~The Forgotten Books of Eden~


One critic has said of this writing:

“This is we believe, the greatest literary discovery that the world has known. Its effect upon contemporary thought in molding the judgment of the future generations is of incalculable value.

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The Forgotten Books of Eden, by Rutherford H. Platt, Jr., [1926], at sacred-texts.com

THE FIRST BOOK OF

Adam and Eve

ALSO CALLED

The Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan.

PRESENT day controversy that rages around the authenticity of the Scriptures and how human life began on this planet must pause to consider the Adam and Eve story. Where does it come from? What does it mean?

The familiar version in Genesis is not the source of this fundamental legend, it is not a spontaneous, Heaven-born account that sprang into place in the Old Testament. It is simply a version, unexcelled perhaps, but a version of a myth or belief or account handed down by word of mouth from generation to generation of mankind-through the incoherent, unrecorded ages of man it came–like an inextinguishable ray of light that ties the time when human life began, with the time when the human mind could express itself and the human hand could write.

This is the most ancient story in the world–it has survived because it embodies the basic fact of human life. A fact that has not changed one iota; amid all the superficial changes of civilization’s vivid array, this fact remains: the conflict of Good and Evil; the fight between Man and the Devil; the eternal struggle of human nature against sin,

That the Adam and Eve story pervaded the thoughts of ancient writers is seen in the large number of versions that exist, or whose existence may be traced, through the writings of Greeks, Syrians, Egyptians, Abyssinians, Hebrews, and other ancient peoples. As a lawyer might say who examines so much apparently unrelated evidence–there must be something back of it.

The version which we give here is the work of unknown Egyptians (the lack of historical allusion makes it impossible to date the writing). Parts of this version are found in the Talmud, the Koran, and elsewhere, showing what a vital rôle it played in the original literature of human wisdom.

The Egyptian author first wrote in Arabic (which may be taken as the original manuscript) and that found its way farther south and was translated into Ethiopic. For the present English translation we are indebted to Dr. S. C. Malan, Vicar of Broadwindsor, who worked from the Ethiopic edition edited by Dr. E. Trumpp, Professor at the University of Munich. Dr. Trumpp had the advantage of the Arabic original, which makes our bridge over the gap of many centuries a direct one.

The reading of these books is an adventure. You will find the mind of man fed by the passions, hopes, fears of new and strange

earthly existence rioting, unrestrained, in the zest of self-expression. You roam in the realms of mythology where swiftly the aspects of nature assume manifold personalities, and the amorphous instinct of sin takes on the grotesqueries of a visible devil.

From such imaginative surroundings you find yourself suddenly staring at commonplace unvarnished events of family life–and such a family as “the first earthly family” was! They had all the troubles, all the petty disagreements, and the taking sides with one another, and the bother moving, and “staying with the baby,” that in the total mark family life to-day. You will see it when you peep beneath the overlaying glamour of tradition.

One critic has said of this writing:

“This is we believe, the greatest literary discovery that the world has known. Its effect upon contemporary thought in molding the judgment of the future generations is of incalculable value.

“The treasures of Tut-ank-Amen’s Tomb were no more precious to the Egyptologist than are these literary treasures to the world of scholarship.”

But we prefer to let the reader make his own exploration and form his own opinion. The writing is arresting enough to inspire very original thoughts concerning it,

In general, this account begins where the Genesis story of Adam and Eve leaves off. Thus the two can not well be compared; here we have a new chapter–a sort of sequel to the other. Here is the story of the twin sisters of Cain and Abel, and it is notable that here the blame for the first murder is placed squarely at the door of a difference over Woman.

The plan of these books is as follows:–

Book I. The careers of Adam and Eve, from the day they left Eden; their dwelling in the Cave of Treasures; their trials and temptations; Satan’s manifold apparitions to them. The birth of Cain, of Abel, and of their twin sisters; Cain’s love for his own twin sister, Luluwa, whom Adam and Eve wished to join to Abel; the details of Cain’s murder of his brother; and Adam’s sorrow and death.

Book IL The history of the patriarchs who lived before the Flood; the dwelling of the children of Seth on the Holy Mountain–Mount Hermon–until they were lured by Henun and by the daughters of Cain, to come’ down from the mountain. Cain’s death, when slain by Lamech the blind; and the lives of other patriarchs until the birth of Noah.

Chapter I

The crystal sea. God commands Adam, expelled from Eden, to dwell in the Cave of Treasures.

1. ON the third day, God planted the garden in the east of the earth, on the border of the world eastward, beyond which, towards the sun-rising, one finds nothing but water, that encompasses the whole world, and reaches unto the borders of heaven.

2. And to the north of the garden there is a sea of wafer, clear and pure to the taste, like unto nothing else; so that, through the clearness thereof, one may
look into the depths of the earth.

3. And when a man washes himself in it, becomes clean of the cleanness thereof, and white of its whiteness–even if he were dark.

4. And God created that sea of His own good pleasure, for He knew what would come of the man He should make; so that after he had left the garden, on account of his transgression, men should be born in the earth, from among whom righteous ones should die, whose souls God would raise at the last day; when they should return to their flesh; should bathe in the water of that sea, and all of them repent of their sins.

5. But when God made Adam go out of the garden, He did not place him on the border of it northward, lest he should draw near to the sea of water, and he and Eve wash themselves in it, be cleansed from their sins, forget the transgression they had committed, and he no longer reminded of it in the thought of their punishment.

6. Then, again, as to the southern side of the garden, God was not pleased to let Adam dwell there; because, when the wind blew from the north, it would bring him, on that southern side, the delicious smell of the trees of the garden.

7. Wherefore God did not put Adam there, lest he should smell the sweet smell of those trees forget his transgression, and find consolation for what he had done, take delight in the smell of the trees, and not be cleansed from his transgression because God is merciful and of great pity, and governs all things in a way He alone knows–He made our father Adam dwell in the western border of the garden, because on that side the earth is very broad.

9 And God commanded him to dwell there in a cave in a rock–the Cave of Treasures below the garden.

Next: Chapter II
Read more and original here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/fbe/fbe018.htm

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