Table of Contents

Genesis 3: 22-24: the expulsion narrative.
The tree of life.
Wisdom and the expulsion from the garden.
Access to Eden and the hope for immortality.
Eden and the temple. There are few texts as central to the mythology of Jewish and Christian literature as the Garden of Eden and its attendant motifs. Yet the direct citation of this text within the biblical corpus is surprisingly rare. Even more conspicuous is the infrequent reference to creation, or to the archetypal first human pair. In fact, most covenantal texts in the Hebrew Bible begin with Abraham or with the Exodus rather than with the story of the garden. However, attention to Eden and the drama of the garden narrative increases in Jewish and Christian sources of the first centuries BCE and CE in which exegetes renew their interest in the earth's creation. This exegetical shift is both to the former, first creation, as well as to the hope for an eschatological new creation. Most studies of Gen 2-3 omit analysis of the expulsion narrative of verses 22-24 altogether, leaving this section off as a late editorial addition with little relevance to the Eden Narrative as a whole. This choice is perplexing given the prominent place given by later interpreters to the motifs contained in these verses. The Tree of Life, the problem of wisdom, and the removal of access to the Garden become more important for Eden's interpreters than Adam and Eve, the serpent, or the curses placed upon them. This book analyzes the expulsion narrative as an ideological insertion into the Garden of Eden narrative of Genesis 2-3 in response to the ascendency of scribal wisdom in the late seventh- and early sixth-centuries BCE. Additionally, this book proposes a new method of textual analysis, which places limits of reasonable constraint on the possibilities of interpretation, arguing that the essential dialogues of the redacted Eden narrative are reflected in the reception history of Eden's interpreters.