The Garden of Eden not Aden in the Yemen, but Wadi Adhana/Dhana at Ma`rib?
Please click here for this website's most important article Why a "naked" Adam in Eden? For Christians visiting this website my most important article is: The Reception of God's Holy Spirit: How the Hebrew Prophets _contradict_ Christianity's Teachings. Please click here.
03 April 2007 Update:
Please click here for _my map_ showing the location of the Garden of Eden in Mesopotamia based on my research into the Epic of Gilgamesh (Enkidu being recast as Adam, and Shamhat being recast as Eve). Please click here for my article identifying Eridu as one of the places behind the Garden of Eden imagery, said place being where man was warned by his god _not to eat_ because in so doing he would die. This is the Mesopotamian explanation as to why man does not have immortality. Please click here for pictures of NAKED MEN and NAKED WOMEN as servants of the gods, just as Adam and Eve were NAKED servants of Yahweh-Elohim.
07 July 2005 Update:
I have come to realize that Sumerian edin meaning a "desert plain" or "desert steppe" applies equally well to both northern (Haran to Sippar) and southern Mesopotamia (Sippar to Eridu) please click here for my article titled "Eden's Four Rivers."
14 Feb 2005 Update:
This article was written 4 years ago, since that time, further research on Eden has caused me to realize that the _ORIGINAL PRE-BIBLICAL SOURCES_ of "the garden of Eden" are _several locations_ as preseved in various Mesopotamian myths.
I found these Edens, as a "byproduct" of attempting to document Mesopotamian _parallels_ to the Adam and Eve story in the Bible, as noted in the scholarly literature. To my surprise, I discovered that no single Mesopotamian myth possessed _all_ the elements or motifs appearing in the biblical story. The parallels or motifs were "scattered" amongst several different myths. Another unexpected surprise was to realize that the Mesopotamian myths at times DISAGREED and CONTRADICTED each other about how man came to be made by the gods and WHERE the location of his first appearance on the earth was. I understand that the Hebrews brought these contradicting parallels or motifs together and created the garden of Eden myth from them.
1) According to the Bible man is made by God and placed in the garden of Eden to till and keep the garden. Some Mesopotamian myths understand that man was created to till and tend the earthly garden at Nippur belonging to a god who in myth is called Enlil. The products of this garden were originally tended and tilled by the Igigi gods, who objected to the working conditions. To prevent a revolt by the Igigi, man is made by the god Enki to replace them at Enlil's behest. Enki has an Igigi god slain and his flesh and blood are mixed into some clay making man. So, both Mesopotamia and the Bible understand man's _first appearance_ on the earth is in a garden belonging to _a_ god_, his job being to tend and till it. However, in Sumer, the god's garden is ALWAYS associated with a city that the god dwells in. The Mesopotamian "garden of the god" was NOT in some remote wilderness all by its self as portrayed in Genesis. So, Nippur's _garden of a god_ (Enlil), is an edenic prototype.
2) In another contradicting myth, man is created by the god Enki to tend and till _his_ garden located in the city of Eridu in Sumer. The Igigi gods at Eridu object to their hard toil in Enki's garden so he makes man to replace them. In this myth man is made of clay over the apsu (a freshwater source of all rivers, a spring). Please note that Eridu like Nippur, lies on a great plain or steppe, which in Sumerian is called edin and in Akkadian/Babylonian seru, seri, serim. So, man is made at Eridu _in_ edin, of its clay or earth, thus Eridu and vicinity is another edenic prototype.
3) Another CONTRADICTING Mesopotamian myth, called by some scholars "The Eridu Genesis Myth" has man in a steppe or plain called in Sumerian edin and in Akkadian (Babylonian) seru, seri, serim. He wanders this edin NAKED and wild animals are his companions; he eats grass and laps water at watering holes like an animal. Eventually a goddess called Nintur takes pity on naked man's "hard life" in edin the steppe and takes him from this edin and "civilizes him." Man is taught that it is wrong to be naked, he MUST wear clothes when he comes to _dwell with the gods in their cities_ and _work in their gardens_, for the gods wear clothes and nakedness is an offense for them. The gods provide man clothing and settle him in cities built originally to house only the gods. From the gods man learns the arts of civilization, how to make musical instruments, how to forge metals, how to be shepherds, how to grow food in irrigation-fed gardens, as the gods do. To the degree that edin means a "plain, floodplain or steppe", and the Tigris and Euphrates do cross a great _plain_, extending from Baghdad to Basrah these rivers are thus associated with edin. However, please note an interesting contradiction exists here, the cities of Sumer were built in edin the plain. According to one myth in the beginning the gods (called the Annunaki) who built these cities were originally naked like animals, eating grass and lapping water like naked man. So, edin is not only the UNTAMED PLAIN that wild animals and naked man roamed, its also a plain "TAMED" by civilized man, with irrigation canals and networks for gardens and cities ! So, edin the UNTAMED PLAIN which lies _near_ Nippur and Eridu as well as Uruk (biblical Erech Genesis 10:10) is another edenic prototype. The Eridu Genesis myth notes that NAKED man in the UNTAMED edin, knew NO FEAR, no animal offered harm to him. Harm came when man left this edin to dwell in cities and maintain the gardens of the gods in Sumer. Apparently Genesis' notion of an "idyllic eden" is fusing two different Mesopotamian concepts, the UNTAMED edin with the TAMED edin which has cities, canals and irrigated gardens planted by the gods for their self-nourishment. Note: Edin always refers to uncultivated land. The god's cities and city-gardens are surrounded by uncultivated land, thus they "lie in" or are "surrounded by" the edin. Before the gods created cities and city-gardens the whole region that the Tigris and Euiphrates rivers coursed through was uncultivated land and thus "edin."
4) The notion that Adam and Eve ate of forbidden food from a tree is drawn from -in part- the myth about Enki and Ninhursag in the earthly garden of Dilmun. Enki eats without his goddess-wife's permission eight of her plants, in order to "know" them; enraged, she curses him with death, the first plant that Enki consumed is called "a tree plant". She later relents, asking him what body part ails him and thereupon makes either a god or goddess to heal that part. When he complains of his rib aching, she makes Nin-Ti, a goddess to heal his rib (Sumerian ti means rib). In Sumerian Nin-ti can mean "Lady of the rib" and "Lady that makes live." One of Enki's epithets was En-Ti, "Lord of the Rib."A number of profesional scholars have suggested that Eve's being made of Adam's rib is drawing from this myth, as well as her name Eve, Hebrew Havvah meaning "mother of life" located at Dilmun. Some scholars have suggested Dilmun is the island of Bahrain near Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf. My research, however, suggests its at or near Tell el Lahm in the marshes just east of Eridu.
