Why A _Naked_ Adam In Eden?

(Genesis' Adam as "A NAKED AGRICULTURAL SERVANT of a God" is recalling Sumerian Creation myths of NAKED MAN being an agricultural servant of the Gods?)

Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M. A. Ed.

20 July 2005 (Revisions & Updates through 14 September 2009)

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This article in a nutshell:

Genesis has primeval man (Adam) serving God in a state of _nakedness_. Mesopotamian myths and art forms are explored as possibly being "the source" of this notion or motif: that the gods, at first, were content to have man serve them in a state of nakedness.

Genesis also portrays a _naked_ primeval man (Adam) as at first having only wild animals for companionship until a _naked_ woman is introduced (Eve) upon which the animals are forsaken for the woman's companionship. This motif is _not_ explored in this article. Please click here for my article which does explore this motif: identifying naked Adam and his animal companions as a recast of a naked Enkidu of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the naked Eve being a recast of the naked Shamhat, a Harlot-priestess of Uruk who is in the service of Inanna.

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Below, naked men present harvest offerings to a Sumerian goddess (Inanna) at her temple in Uruk. This painting is based on a similar scene appearing on a vase found at Uruk (Genesis' Erech) in Sumer (for the photo cf. pp. 68-69. "City and Temple." Courtland Canby. Editor. The Epic of Man. New York. Time/Life. 1961).

Sumerian texts unearthed at the city of Nippur reveal that Inanna, the wife of Dumuzi (biblical Tammuz) bore the following epithets: nin edin "lady of edin" and Inanna edin "Inanna of edin." Radau translated the Sumerian word edin (Akkadian: seru) as "desert." Other scholars render edin variously as the "steppe" or "plain" lying between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (Akkad and Sumer), usually understood to be the somewhat semi-arid uncultivated land where roam wild animals and shepherds with their flocks of sheep and goats (Dumuzi, Inanna's husband, is portrayed as being a shepherd of edin). Perhaps because Inanna's husband was called in Sumerian texts mulu edin "lord of edin" or "man of edin" thus she came to be nin-edin "the lady of edin"? So, the Uruk vase is showing NAKED MAN OFFERING FOOD FROM INANNA'S CITY-GARDEN AT URUK _IN_EDIN_ TO _THE LADY OF EDIN_!  (Uruk's main temple was dedicated to An/Anu and Inanna/Ishtar) Perhaps Inanna as the "lady of edin" was recast as Genesis' Eve? Whereas Genesis has a lady in Eden offering produce to a naked man (Hebrew: ha-adam), the Uruk vase shows naked man offering garden produce to the "Lady of Edin" from her city-gardens (cf. "...Innanna edin, Nin edin..." p. 42. Note 6. Hugo Radau. Sumerian Hymns and Prayers to the god Dumu-zi or Babylonian Lenten Songs from the Temple Library of Nippur. Philadelphia. University of Pennsylvania. 1913).

In one Sumerian myth, the gods made man naked and left him in that state to wander edin-the-plain with wild animals for companions. In another myth they create man for the sole purpose of working in the gardens of the gods adjacent to the gods' cities; the gods teach man it is wrong to be naked and clothe him. I understand Genesis' Garden of Eden is drawing from these myths and reformatting them. Please click here for additional pictures of Adam and Eve as Dumuzi and Inanna. Please click here for pictures of Adam and Eve as Enkidu and Shamhat of the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Below, the Uruk vase (of alabaster) dated circa 3300 B.C., showing a file of naked men (on two registers) presenting the goddess Inanna baskets of harvested food (?) items. Some scholars have interpreted the nude men to be priests. Perhaps they are instead, fieldworkers, who clear the irrigation ditches in the nude to avoid soiling their garments ?

Another possibility is that perhaps a religious "ceremony" evolved to reinforce and recall to the Sumerian community's mind their myths regarding man's origins ?

