-thirds of our women continue to believe that God is a real man who knows our every move, the notion of sexual guilt runs deeply in our veins. Our patriarchal, religious culture continues to dominate our sexuality.
The beauty of the History Channel show ‘Mysteries of the Garden of Eden’ is that it ties many writing here at Anne of Carversville into a patchwork quilt that hangs together effectively. This is hardly the first show I’ve watched about creation myths but it is the most lucid, reaching without restraint into concepts like patriarchy and men rewriting Genesis, creating the second version in which Eve is made of Adam’s rib, destined to lie under him.
I’m so inspired that I will watch this show when it airs again on February 20, 2011. This time I will be writing down all the sources and Biblical scholars, because I have so much to learn about these new discoveries and how they impact the lives of women worldwide — especially when the focus is monitoring our sexuality and sensuality.
Decoding the Past: Mysteries of the Garden of Eden