Kramer suggested Dilmun was an Edenic prototype (Note: I understand the "Sumerian Noah and wife place in Dilmun to be prototypes for Adam and Eve):
"Paradise, according to the Sumerian theologians, was for the immortal gods, and for them alone, not for mortal man. One mortal, however, and only one, according to Sumerian mythmakers, did suceed in gaining admittance to this divine paradise. This brings us to the Sumerian "Noah" and the deluge myth, the closest and most striking Biblical parallel as yet uncovered in cuneiform literature." (p. 149. "The First Biblical Parallels." Samuel Noah Kramer. History Begins At Sumer: Twenty-seven "Firsts" in Man's Recorded History. Garden City, New York. Doubleday Anchor Books. 1959 reprint of 1956 published by The Falcon's Wing Press)
But, according to other non-mythcal annalistic texts, Dilmun is a location with a city, it has a king, buildings, boat docks, irrigation canals, plantations of Date Palms, lagoons filled with fish, and marshlands. So, Dilmun, in the marshes, east of Eridu, Shuruppak and Uruk, is another edenic prototype.
5) The motif of forbidden access to trees appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh, when he and Enkidu set out to cut down for timber Cedars growing on a mountain guarded by a half-human monster called Huwawa or Humbaba. Most scholars usually identify this cedar mountain with some location in the Lebanon, famed in antiquity for its mighty cedars, coveted for the building of palaces and temples throughout the Ancient Middle Eastern world. Gilgamesh and Enkidu take 6 days to cross a great plain (called the steppe or E.din) to reach this cedar mountain where Enkidu once roamed with his animal friends. Has Huwawa the guardian of the trees been reformatted in the Cherubbim? Has the SWORD used by Gilgamesh to slay Huwawa become the "feiry sword" that bars access to the forbidden trees of Eden? Perhaps Adam and Eve's forbidden access to sacred trees is a reformatting of Gilgamesh and Enkidu's forbidden access to cedar trees? If so, then it worth noting that Ezekiel mentions the cedars of Lebanon in the Garden of Eden, comparing themselves to Pharaoh who is portrayed like a mighty cedar. That is to say, perhaps a Lebanese cedar mountain in the Epic of Gilgamesh lies behind Ezekiel's imagery of a cedar mountain in the Garden of Eden in the Lebanon? Thus another "edenic prototype" is a Lebanese cedar mountain.
Ezekiel 31: 3, 8-9 RSV
"Behold, I will liken you [Pharaoh] to A CEDAR IN LEBANON...THE CEDARS in the GARDEN OF GOD could not rival it...all the trees of EDEN envied it, that were in the GARDEN OF GOD."
Some may "wonder" how does the garden of Eden wind up in association with a _mountain_ (Hebrew: Har, pronounced khar) in Ezekiel's imagery, if it originally was associated with Sumerian edin-the-PLAIN? The answer will surprise you ! In Sumerian hymns, Eridu in Sumer, where Enki lives, and where he "made man to tend and till his fruit-tree garden" is called on occasion, _KUR_, which in Sumerian has several meanings, "land", "the underworld," and "_MOUNTAIN_." Perhaps "_KUR_ERIDU_" became over the millennia, the "Garden of Eden on a mountain"? Another contradicting myth as noted above, has man created at Nippur to tend the garden of a god called Enlil. Enlil dwelt in a temple-ziggurat called e-kur, meaning "mountain house" (e= house, kur= mountain), so his garden is associated with a mountain too like Eridu.
Kramer (emphasis mine in CAPITALS):
"Then Enki raises the city Eridu from the abyss and makes it float over the water like a lofty MOUNTAIN. Its green fruit-bearing gardens he fills with birds...
Enlil says to the Anunnaki:
"Ye great gods who are standing about,
My son has built a house, king Enki;
Eridu LIKE A MOUNTAIN, he has raised up from the earth,
In a good place he has built it."
(pp. 62-63. "Enki and Eridu: The Journey of the Water-god to Nippur." Samuel Noah Kramer. Sumerian Mythology: A Study of Spiritual and Literary Achievement in the Third Millennium B. C. Philadelphia. University of Pennsylvania Press. 1944, 1961, 1972, 1997. ISBN 0-8122-1047-6 paperback)
Now, Eridu does has the remains of a great ziggurat-temple, and the ziggurat at Nippur was called the E-Kur "Mountain House" of the god Enlil. So, if one wants to argue for the real physical presence of a "mountain" at Eridu in association with Enki's fruit-tree garden worked by man who has been created to replace the Igigi gods, the ziggurat would be my first choice. The other possible "edenic mountain" is Nippur's ziggurat called the "mountain house" where man was created to work in a god's garden (Enlil's garden).
6) Adam loses out on attaining immortality, he ate the forbidden fruit. This motif appears in several Mesopotamian myths. In the Adapa myth (Adam's prototype according to several scholars) while at Eridu, his god Enki warns him that when he goes up to heaven to face the supreme god An or Anu, not to eat anything offered for its is "the food of death." In reality, it is the "food conferring immortality" on mankind, but Enki does not want to lose man as a servant (He made man to be a servant to the gods). The Hebrews have INVERTED this myth, having man consume forbidden food when in the Adapa myth, man obeyed a lying god and lost out in attaining immortality (but note, neither Adapa or Adam ate the food which would confer immortality on them and via them, mankind). In another INVERSION the Hebrews place the event on the earth (but note that the warning from Enki was given on the earth at Eridu, which lies in edin-the-plain, where he has a garden of fruit trees he planted next to his shrine). So, another "edenic prototype" is Anu's abode _in Heaven_.
7) By the 2d-1st centuries BCE (Before the Common Era or BC, Before Christ), the Hasmonean Jews had come to locate Eden in the Yemen and nearby Dhofar, sources of spices and incense since King Solomon's days and the Queen of Sheba. This notion is preserved in various books called "The Pseudepigrapha." These books claim that when Adam was expelled from Eden, he asked God to allow him to take from the garden, spices and incense as offerings to God, and God assented. As the ONLY known location for these products was Southwest Arabia (the Yemen and Dhofar), thus Eden came to be "transposed" there from Lower Mesopotamia (the steppe called edin, where are located Eridu and Nippur of Sumer as well as Dilmun and its marshes) to a new location. Jewish communities, according to Yemeni Jewish traditions existed from Mecca and Medina to the Yemen, settled in the days of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, to exploit the spice trade between Sheba and Jerusalem (other traditions say they settled in the area after the fall of Jerusalem, ca. 587 BCE, to the Babylonians). So, by the 2d-1st centuries BCE, Eden had come to be identified with Arabic Adn, the modern port of Aden in the Yemen, the Islamic holy book, The Koran/Quran, calls the "garden of Eden" Jannat Adn. Thus, when The Quran came to be composed in the 7th century CE (CE means "of the Common Era", or AD meaning Anno Domini, "year of our Lord"), its Jannat Adn (however Jannat Adn in the Quran is understood to be in heaven, not on the earth), was a concept the Arabs had picked up from Jews living in their area, which had been a part of Jewish folklore since the 2d century BCE; that is to say, for some 9 centuries Jewish traditions in the areas of the Yemen, Mecca and Medina, had preserved a notion of Eden being in this part of the Arabic world!