Some Sumerian and Mesopotamian myths noted that in the beginning man wandered edin-the-plain NAKED with wild animals for companions. Then the gods took him from this plain/steppe, and placed him in their gardens to tend and till them, to present the harvest to the gods at the local shrine or temple in the city adjacent to the garden. Because the gods wore clothes and man was now dwelling with them in cities, man came, according to these myths to learn it was wrong to be naked, he must wear clothes so as to not offend the gods.That is to say _I see_ these naked men as "Adamic prototypes" recalling the Mesopotamian myths about how and why the gods came to make man, leaving him naked at first with wild animals for companions in edin-the-plain and later placing him in their gardens and clothing him. The Hebrews did present a portion of their harvest to Yahweh and they supplied the temple at Jerusalem with food for Yahweh to eat. In Mesopotamian myths the gods' gardens were always associated with cities built by the gods for themselves in edin-the-floodplain of Sumer in Lower Mesopotamia. (for the below photos cf. pp. 328-329. "Kunst Mesopotamien." Barthel Hrouda. Editor. Der Alte Orient, Geschichte und Kultur des alten Vorderasien. Munchen. C. Bertelsmann. Verlag GmbH. 1991)
Below, a NAKED priest (?) with long locks of hair cascading down his back and shoulders stands before the moon-god Nanna of Ur who appears to be holding a small pot in his hands. Behind him are three dressed supplicants. The naked priest (?) appears to be pouring water into a vase that contains a seedling date palm (?), note the date cluster (?) falling over the rim of the vase/pot just under the watering ewer in the priest's hands. (for the photo cf. p. 284.  Barthel Hrouda. Editor. Der Alte Orient, Geschichte und Kultur des alten Vorderasien. Munchen. C. Bertelsmann. Verlag GmbH. 1991)
Below, from the same (preceding) tablet, but on a lower register, a NAKED priest (?) with closely cropped hair pours out a libation before a temple entrance; he is accompanied by three dressed supplicants wearing robes, two of which hold animal offerings in their arms. Perhaps this is _not_ a libation? Perhaps this is a cultic act of watering a date palm seedling (?) whose date clusters (?) hang over the ritual vase's rim? If so, then this act may be recalling man's purpose in life: He was created to care for the gods' city-gardens. He will build irrigation canals and ditches to PROVIDE WATER for the gardens a task objected to by the Igigi gods who rebelled over this arduous labor at Eridu and Nippur, man being created to assume their toil (The naked priest IS PROVIDING WATER for the plant). He will plant seed, hoe weeds, and harvest the produce for the gods' offering tables in the temples, feeding the gods' their gardens' products. So the naked man pouring out water on a seedling fruit-tree (?) or date palm (?) is recalling why the gods made man, "to provide water" via the building of irrigation canals and ditches for their city-gardens (for the below picture cf. p. 284.  Barthel Hrouda. Editor. Der Alte Orient, Geschichte und Kultur des alten Vorderasien. Munchen. C. Bertelsmann. Verlag GmbH. 1991)
Below, the bottom registers of the Uruk vase show domesticated wheat and barley  and other cereal crops grown by man in Sumer. Above, a register showing domesticated animals, goats and sheep, a source of wool for clothing and milk and butter.
Below, the top register of the Uruk vase shows a clothed priest (?) who accompanies the naked men presenting the harvest to the goddess Inanna.
Below, a stone tablet (cf. p. 474. Heinrich Schaeffer & Walter Andrae. Die Kunst Des Alten Orients, Dritte, Neubearbeitete Auflage, 11 und 12 Tausend.  Berlin. Im Propylaen-Verlag.  1925). This same tablet appeared earlier (1903) in a slightly different photo (cf. p. 417. "Votive Tablet of Ur-Enlil About 4000 B.C." Herman V. Hilprecht. Explorations in Bible Lands During the 19th Century. Philadelphia. A. J. Holman & Company. 1903). Professor Hilprecht read the inscriptions as the naked individual being Ur-Enlil offering a libation to the god Enlil. If he is right, then this is the only known representation of Enlil that I am aware of!

