Below, a map showing the landforms of Iraq. The black areas are areas of fertility made possible by irrigation canals, such as gardens and Date Palm orchards. The dark gray areas are subject to flooding by the Tigris and Euphrates. West of the Euphrates lies the steppe, a rather arid area. Light gray areas between the two rivers are additional steppes. The black area extending to the Persian Gulf is the Shatt al Arab, a river into which both the Euphrates and Tigris empty. This area is irrigated and possesses Date Palm plantations. (for the map, cf. p. 22. Barthel Hrouda. Editor. Der Alte Orient, Geshchichte und Kultur des alten Vorderasien. C. Bertelsmann. Verlag GmbH/54321. Munchen. 1991. ISBN 3572-00867-0)

It is my understanding that Genesis' Eden is derived from Sumerian edin (edin-naedin-nu), meaning a semi-arid uncultivated "steppe" or "plain." The "rivers of Eden" are then, for me, the rivers of edin, the uncultivated steppe/plain of modern Iraq, more particularly the area about ancient Sumer, Akkad and vicinity.
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