8) Even later, additional Pseudepigraphic writings identified Eden with Jerusalem or Bethshean near the Jordan River!
9) Today, some scholars seek Eden in Missouri (the Mormons), others near the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates (David Rohl). Another scholar, Dr. Juris Zarins proposed that Eden is submerged beneath the Persian Gulf near the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab in Iraq. By the 1600's and 1700s a number of European scholars, both Catholic and Protestant, believed Eden could never be found because they argued that Noah's Flood had destroyed the original river courses by which it could be pin-pointed or located.
I do NOT understand that Eden is a real place, _its a Hebrew myth_ based on a re-working of earlier Mesopotamian myths, which offer -contradictorily- several different locations, as noted above.
Of interest _to me_ is a passage from The Epic of Gilgamesh speaking of "a garden of the plain," as plain is "edin" in Sumerian, perhaps we what we have here is the earliest or "_first_" mention of a "garden of edin" ? Also of interest is the presence of trees in the "garden of edin."
Kramer (emphasis mine):
"To the...GARDEN OF THE PLAIN he [Gilgamesh] directed his step,
The...-tree, the willow, the apple-tree, the box-tree, the
...-tree he felled there."
(p. 178. "Slaying of the Dragon [Huwawa or Humbaba], the First St. George." Samuel Noah Kramer. History Begins At Sumer, Twenty-seven "Firsts" In Man's Recorded History. Garden City, New York. Doubleday Anchor Books. 1959. paperback)
Of interest here, is a Mesopotamian flood myth in which Enlil is portrayed as the principal instigator in SENDING a flood to destroy _all_ of mankind which disturbs _his rest_ with its noise. However, his brother, the god Enki, "defies him", and WARNS a pious man called variously Ziusudra, Atrahasis or Utnapishtim of the coming flood and to save himself, family and animals by building a boat. When the Flood ends, an enraged Enlil learns that some humans have survived (Ziusudra and family). Enki confronts his angry brother, beseeching him not to ever again send a flood to destroy mankind. Enlil, relents, and agrees never again to send a flood, then Enlil "blesses" the survivors (Yahweh "blessed" the flood's survivors too, cf. Ge 9:1).
In Genesis it is Yahweh who SENT the flood and he WARNED one man, Noah, to save himself, family and animals by building a boat. I understand that Yahweh-Elohim is a fusion of Enlil who _sent_ the flood and Enki who _warned_ the Mesopotamian Noah, Ziusudra and his family.
So, according to various Mesopotamian "creation and flood" myths man was created to tend and till the garden of _a_ god in edin-the-plain at Nippur (Enlil) and another contradicting myth has man created to work in a garden of _a_ god at Eridu belonging to Enki. Thus the two brother gods, Enlil and Enki, who each had man created to work in their garden, are also involved in a Mesopotamian FLOOD myth, the one seeking mankinds' destruction, the other intervening to spare "a remnant" for a new beginning. That is to say, I understand that Enlil and Enki "lurk" behind Genesis' presentation of Yahweh-Elohim.
Another important "theme" or "motif" in the Mesopotamian "creation and flood" myths is that of the gods' attaining REST. Man is made to replace the Igigi gods who toil in the garden of a god (Enlil) at Nippur or at Eridu (Enki). The Igigi thus attain "eternal rest" from agricultural toil with man's creation. In the Mesopotamian flood myth man is to be destroyed because his "noise" disturbs the "rest" of the god Enlil (for whom man was created to work in his garden at Nippur) who complains he can neither sleep or rest ! The myths suggest that the Igigi themselves constantly clamored for a freedom from toil and this clamor was at first ignored by the Annuaki or senior gods (Enki and Enlil). When man is made, we are told that the Igigi gods "clamor" is TRANSFERRED to man! In other words, the reason for man's "clamor" is for the same reason as that of the Igigi gods' -he has no rest from agricultural toil ! Enlil decides he will obtain sleep and rest from the "clamor" by sending a flood to destroy man. That mankind seeks to enter into the "rest" from toil enjoyed exclusively by the gods is suggested in the Bible when Yahweh swears he will not allow a sinful mankind to enter into "his rest" (cf. Hebrews 3:11, 18; 4:1, 3, 5, 8-11).
The original pre-biblical prototypes appear to be_all_ Mesopotamian and associated with the great plain of edin in LOWER MESOPTAMIA and the lands of Sumer, Dilmun, and a Lebanese Cedar Mountain abutting edin-the-plain.
How did the Hebrews come by these ORIGINALLY SUMERIAN MOTIFS? The answer is that these existed in the literature and traditions of a city called UR OF THE CHALDEES where lived Terah and his son Abraham. I understand that these two individuals, transformed these myths, believing that they had a "relevation from God," to do so.
Predictably the local populace OBJECTED to this reinterpretation and transformation of their myths explaining where, how and why man came to be made. I suspect Terah and Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees as OUTCASTS or HERETICS, rejected by the local populace. Of note here is that the Jewish Hasmonean authors of the book of Judith (said book being in Catholic Bibles, and a few Protestant bibles under the title of Apocrypha), understood that because Terah and Abraham had REJECTED THE GODS OF THEIR ANCESTORS, to follow Yahweh-Elohim, they were _forced to flee_ to Haran of Mesopotamia, and later to Canaan.
Here is the account from Judith (believed by some scholars to date from the late 2nd century BCE):
"Then Achior, the leader of all the Ammonites, said to him, "Let my lord now hear a word from the mouth of your servant, and I will tell you the truth about this people that dwells in the nearby mountain district. No falsehood shall come from your servant's mouth. This people is descended from the Chaldeans.At one time they lived in Mesopotamia, because they would not follow the the gods of their fathers who were in Chaldea. For they had left the ways of their ancestors, and they worshipped the God of Heaven, the God they had come to know; hence they drove them out from the presence of their gods; and they fled to Mesopotamia, and lived there a long time. Then their God commanded them to leave the place were they were living and go to the land of Canaan. There they settled, and prospered..." (Herbert G. May & Bruce M. Metzger. Editors. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. [Revised Standard Version]. New York. Oxford University Press. 1977)
Professor Kramer on Abraham of Ur being Genesis' possible source of motifs:
"To be sure, even the earliest parts of the Bible, it is generally agreed, were not written down in their present form much earlier than 1000 BC, whereas most of the Sumerian literary documents were composed about 2000 BC or not long afterward. There is, therefore no question of any contemporary borrowing from the Sumerian literary sources. Sumerian influence penetrated the Bible through the Canaanite, Hurrian, Hittite, and Akkadian literatures -particularly through the latter, since, as is well known, the Akkadian language was used all over Palestine and its environs in the second millennium BC as the common language of practically the entire literary world. Akkadian literary works must therefore have been well known to Palestinian men of letters, including the Hebrews, and not a few of these Akkadian literary works can be traced back to Sumerian protoypes,
remodeled and transformed over the centuries.