Enlil in myths is credited with creating man at Nippur to replace the Igigi gods who are in revolt over 40 years of night and day toil without any rest in his garden in the edin. He arranges for Enki (Ea) of Eridu to create man on his behalf of Nippur's clay, giving the clay life by slaughtering the Igigi god We-ila who incited the rebellion and mixing his flesh and blood into the clay, animating it. In other myths Enlil (Akkadian/Babylonian: El-Lil) sends a flood to destroy all life, human and animal, like the Bible's Yahweh-Elohim. I understand that En-lil/El-Lil and En-ki/E-a were fused together and recast as Yahweh-Elohim in the book of Genesis, Yahweh being credited with the creation of man and destroying him with a flood. En-Lil means either "lord wind" or "lord storm" (manifestations of Yahweh in scripture).
Below, a clyinder seal showing two NAKED men accompanying a half-naked woman with bared breasts (?) bearing offerings to present before a shrine. A naked man stands above a boat, at whos bow stands a naked man with a punting pole. (cf. p. 470. Heinrich Schaeffer & Walter Andrae. Die Kunst Des Alten Orients, Dritte, Neubearbeitete Auflage, 11 und 12 Tausend. Berlin. Im Propylaen-Verlag.1925)
According to Roaf _TWO_ URUK VASES once existed.

Roaf:

"The Warka vase was ONE OF A PAIR found in the temple treasury hoard of level III at Uruk (3000 BC) but it may have been carved earlier. The whole vase shows a scene of offerings being presented to the goddess Inanna, with the ruler and the goddess depicted in the top register."(cf. p. 61. "Uruk."Michael Roaf. Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East. New York. Facts on File. 1990).
Below, a NAKED priest (?) stands before a seated CLOTHED goddess, from Lagash, first half of 3rd millennium B.C. He appears to be watering a date palm seedling (?) whose two date clusters (?) overhang the rim of a vase or pot it is in. This cultic act would recall the reason why man was created by the gods, to be their agricultural slave, to create irrigation canals and ditches to PROVIDE WATER for the gods' city-gardens and care for their fruit-trees and prepare the gardens' produce for the gods to eat in the temples (For the photo cf. figure 25 in plates section at end of the book. Gwendolyn Leick. A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology. London. Routledge. 1991, reprinted 1996, 1997, 1998).
Below, a NAKED priest (?) standing before an enthroned CLOTHED god identified as Ningirsu pours out water into a vase or pot containing a seedling date palm (?) whose two date clusters (?) overhang the vase's rim. This cultic act may be recalling why man was created by the gods: to be their agricultural slave, to create irrigation canals and ditches to PROVIDE WATER to the gods' city-gardens and care for their fruit-trees and prepare the gardens' produce for the gods to eat in the temples (p. 116. fig. 54 "Ningirsu." Stephen Herbert Langdon. The Mythology of All the Races, Semitic [Vol. 5]. Boston. Archaeological Institute of America. 1931).
Below, excerpts from a hymn explaining why man was created, TO PROVIDE WATER via irrigation ditches dug with hoes, the earth being removed from these ditches in woven baskets, to these fields and to "cultivate" them (just as Adam _tilled_ or _cultivated_ Yahweh's garden), then rendering the fields' produce as food offerings to the Anunna gods (emphasis mine):

"...the Anunna who assign destinies,
Responded in chorus to Enlil:
"In the 'Flesh-Growing Place' of Duranki (Nippur),
We are going to slay two divine Alla (Nagar, reading uncertain),
And from their blood give birth to human beings!
The corvee of the gods will be their corvee:
They will fix the boundaries of the fields once and for all,
And take in their hands hoes and baskets,
To benefit the House of the gods,
Worthy of their high Dais!
They will add plot to plot:
They will fix the boundaries of the fields once and for all.
They will install the irrigation system
[They will fix the boundaries of the fields]
To provide water everywhere
And thus make all kinds of plants grow...
and pile up sheaves.
Thus they will cultivate the fields of the Anunna..."