However, there is another possible source of Sumerian influence on the Bible, which is far more direct and immediate than that just described. In fact, it may well go back to Father Abraham himself. Most scholars agree that the Abraham saga as told in the Bible contains much that is legendary and fanciful, it does have an important kernel of truth, including Abraham's birth in Ur of the Chaldees, perhaps about 1700 BC, and his early life there with his family. Now Ur was one of the most important cities of ancient Sumer; in fact, it was the capital of Sumer at three different periods in its history. It had an impressive edubba; and in the joint British-American excavations conducted there between the years 1922 and 1934, quite a number of Sumerian literary documents have been found. Abraham and his forefathers may well have had some acquaintence with Sumerian literary products that had been copied and created in their home town academy. And it is by no means impossible that he and the members of his family brought some of this Sumerian lore and learning with them to Palestine, where they gradually became part of the traditions and sources utilized by the Hebrew men of letters in composing and redacting the books of the Bible." (p. 292. "The Legacy of Sumer." Samuel Noah Kramer. The Sumerians, Their History, Culture, and Character. Chicago. The University of Chicago Press.  reprint 1972. ISBN 0-226-45237-9. paperback)
21 Feb 2005 Update:
Highly reccomended is Tim Langille's article which draws pretty much the same conclusions as I do in the above preceeding preface of 14 February 2005. Please click here for his article titled "Myth Making in the Bible and in the Ancient Near East: The Yahwist Primeval Creation Myth" (2003). However, let it be acknowledged here, that in a search for "The Truth," one MUST study _both sides_, so, dear reader, I would encourage you to pause a moment and click here and read what I regard as a typical Christian Apologist "refutation" of the notion that Genesis is a reformatting of Ancient Near Eastern Mesopotamian myths.
Below, is a copy of a letter I wrote to the b-hebrew list (22 Aug. 2001) explaining the problems in identifying the Garden of Eden's location:
You are quite right about the many different theories. No one has been able
to find a river that divides into four heads or branches. Those arguing for
Eden in Mesopotamia do so on the basis of the mention of the Tigris and
Euphrates. They posit other streams that empty into these streams as
tributaries or which empty into the Shatt al Arab, which empties into the
Persian Gulf. All have to acknowledge however, that the source of the Tigris
and Euphrates is not the river of Eden. The sources of these two rivers are
in the mountains of Turkey, they do not arise from one river. So, if
geography "proves" the Bible wrong, that there is no river of Eden, what is
the recourse? A common answer given by those of faith is that God
destroyed Eden with Noah's flood and thus the reason the Edenic river cannot
be located. Geologists understand there was _NO Noah's Flood_ covering the
entire world. So Humanists/Rationalists _don't buy_ that argument. The only
other "rational" argument has to be that the Edenic river is based on
imperfect knowledge and fantasy. What river feeds the Gihon in Cush, below
Egypt (please note that the Early Fathers of the Christian Church accepted
Jewish notions that the Gihon was the Nile) and the Tigris and Euphrates in
Mesopotamia? Geography will tell you there is none. But Greek and Egyptian
myths will tell you that the Nile/Gihon arises from the Oceanic river that
encircles the world. This freshwater stream called by the Homeric Greeks
"river Ocean" is the source of all the world's rivers. Here then is the only
possible source for the Tigris and Euphrates in Mesopotamia and the Gihon in
Cush/Egypt, a mythological river.
22 March 2005 Update:
I received a most interesting e-mail today from a reader of my articles asking what my opinion was regarding the "origins" of the Anunnaki gods. I am posting my reply because it caused me "to see" the Garden of Eden story from _a neglected_ Anthropological point of view. That is to say, the Mesopotamian myths about man's origins are merely a recollection of REAL HISTORY to a degree, but in "mythologized form." I recall here Life magazine's excellent book titled The Epic of Man (Time Life Publishers. 1961), which traces his development from a naked beast, to a gatherer of nuts and berries, then hunter, who fashions clothes for himself from animal hides; then the REAL REVOLUTION, he settles down in Lower Mesoptamia and builds villages, domesticates animals, builds canals and irrigation systems and grows his food, and learns to grow plants to make "real clothes from" on looms to cover his naked body. That is to say, the Sumerian myths about the gods initially making man NAKED, and having him roam "edin-the-steppe/plain" with other animals, lapping water and eating herbs of the field with other beasts, are recalling their ancestors' evolution from hunter-gatherers to urban civilized man. It is _my understanding_ that Genesis' 1-4, although a later reformatting of these Sumerian myths is recalling this same _momentuous event_ in man's history. My letter:
I'm not quite sure how to answer your question. Obviously the Mesopotamian
gods and goddesses are "figments of the imagination," and are in fact -from
an Anthropological point of view- man's projection of his fears, loves and
hatreds onto "imaginary" deities created in his image.
Society has always had leaders and followers, and some kind of a "pecking
order" as seen in non-human species (chickens, ants, bees, wolves, apes,
lions, etc). Probably the Anunnaki represent this "pecking order," they _not
having to toil_ in the earthly garden of the gods, leaving the lesser Igigi
gods that _onerous_ task. That is to say, in early Sumerian society there
were the priests, nobles and kings who did not do manual labor, and then
their were the common people, who toiled. The Anunnaki probably reflect the
"privileged" class in Sumerian society and the Igigi the un-privileged.
The building of Ziggurats, called at times, Kur meaning "mountains," suggest
that they may have lived originally in the Zagros mountain range as hunters
and gatherers, who came down into the flood plains of the Tigris and
Euphrates in search of game and wild food-bearing flora. Eventually, they
came to realize they would be better-off settling down and growing their own
food and raising domesticed animals of the area, and came to build at first,
villages with canals and irrigation networks then cities. So the "Anunnaki
stories" about them being naked at first and lapping water like beasts (like
the first humans) and roaming "edin-the-plain" with wild animals, is _probably_ the
Sumerian "recollection" -in mythical terms- of mankind's transformation from
hunter-gatherer to agriculturalist and city dweller. In a sense, Genesis 1-9
is recalling this Sumerian mythology of man's transformation from a roaming
naked beast to a clothed urbanite, but transforming it somewhat into a
single god, Yahweh-Elohim vs. many gods.