(pp. 49-51. "D. Kar 4: A Unique Text." Richard J. Clifford. Creation Accounts in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible. Washington D.C. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 26. 1994)

Below, a statuette described as being either a naked priest or king, dated to ca. 4000 to 3000 B.C., the "Uruk" Period. It is suggested it may have been an offering with _nudity_ suggesting some "religious rite" (cf. p. 53. Thomas H. Flaherty. Editor. Sumer: Cities of Eden. Alexandria, Virginia. Time-Life Books. 1993). In Mesopotamian myths, the gods made man to wander _naked_ with wild animals for companions edin-the-plain/steppe. Later, they take man from his animal companions to be their servant (slave). Man will serve the gods and dwell with them in their cities and irrigated gardens which they built for themselves before man's creation. Eventually the gods decide to "allow" man to have a _government_ consisting of KINGS and PRIESTS, who's duty it is to serve the gods food and to toil in their gardens made before man's creation and originally worked by the junior gods called the Igigi. I thus understand that this statutte is most likely that of a NAKED KING due to the nature of the headband. Cf. above, the "drawing" of a King WEARING a similar band on the Uruk vase, his robe being held by a servant as he approaches the goddess Inanna (Ishtar).  The nudity theme probably is of a "religious" nature, as it may call to mind the notion that the gods after bringing naked man in from edin-the-plain to be their servant, decreed that one of these naked savages (Some Mesopotamian myths call man at his creation by the gods "savage-man") would be "a king" to set up a government to oversee man's service of the gods (He will provide life's necessities to the gods: food, clothing and shelter). Thus this naked king -which probably was a religious votive donated to a temple- reminds the ruler (donor?) of a Sumerian city state that his royal power began when the gods bestowed such an office on one of his ancestors, a Naked-Savage-Man.

The adjoing picture is of another statuette, of alabaster of a naked woman whose head is missing. A hole at her shoulders suggests it was fixed onto her body as a separate piece. The commentary understands this was found at ancient Uruk in Sumer. It resembles "somewhat" stylistically the Naked King. Perhaps it too was a religious votive recalling how naked man and woman once wandered edin-the-plain before being made an agricultural servant of the gods? (cf. for the photo p. 52. Thomas H. Flaherty. Editor. Sumer: Cities of Eden. Alexandria, Virginia. Time-Life Books. 1993)
Below, from a cylinder seal (?) a file of naked men (priests?) bearing offerings approach a shrine (cf. p. 97. fig. 4.11 "Motifs on Late Uruk- and Jemdet Nasr-period seals and sealings." Susan Pollock. Ancient Mesopotamia, The Eden That Never Was. Cambridge, United Kingdom & New York. Cambridge University Press. 1999).
Below, a cylinder seal showing what appears to be a rectangular shrine on the viewer's left and a bull with a portable shrine on its back. In the center stands either a god or a king fully clothed. A naked priest (?) at the prow of the boat propels the craft with a "forked" punting pole while another naked priest (?) at the rear of the boat steers with an oar (cf. p. 97. fig. 4.11 "Motifs on Late Uruk- and Jemdet Nasr-period seals and sealings." Susan Pollock. Ancient Mesopotamia, The Eden That Never Was. Cambridge, United Kingdom & New York. Cambridge University Press. 1999). At certain times of the year images of the gods were loaded upon boats and were taken by their priests to visit other god's shrines in the various cities of Lower Mesopotamia. This "might be" such a scene. Alternately, the "king" (cf. the king on the Uruk vase above) with peculiar headband could be accompanying a god's shrine and emblems (a bull and totem poles) for a special event.
Another NAKED MALE SERVANT OF THE GODS is the Sumerian Huwawa (Ne0-Assyrian: Humbaba), who in some art forms appears in the form of a NUDE man (later art forms have him clothed). According to the Epic of Gilgamesh he has no father or mother (like Adam). His duty is to guard the sacred Cedar Mountain situated in the Lebanon, "the dwelling place of the gods" and deny access to its trees by man. I understand that Huwawa is "another" Adamic prototype as well as one of many prototypes for the guardian Cherub that dwells in the Garden of Eden's Lebanese Cedar mountain, cf. Ezekiel 31:1-18 (other Adamic prototypes are Adapa of Adapa and the Southwind Myth, and Gilgamesh and Enkidu). Later art forms show Huwawa as clothed. His face is shown with clenched teeth and very wrinkled to exagerrate no doubt an enraged human expression to strike terror into the opponent. (For the below drawing cf. p. 110. figure 14. Andrew George. The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian. London. Penguin Books. 1999)
Below, an Old Babylonian cylinder seal showing a nude female servant with water jug (?) atop her head, in attendance upon two larger deities. Wiseman's commentary: "Two persons, one a worshipper, the other the suppliant goddess, face each other. Between them is the small figure of the 'NAKED FEMALE', above whom is a high-necked vase..."
(cf. p. 44. D. J. Wiseman. Cylinder Seals of Western Asia. London. Batchworth Press. 1962)
Below, an Old Babylonian cylinder seal showing a goatfish, symbol of the god Enki (Ea). Perhaps the male with the mace is a king? Between him and a goddess stands a naked female, servant of the gods. Wiseman's commentary: " The man with a mace greets the suppliant goddess. Centre: the 'NUDE GODDESS' ..." (p. 45.  D. J. Wiseman. Cylinder Seals of Western Asia. London. Batchworth Press. 1962)
Below, a cylinder seal found at Uruk showing two NAKED men with shaved heads (shaved heads being a motif common in Sumerian art) mastering a recalcitrant ox, placing two yoke ropes upon the beast for pulling a plow in order to till a gods' city garden. Wiseman's commentary: "Note the clean-shaven NUDE Sumerian figures with their accentuated eyes." In the Mesopotamian creation myths man was created to be the gods' servant, to tend and till the gods' gardens and plowing would be "a garden activity" to raise wheat for "flour or meal offerings" at the gods' shrines (cf. p. 2.  D. J. Wiseman. Cylinder Seals of Western Asia. London. Batchworth Press. 1962). The importance of this scene -if I am rightly interpreting it- is that it reveals that man tended or labored/toiled in the gods' gardens, "plowing/tilling them" in a STATE OF NAKEDNESS, rather like Adam is portrayed in Genesis "tilling in" Yahweh-Elohim's garden of Eden in a STATE OF NAKEDNESS.
Below, a bronze found in Susa made for the Elamite king Shilhak-Inshushinak (circa 1150 BC) showing two NAKED priests taking part in a ritual act (for the photo cf. p. 74. "Religion and Ritual." Michael Roaf. Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East. New York. Facts on File. 1990)
Below, a copper figure of a naked bearded man with a waist girdle, hands clasped before him in an attitude of prayer and reverence. The statue may have been placed in a shrine to adore a god or goddess (for the photo, cf. p. 53. fig. 49. "Offering stand, from Khafaje." Henri Frankfort. The Art and Architecture of the Ancient Orient. New Haven & London. Yale University Press. [1954] reprint 1996.).
Below, a bronze statuette of a naked man in the role of a porter bearing offerings to the gods (for the photo cf. p. 91. "Sumerian Statues." Michael Roaf. Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East. New York. Facts on File. 1990)
Campbell noted that the Hebrews, apparently _employing inversions_, are reversing or inverting motifs by 180 degrees borrowed from the earlier Mesopotamian culture. He notes that Abraham through Jacob are portrayed as wandering shepherds, _not_ settled urbanites, planting orchards and harvesting the fruit. He suggests the Hebrew shepherds wanting to magnify themselves, took earlier Mesopotamian themes praising city life and applied these motifs to themselves, portraying the urban life as depraved and not in God's favor (After the expulsion from the Garden of Eden Cain the agriculturalist and murderer appears and builds the world's first city). Campbell may be right. This would explain how a Mesopotamian city garden which man is created to toil in, relieving the Igigi gods, becomes a lush garden planted by a God before man's creation (Adam) in the midst of a wilderness called Eden. The uncultivated desert or steppe land in which wandered wild animals and shepherds was called in Sumerian edin. That is to say, the Hebrews may have reversed or inverted the Mesopotamian "creation of man" myths. Instead of man being created to work in a city garden, he is placed in God's garden in the midst of a wilderness called Eden (edin?). Campbell also noted that the gods _tilled_ the city gardens of Sumer before man's creation and Adam _tills_ the garden in Eden.