I hope this has answered your question. You might also want to try the
Google internet search engine for more articles on the Anunnaki."
25 March 2005 Update:
Neglected, in the above article is _"Eden from an Anthropological view"_. Let me "digress" here a moment. I was an educator or teacher from 1967 to my retirement in 2002. I taught Art and Social Studies to Middle School students (ages 12-14 years of age). One of those Social Studies courses was World Geography. Only a few days ago, did it finally dawn on me what the Garden of Eden story was "really all about." Its about something I had taught my students in Geography classes for the past 30 years !
I taught 7th Grade "Cultural Geography," man's inter-relationship to the land. The most important event in the history of mankind was when he ceased to be a roaming naked wild animal and became "civilized." This momentuous event was accomplished in the following manner: Speaking Anthropologically, man at first was an animal, he roamed naked with other beasts. He ate what they ate, wild herbs of the field and fruit from trees. He drank at watering holes with the animals. Then he became a "gatherer-hunter," still nomadic. Then the great revolution occured, man settled down, built villages and then cities, and became civilized and wore fine clothes made from plant fibers on looms. What made this "civilization" possible? It was man's becoming a domesticator of animals for food and his becoming an agriculturalist, growing and raising food to eat. In Lower Mesopotamia, he achieved this via the creation of canals and irrigation sytems for gardens supporting fruit trees, vegetables, date palms, etc., said gardens being associated with a nearby village or city.
Even today, in the 21st century, the Great Civilizations are made possible by "the agriculturalist" or farmer who tends his "garden," which provides A SURPLUS OF FOOD, allowing others in the group or "society" to not have to spend their time scrounging for a mouthful to feed their empty bellies or their family's hunger. By contrast, primitive man who is still a nomadic "gatherer and hunter," spends most of his time seeking food, he has NO TIME to develop a civilization. Also note that it is not unusual to find primitive man in the wilds, NAKED like Adam and Eve, and without shame. I know of no Great Civilization, whose people wander about naked, all are clothed.
It is _my understanding_ that the Sumerian myths about the who, what, why, where, and how of man coming to be created, is in reality, recalling a REAL EVENT of great importance, these myths recall that moment in time when man ceased to be a naked wild animal roaming with other animals, and settled down, became an agriculturalist (creating gardens for food) and Civilization began.
Speaking from an Anthropological viewpoint, in reality, it was NOT a god or gods who taught man it was wrong to be naked, and provide him with clothes (as in the Sumerian Eridu Myth), nor was it the gods or a god who made man to tend his/their garden on the earth, teaching him "how" to be an agriculturalist. That great achievement was man's doing, not a god's. Man gave up being a nomadic "gatherer-hunter," gave up being naked, gave up roaming the wilds with animals. In Lower Mesopotamia he settled down, built canals, irrigation ditches, became an agriculturalist, raised food, grew plants which could be turned into cloth on looms. Man, via, experimentation, keen observation of nature (flora and fauna), and trial and error, developed Civilization and cities, NOT the gods or a god.
I understand with other scholars, that Genesis' myths regarding man's creation and being placed in a god's garden to till and tend it, in a state of nakedness, and then later leaving it to found cities (Cain) is nothing more than a "re-working" of earlier Sumerian motifs on how man came to be made, and cities and civilization came into being. The Sumerians possesed one of the world's earliest "great" civilizations with temples, ziggurats, canals, cities, writing, mathematics and calendars.
The Sumerians were WRONG, the gods did NOT teach their ancestors all this ("the arts of civilization"), man achieved all this ON HIS OWN ACCORD. So, in a sense the Sumerian myths about man's creation and his cites are recalling man's _EVOLUTION_ from a naked ANIMAL TO A CLOTHES-WEARING CIVILIZED HUMAN BEING dwelling in cities.
Thus _I understand_ Genesis' "Garden of Eden" and creation of man by God, although a later re-working of Sumerian creation myths of how mankind came to be made by the gods, is in reality, a recollection of the greatest achivement ever made by man, his self-transformation from a wandering naked animal to a settled agriculturalist and city dweller, all made possible by man's becoming an agriculturalist, creating wonderous gardens capable of creating a "food-surplus" freeing his fellow men, so that they could apply themselves to discovering and developing the "arts of civilization."
So, man _was robbed_ by "priests" of his greatest intellectual achievement, his SELF-TRANSFORMATION from a naked animal roaming edin-the-plain to a clothes-wearing civilized man. The "priests" of Sumer ascribed man's "wearing of clothes" and "arts of civilization" to the gods teaching man that he should wear clothes, till and tend gardens and build cities. It would take some 6000 years for man's SELF-TRANSFORMATION from naked beast to clothes-wearing city-dweller to be _properly restored to man_ by the secular humanist disciplines of Archaeology and Anthropology, which arose in the course of the late 19th and 20th centuries, our modern era.
Please note as you read the below article that I now understand as of 29 May 2006 that Eden's _original_ location is edin-the desert-plain or steppe of Mesopotamia NOT Aden and the Yemen. The Yemeni Aden association probably arose in Maccabean times as preserved in the Book of Jubilees (ca. 100 BCE) due to spices being identified with Eden in this text and the Yemen and Dhofar being sources of spices.
Below, the "original" article:
Warning: I no longer (as of 23 Dec 2006) identify Eden with the Yemen, it originally was Mesopotamia. It was in Hasmonean times (2nd-1st century BC) that Eden came to be transferred to the Yemen and the kingdom of Sheba.
20 August 2001
In an earlier article on the Garden of Eden I argued that the port of Aden in the Yemen preserved the name Eden. More recent research on my part has caused me to realize I am in error to a degree. I now understand that the "prototype" or "historical kernel" underlying the Garden of Eden story is events occurring at the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Sheba called Ma`rib.
The problem in identifying the port of Aden with Eden, is its geography. It lies in a desolate area which only receives 3 inches of rain annually. There is no garden here. I have come to realize that the Koran has preserved a valuable clue to Eden's location, the 34th Sura mentions two gardens of Saba (Sheba) that came to be destroyed in a flood. By doing more research I discovered that Ma`rib became the capital of Sheba in the 9th century BCE, replacing Sirwah, to the west (Ma`rib is believed by some, to have been founded in the 13th century BCE). What occasioned the move in capitals was the narrowness of the valley Sirwah was located in, it did not have a future for growth. The creation of a Dam at Wadi Adhana, near Mir`ab, brought under cultivation about 2,471 acres, via an elaborate irrigation system. Ma`rib, between the 9th to 5th centuries BCE came to be the leading city of Sheba. Its wealth, however was not from its gardens, but the levies imposed on caravans heading north to the Mediterranean world carrying frankincense, spices, precious stones and gold.