Campbell on the Garden of Eden's Trees having been originally a myth of a settled peoples who plant trees and gardens instead of desert-wandering shepherds and herdsmen like the Hebrews (Emphasis mine):

"...And Yahweh took the man and put him in the garden of Eden _to till_ and keep it...We recognize the old Sumerian garden, but with two trees now instead of one, which the man is appointed to guard and tend...it is to be remarked that one of the chief characteristics of Levantine mythology here represented is that of man created to be God's slave or servant. In a late Sumerian myth retold in Oriental Mythology it is declared that men were created to relieve the gods of the onerous task of _tilling_ their fields. Men were to do that work for them and provide them food through sacrifice...The ultimate source of the biblical Eden, therefore, cannot have been a mythology of the desert -that is to say, a primitive Hebrew myth- but was the old planting mythology of the peoples of the soil. However, in the biblical retelling, its whole argument has been turned, so to say, one hundred and eighty degrees...One milllennium later, the patriarchal desert nomads arrived, and all judgements were reversed in heaven, as on earth." (pp.103, 105-106. "Gods and Heroes of the Levant." Joseph Campbell. The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology. Arkana. A Division of Penguin Books. 1964. 1991 reprint)

Genesis on Adam's being a _TILLER_ of the ground (the garden _in_ Eden):

Genesis 2:5, 8, 15 RSV

"...and there was no man TO TILL THE GROUND...And the Lord God planted a garden _IN_ Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed...The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden TO TILL IT and to keep it."

Below, a cylinder seal showing what _I understand_ to be three men, all are _naked_ with the exception of a thong-belt or waist-girdle from which hang three straps at the hips (the purpose in wearing this belt is unknown) with a seed-plow drawn by an ox plowing or _tilling_ in a god's city garden. The commentary on this seal states: "NUDE belted male at plow drawn by ox, second male bestride the plow shaft, his right hand on seed feeder (?), third male shouldering whip behind the ox..." (for the photo cf. p. 175. fig. 456. Briggs Buchanan, William W. Hallo & Ulla Kasten. Early Near Eastern Seals In the Yale Babylonian Collection. New Haven & London. Yale University Press. 1981. ISBN 0-300-01852-5). Adam is portrayed tilling God's garden in a state of nakedness and the below men are also tilling the gods' gardens in a state of nakedness too. I understand the Hebrews are recalling the Mesopotamian myths of man being created to care for the gods' city-gardens, tilling their fields in a state of nakedness.
George (a Professor of Babylonian at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies) suggests that THE IGIGI GODS WERE TASKED WITH GARDENING DUTIES BY THE ANUNNAKI GODS _BEFORE_ MAN"S CREATION: planting, harvesting and preparing crops for the table in addition to making canals and irrigation ditches. Note that the Igigi _TILLED_ the soil in the city gardens of Sumer and Adam is portrayed as TILLING in the Garden of Eden (Emphasis mine):

"We know from many ancient Mesopotamian sources, in Sumerian and in Akkadian, that the Babylonians believed the purpose of the human race to be the service of the gods. BEFORE MANKIND'S CREATION, the myth tells us, the cities of lower Mesopotamia were inhabited by the gods alone and they had to feed and clothe themselves by their own efforts. Under the supervision of Enlil, the lord of the earth, THE LESSER DEITIES GREW AND HARVESTED THE GODS' FOOD, _TILLED_ THE SOIL and most exhaustingly, dug the rivers and waterways THAT IRRIGATED THE FIELDS...Eventually the labour became too much for them and they mutinied." (p. xxxvii. "Introduction." Andrew George. The Epic of Gilgamesh. The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian. London. Penguin Books. 1999)

Below, a cylinder seal showing a naked man pouring out a libation into a cult vessel before a god seated on a throne upon the back of a serpent-dragon (?). Behind the naked male is a clothed man with an animal offering for the enthroned god. Flanking the scene are two clothed gods (for the photo cf. p. 175. fig. 454. Briggs Buchanan, William W. Hallo & Ulla Kasten. Early Near Eastern Seals In the Yale Babylonian Collection. New Haven & London. Yale University Press. 1981)
Below, a cylinder seal showing a goddess with upraised hands greeting a naked woman and a naked man. The man holds a water pot against his chest with two streams of watering pouring forth, perhaps this imagery recalls his purpose in life, to provide water for the gods' city-gardens via the building of irrigation canals and ditches, he having been created to replace the Igigi gods who rebelled at Eridu and Nippur over this grievous back-breaking labor.. He wears a headband, (perhaps a crown) suggesting he is a human king who has received the life-giving water from the gods inorder to maintain the gods' gardens in Sumer? (for the photo cf. p. 320. Fig. 881. Briggs Buchanan, William W. Hallo & Ulla Kasten. Early Near Eastern Seals In the Yale Babylonian Collection. New Haven & London. Yale University Press. 1981)
Below, a closeup of the goddess Inanna (Akkadian: Ishtar), Sumerian: Inanna edin "Inanna of edin" and nin edin "the lady of edin."
Below, a stone votive figurine of a NAKED kneeling man presenting a platter bearing two fish (?) found under the pavement of a temple at Tello of the Early Dynasty II period, ca. 2800-2600 B.C. (cf. p. 206. fig. 10.9. Harriet Crawford. Sumer and the Sumerians. Cambridge, England. University of Cambridge Press. 1991, 2004).
Below, a NAKED Sumerian Priest offers a libation (a vase is held in his left hand and a shallow saucer or drinking cup in his right hand). Behind him is a stand or totem (?). (cf. figure 154. "Sumerian priest with libation vase." James B. Pritchard. Editor. The Ancient Near East, An Anthology of Texts and Pictures. Princeton, New Jersey. University of Princeton. 1958)
Below, Clothed men tilling a field with a seeder plow of the Kassite Period. In Genesis Adam tills God's garden in the _nude_ like the "above scene" but after he is expelled from Eden he nows "tills for his bread" _wearing clothes_ as in the below scene. I see the above and below scenes of men tilling the gods' gardens (?) as Adam "pre-expulsion" in the nude, and Adam "post-expulsion" clothed tilling (cf. p. 78. figure III.9. D. T. Potts. Mesopotamian Civilization: The Material Foundations. Ithaca, New York. Cornell University Press. 1997).
Professor Walton on the gods having created man to be THEIR SLAVE vs. Genesis' notion God created man to be a ruler over the earth (Emphasis mine):

"In the book of Genesis, dignity is conferred on humankind because only humans are in the image of God. All of the cosmos is created for people and with people in mind. In the ancient Near Eastern perspective, humankind is an afterthought and even a bother. There is no dignity to be found in the created status of humanity. HUMANKIND IS CREATED TO BE SLAVES rather than to rule. Dignity in Mesopotamia, for example, is therefore found in the function of humankind -the gods need them to provide housing (temples) and food (sacrifices)."

(p. 232. "Dignity of humankind." John H. Walton. Ancient Israelite Literature in its Cultural Context. A Survey of Parallels Between Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Texts. Grand Rapids, Michigan. Zondervan Publishing House. 1989. revised edition of 1990)

Below, a bas-relief showing captured enemy warriors NAKED and bound being carried off into captivity TO BECOME SLAVES of their conquerors. Perhaps the imagery of NAKED MAN SERVING THE GODS recalls a motif of nakedness being associated with slavery (nakedness being a form of humiliation and subservience)? If so, then man's nakedness in the above scenes may be recalling this association of nakedness with subservience and slavery. That is to say "man is the naked slave of the gods" (for the below picture cf. p. 210. fig. 10.12. "An Agade stele showing prisoners of war." Harriet Crawford. Sumer and the Sumerians. Cambridge, United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press. 1991, 2004).