Chwaszcza (citing from the Koran, Sura 34) :
"14. A sign there was to Saba in their dwelling places: two gardens, the one on the right hand and the other on the left. "Eat ye of your Lord's supplies, and give thanks to him: goodly is the country, and gracious is the Lord !"
15. But they turned aside: so we sent upon them the flood or Irem; and we changed their gardens into two gardens of bitter fruit and tamarisks and some few jujube trees." (p.182, "Mar`rib," Joachim Chwaszcza, Editor. Insight Guides, Yemen. Singapore, Malaysia. APA Publications Ltd. 1992 , 2nd edition)
"Wealth of the Sabaeans: The rule of the Sabaeans (from the 9th century to 115 BC) established itself first in Sirwah and later on in Maryab (Ma`rib). Their wealth was based less on agricultural success, through building of the dam and the highly evolved techniques of irrigation, than on customs duties and tolls which were levied on the caravans passing along the frankincense route. Ma`rib was founded in 1200 BC and by the fifth century at the latest it was strongly fortified with a city wall, as the pre-eminence of the Sabaeans had been shaken by the establishment of the Minaean city states in the northeast and Qhataban in the south.
...The ancient dam lies in the desert at the end of the wadi Adhana. Only the north and south sluice and some parts of the dam in the north sluice survived. Work on the dam began as early as ca. 800 BC. The first dam was probably only a piled earth wall, and was not reinforced with stone until much later. You can still see how accurate the work of the stone masons was when you look at the two sluices. The stones fit without a gap...a large part of the ruined dam still has its original plastering on the inside...the dam was 1,969 feet (600 metres) long. The access to the south sluice is at times blocked by the wadi Adhana, which lies right below the sluice...The ancient dam irrigated an area of about 2,471 acres (1,000 hectares) of farmland. Now that plantations and fields have returned to the wadi bed, you can imagine what the "Two Gardens of Saba" must have looked like in the past. This image of a rich and fruitful oasis is the one the government uses when they report on the new dam of Ma`rib on Television." (pp. 184-5, Chwaszcza)
I have noted in an earlier article that the Hebrews were fond of taking older stories and myths and giving them "a new twist". They often indulged in what I call "Reversals," whereby the setting of the story and its morals are turned about 180 degrees. An example of what I call a "reversal" is the story about the so-called "Tower of Babel" in Genesis. We are informed that men built the tower and God destroyed it offended by their hubris. I suspect this an allusion to a real historical event, the destruction of the Tower by Sennacherib ca. 689 BCE after putting down a Babylonian revolt. In the original story, as told by the Babylonians, the Tower had been built by the gods in gratitude for Marduk's saving them from Tiamat the female personification of the flooding salt-sea. The Hebrews (Jews) simply took this story and "reversed" it. Men made the tower, not gods, a God (Yahweh-Elohim) destroyed the tower, not men (the Assyrians under Sennacherib). Babylon is Bab-il in Akkadian, meaning "gate of the Gods" but the Hebrews put a "new twist" on the meaning of the name, it was Babel, from balal a "confusion" of languages. I suspect here that the Jews in Exile at Babylon regarded all the different languages they encountered at Babylon as a "confusion" to their ears, it being a very cosmopolitan city and crossroads of the world in the 6th century BCE
(elsewhere I date the Genesis account to ca. 562 BCE).
The Garden of Eden story notes that the garden was watered by an "edh" translated variously as a "mist", and by others as a great "spring". I suspect the notion of a spring makes more sense, in that the Tigris and Euphrates are portrayed as branches of the Edenic river.
I suspect that the Hebrews came to be introduced to the Garden of Adhana (Ma`rib) via the caravans which brought frankincense, spices, precious stones and gold to Pre-Exilic Israel and Judah.
The Hebrews, in Post-Exilic times, I suspect, "reversed" the historical events behind the founding of the Garden of Adhana, 1) they changed the word Adhana to Eden, meaning "delight or luxury" according to some scholars or a place "well-watered," according to others; 2) like the "reversal" employed in the building of the Tower of Babel, they "reversed" the Garden's creation by men (who built a dam making it possible), to its being founded by a God. The rainwater runoff from the mountains east of Sana`a (the current capital of the Yemen) became either "a mist" that watered the garden (perhaps an allusion to the rain run-off that made possible the gardens of wadi Adhana?) or a spring (alluding to the artificial lake made by the dam?), which fed the garden. In the Koran the Garden of Eden is called Jannat Adn, mirroring the Hebrew Gan Eden.
It is understandable that the Arabs from Sheba, while conducting business in Jerusalem in Pre-Exilic times would recount with some pride, their ancestor's achievement in creating a great "garden-oasis" in the midst of a desert-like environment. Later generations of Hebrews would transform this "historical kernel" into the myth we know as "the Garden of Eden."
The great dam had two sets of sluice gates, a northern and southern opening. Several wadies in the mountains east of Sana`a fed into wadi Adhana. In a narrow opening between two mountains the Sabaeans constructed their dam. The southern sluice admitted the rainwater runoff. The northern sluice was opened at will throughout the year allowing water from the artificial lake to irrigate the "Two Gardens" mentioned in the Koran, i.e., the irrigation systems to either side of wadi Adhana. The dam was maintained for several centuries and went through many repairs, due to severe runoffs in the rainy season, when Monsoons coming in from the Indian Ocean, release their torrential downpours on the high mountains west of Ma`rib. A new dam, built in the 1980's has replaced the old one which has lain in ruin since the 6th century CE, and again wadi Adhana is a lush garden in the wilderness growing fruits, vegetables and cereals.
From its headwaters in the mountains East of Sana`a to Ma`rib, the whole river system feeding into wadi Adhana is over 100 kilometers in length (roughly 60 miles).
It is still my understanding that the Gulf of Aden is the freshwater river that left Eden and split into four heads of branches, based upon archaic notions of a great river encircling the world as noted in my earlier article of Eden. Said myths being traced back to the freshwater River Ocean of the Homeric Greeks of the 8th century BCE; the Egyptians "Great Curve" from which the Nile arises; to the Nar Marratum of the Babylonians and the Sumerian's world encircling ocean called the Apsu (noted by Guirard). I suspect the events at wadi Adhana came with the passage of time to be conflated with the great world river encircling all lands from Pre-Exilic times.
Ezekiel makes a statement about Tyre's trading partners which has led some scholars to understand that Eden is in Sheba-
Ezekiel 27:22-3, TANAKH,
"The merchants of Sheba and Raamah were your merchants; they bartered for your wares all the finest spices, all kinds of precious stones, and gold. Haran, Canneh and Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Assyria, and Chilmad traded with you."
May, on the basis of Ezekiel 27:22-23, has drawn up a map showing Eden to be Aden (cf. p.66, map titled "Israel and Ancient Trade Routes," Herbert G. May, Editor.
Oxford Bible Atlas. 2nd edition. London & New York. Oxford University Press. 1962, 1974, 1983. ISBN 0-19211556-1)
Genesis has preserved another valuable clue to Eden's location. We are told that Cain introduces homicide into the world killing his brother Abel. In punishment he is told he must go into exile into "the Land of Nod" (Hebrew Nud). While there he has a son called Enoch and he builds the first town and names it after his son.
Hess has undertaken in recent years an exhaustive study of the names appearing in Genesis to establish a "Sitz im Leben," for the book's motifs. Although he was able to establish that many of the names of Genesis' characters could be substantiated in 2nd millenium BCE names, he came to realize that several names in particular were not attested in this era.
Cain, Hebrew qayin, is believed to be cognate with Old South Arabic (Yemenite) qyn, meaning "an administrator," as a personal name however, its earliest extra biblical attestation is from the 5th century BCE (which happens to be the very period I date the primary History, Genesis-2 Kings to). The name Qaynu was found inscribed on a silver bowl dedicated to the Arab goddes Han-Elat at Tell el Maskhutah in wadi Tumilat in Egypt. Qaynu is listed as being the son of Geshem the Arabic king of Kedar (Geshem being mentioned in Nehemiah 2:19; 6:1, the events narrated being ca. 436 BCE).
"The name of Cain has its etymology in a root, qyn, which does not appear other than in proper names and gentilics in biblical Hebrew. A similarly spelled root occurs in South Arabian personal, clan, and tribal names...as early as the 5th century BCE...A qyn root occurs in later Aramaic and Arabic with the meaning of "smith."(Anchor Bible Dictionary Vol. 1. p.806, Richard S. Hess, "Cain," 1992)
The Yemenite Arabs preserve a tradition that Cain and Abel are buried at Aden. Yemenite Jews in making pilgrimages to Jerusalem in the 15th century CE informed their Jewish brethren that the Garden of Eden was in the Yemen but they were not sure just where. My earlier article on the Garden of Eden goes into greater detail on other clues suggesting Eden is in the Yemen, please see that article.
When Cain went into exile he came to settle in a place called "the Land of Nod" (Hebrew: nwd, or nud) where he built a city called Enoch (Hebrew Chanowk (Strong 2585) from 2596 Chanak. I note that Hess renders Enoch as Hebrew hanok (ABD 2.508, Richard S. Hess, "Enoch," 1992)
Scholars are in disagreement about whether there is an actual land called Nod, or that the text simply meant to say "a place of wanderers," nwd meaning to wander. It is interesting to note that the Samaritan text renders in place of Land of Nod, "the Land of Keli."
I note a great sand-swept wilderness to the northeast of the Yemen called the Ar Rub Al Khali, "the empty quarter," and that a portion of this wilderness, "like a foot," extends down to the east of Ma`rib and wadi Adhana. Perhaps the Samaritan Pentateuch's "Land of Keli" is Khali ? Located in this extension of the Khali, to the east of Ma`rib is a small oasis village of Nuqut. Could Nuqut be Enoch/hanok ? (cf. Map titled "Africa, North East, Arabia," Paris, France. Michelin. Scale: 1/4000,000 lcm:40km, 1990, Map No. 954). On modern maps this "foot or extension" of the Khali is called Ramlat as Sabatayn.
Cassuto on Eden:
"In Eden]- in the place called Eden. The suggested explanations of the name that connect it with the Sumero-Akkadian word edinu ('steppe-land, wilderness') or with the expression ha` okhelim lema`adhannim ['those who feasted on dainties'] (Lam. iv.5), are unacceptable: the first, because it does not fit the context; the second because the stem `adhan in question corresponds to the Arabic ghadana spelt with a ghayin whereas in Ugaritic we find the stem `dn, with an ordinary `ayin, whose signification is well-suited to our theme. In the Epic of Baal, for example, it is stated (Tablet II AB, V, lines 68-69): wn `p `dn mtrb b`l y`dn `dn [to be rendered according to some authorities: 'and now also the moisture of his rain/ Baal shall surely make moist: y`dn `dn are derived from the root `dn] in connection with the watering of the ground. In this connotation it is possible to find the root `adhan also in Hebrew: and thou givest them to drink from the river of thy watering [`adhanekha; E.V. Thy delights] (Psa. Xxxvi 9); and in rabbinic language" rain waters, saturates, fertilizes and refreshes [me`adden] (B. Kethuboth 10 b); 'Just as the showers come down upon herbs and refresh [me`addenim] them', etc. (Sifre Deut. 32:2). The etymological meaning of the name Eden will, accordingly be : a place that is well watered throughout; and thus we read further on: that it was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord (xiii 10)." (pp.107-108, Vol.1. Umberto Cassuto. A Commentary on the Book of Genesis. Part One. Jerusalem. Magnes Press, The Hebrew University. 1953- 1989. ISBN 965-223-480X )
Wenham on Eden-
"It is simpler to associate Eden with its homonym "pleasure, delight" (2 Sam 1:24; Jer 51:34, Ps 36:9). Whenever Eden is mentioned in Scripture it is pictured as a fertile area, a well-watered oasis with large trees growing ( cf. Isa 51:3; Ezek 31:9, 16, 18; 36:35, etc.), a very attractive prospect in the arid East. (For confirmation of this interpretation, ct. the newly discovered old Aramaic root `dn, "enrich," [A.R. Millard, VT 34 919840 103-6]). This lush fecundity was a sign of God's presence in and blessing on Eden." (p. 61, Gordon J. Wenham. Word Biblical Commentary, Genesis 1-15. Vol. 1. Waco, Texas. Word Books. 1987. ISBN 0-8499-0200-2)
Some Jewish traditions claim that Hebrews settled in Sheba and the Yemen in Solomon's days. The legend has it that the Queen of Sheba returned to her land pregnant and that Solomon sent sages from his court to live in Sheba and educate the young prince in Hebrew traditions.
"Legends found among the Jews of southern Arabia credit the introduction of Judaism in the southern areas of Arabia to the union of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, named in Islamic sources as Bilqis. Sheba, Bilqis' land was a land of aromatics and riches, and because of the biblical story, this land is often connected with the mysterious land of Ophir. Legend says that the union of the two monarchs produced a son. In order that he might be brought up in proper Jewish fashion, Solomon sent Jews from Israel to see to his edification. These Jews were the first in southern Arabia and are credited with the establishment of a fortress near Sana`a. While there is probably a kernel of truth in associating the earliest Jewish penetration of the south of Arabia with events like Solomon's excursions into the Red Sea from Ezion-geber, there is insufficient evidence to attribute the formation of the Yemenite community that early." (P.33, "The Southern Jewish Kingdoms," Gordon Darnell Newby. A History of the Jews of Arabia, From Ancient Times to Their Eclipse Under Islam. Columbia, South Carolina. University of South Carolina Press. 1988. ISBN 0-87249-558-2 pp.177)
Archaeologists have found a seal in Judah bearing a Sabaean inscription and a small incense stand like ones made in Sheba. So contacts with Sheba in the pre-Exilic period are attested.
Eden, in the East or in the South?
Genesis informs us that Eden is in the East-
"And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east..." (Genesis 2:8)
The Queen of Sheba who sought out Solomon's wisdom is called the "Queen of the South" in the New Testament-
"The queen of the south will arise at the judgement with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here." (Luke 11:31)
If Eden is "in the East," how can it be said to be in "the South," in Sheba ? The answer is contained in the Book of Jubilees, which tells us to follow the Gihon/Nile SOUTH THEN EAST to Eden. Another clue is that Eden was understood to be at "the ends of the world." Columbus thought he had found Eden or paradise when he discovered America, believing it to be the easternmost land.
The Queen of Sheba comes from the ends of the earth. Beyond SW Arabia is the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. So, it fits the description, "ends of the earth." Genesis mentions another place as lying "in the East," called Sephar (Ge 10:30), "a mount of the East." Ritter identifies it with the mountain range of Dhofar/Zufar in the Oman, famous for the frankincense trees which grow only there in Arabia. If Sephar, on the SW coast of Arabia can be described as being "in the East," then near by Aden on the same SW coast can be Eden (or wadi Adhana and Marib, as a part of Sheba and the east).
It is my understanding that the "historical kernel" behind the myth of the the "Garden of Eden", Hebrew Gan Eden, the Koran's Jannat Adn, is the building of the great dam at Ma`rib, which allowed the residents to transform their arid plain, the wadi Adhana/Dhana into a lush garden. This dam was constructed in the 9th century BCE and I have posited that Sabaean merchants proudly related to Jewish traders in Jerusalem, the great achievement of their ancestors. Later generations of Jews, transformed this into the story of a God creating a wonderous garden in the midst of a wilderness. (Cf. p.182, "Ma`rib Region Map" where wadi Adhana is rendered as wadi Dhana. Pertti Hamalainen. Yemen, A Survival Kit. Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia. Lonely Planet Publications. 1991. ISBN 0-86442-114-1. pp.220)
Ezekiel appears to associate Eden with Sheba (cf. the map by May showing Aden to be Eden)
Yemeni Jews preserve traditions that their ancestors settled in Sheba after the meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. It needs to be pointed out here, that inscriptions to date contradict the notion Saba/Sheba had any Queens. Only males ruled in this part of the world. But Neo-Assyrian inscriptions mention nomadic Arabic Queens they conquered and who were forced to render tribute of gold, precious stones, and aromatics. So it may be that a confusion and conflation has occured in Post-Exilic times.
Cain, Hebrew qayin, is believed to be related to an Old South Arabic root qyn meaning an "administrator," but as a name it is no earlier than the 5th century BCE as Qaynu.
I have elsewhere argued that Ezra wrote the Primary History between 461-458 BCE. He would be far enough removed in time from first hand witnesses of the Pre-Exilic world to get some of his facts garbled up. Please see my article on Ezra for further argumentation.
The Jewish scholar Cassuto has argued that Eden is derived from a root meaning "a place well-watered," `dn which seems to be reflected in the Pre-Exilic historical circumstances of wadi Dahana/Adhana at Ma`rib.
The Pseudepigrapha and Deuterocanonical books from the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century CE stress that the Garden of Eden is where frankincense, spices and incense originate, and for the ancient world that place was the land of Sheba, and surrounding districts in Southwest Arabia.
The Book of Jubilees written ca. 160-140 BCE stated that one arrived at the Garden of Eden, not by following the Tigris and Euphrates southward to their mouths, but to follow the Gihon/Nile southward, then eastward to the garden. Two tributaries the White and Blue Nile come from the east and to the east of these rivers lies Sheba and Aden and Ma`rib with its lush gardens of wadi Adhana/Dahana. Elsewhere I have noted Genesis' Garden of Eden possesses motifs from Mesopotamian myths about man's lost chance at gaining immortality, the myth of Adapa and the South Wind; it is my understanding that Genesis contains motifs from several different cultures, combined, transformed and re-intrepreted by the Hebrews; they are drawing on Yemenite Arab motifs (Sheba) as well as Canaanite and Mesopotamian ( and no doubt some Egyptian and Syrian too).
If I am correct in identifying the Garden of Eden with the lush gardens of wadi Adhana near Ma`rib, then it follows that Adam and Eve are Yemenite Arabs from Sheba, and that Arabic traditions are an important substratum of Judaism.
Umberto Cassuto. A Commentary on the Book of Genesis. Part One. Jerusalem. Magnes Press, The Hebrew University. 1953- 1989. ISBN 965-223-480X .
Joachim Chwaszcza, Editor. Insight Guides, Yemen. Singapore, Malaysia. APA Publications Ltd. 1992 , 2nd edition.
David Noel Freedman, Editor. The Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York. Doubleday. 1992.
Pertti Hamalainen. Yemen, A Survival Kit. Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia. Lonely Planet Publications. 1991. ISBN 0-86442-114-1.
Herbert G. May, Editor. Oxford Bible Atlas. 2nd edition. London & New York. Oxford University Press. 1962, 1974, 1983. ISBN 0-19211556-1
Gordon Darnell Newby. A History of the Jews of Arabia, From Ancient Times to Their Eclipse Under Islam. Columbia, South Carolina. University of South Carolina Press. 1988. ISBN 0-87249-558-2 pp.177)
TANAKH, The Holy Scriptures. Philadelphia. The Jewish Publication Society. 1988. ISBN0-8276-0252-9.
Gordon J. Wenham. Word Biblical Commentary, Genesis 1-15. Vol. 1. Waco, Texas. Word Books. 1987. ISBN 0-8499-0200-2.
Map titled "Africa, North East, Arabia," Paris, France. Michelin. Scale: 1/4,000,000 1cm=40km, 1990, Map No. 954.