Alternately, the above images of naked men and women might be recalling Mesopotamian creation myths concerning how and why man came to be created by the gods. In one myth he is initially made and LEFT NAKED to wander edin the plain with wild animals for companions (the so-called Eridu Creation Myth), then a goddess called Nintur takes pity on man and brings him in from his wanderings, causing him to dwell in the cities of the gods. Other myths, like Atrahasis, have man created by Enki at the behest of Enlil at Nippur, to work in the garden of a god (Enlil's irrigated garden) relieving the junior gods, the Igigi, of agricultural toil. In other words the intent of the gods in creating man is that he will be their slave or servant and forevermore work in their gardens, dredging canals as well as planting, harvesting and feeding the gods in the cities' temples. The gods according to these myths introduced the arts of civilization (shepherding, agriculture, metalurgy, clothing, building cities, irrigation, gardening) to barbarous naked man. They taught him it was wrong to be naked, he must wear clothes like the gods do. He learns from the gods how to domesticate animals like sheep and cattle and to plant crops like emmer wheat, and barley as well as flax for cloth.

I understand that Genesis' motif of Adam (the name Adam possibly derived from Hebrew ha-adam, "the man") being A NAKED SERVANT OF A GOD (Yahweh) in Eden is a later Hebrew reformatting of Sumerian Mesopotamian creation myths regarding THE GODS MAKING NAKED MAN TO BE THEIR SERVANT, and the above scenes recall NAKED MAN as a servant of the gods. That is to say, the NAKED PRIESTS are recalling the myth of man being a NAKED SAVAGE or beast, wandering EDIN the plain with animals for companions, and THEN the gods taking him to be their servant to work in their gardens, and live in their cites. In other words naked man BECOMES LIKE A GOD, LEARNING or acquiring wisdom regarding the arts of civilization being bequeated on him by the gods. Thus I understand that the above images of naked men are for the purpose of calling to the spectator's or viewer's mind his "purpose in life" and the "blessings" ("knowledge/wisdom of the civilizing arts") bestowed on him by the gods, allowing him to dwell in their presence instead of wandering edin with animals for companions.

From an Anthropological point of view and contra Genesis' account, it is most likely that primeval man came to clothe himself NOT because he was "embarrassed" about being "naked," but because he needed to protect himself from the elements, a sun that could give him severe sunburn, brambles and thorns that could tear his flesh as he accidently brushed against them in pursuit of food; and to ward off the cold of the night in the desert, when hot daytime temperatures could plummet leaving him freezing.

As earlier stated, it is my conviction that Sumer's priests WRONGLY ascribed man's acquistion of civilization to the gods' bestowing this knowledge on him, denying him the glory of self-discovery and self-improvement and SELF-EVOLUTION from naked beast to a civilized clothes-wearing city dweller. It would be some 6,000 years later that the Sciences of Anthropology, Archaeology and History would realize that man began life as a wild animal not knowing it was wrong to be naked, later clothing himself to protect himself against the elements (rain, sun-burn, heat and cold) of Nature, and _not_ don clothing because he was "embarassed" to discover he was naked (Genesis 2:25; 3:7).

Clifford noted that Sumerian myths understood "civilization" was not of man's doing, it was of the gods' doing:

"...the human race was originally created animal-like, with no cities and culture, and only subsequently was it given the arts making life humane and bearable."

(p. 44. "Rulers of Lagash." Richard J. Clifford. Creation Accounts in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible. Washington D.C. The Catholic Biblical Association of America. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 26. 1994)

"The text begins with An on the hill of heaven and earth generating the gods, who are divided into the great divinities and the lesser gods. The gods are without the sustenance provided by grain and flocks. There were human beings at that time but they were like animals, living without clothing and without the sustenance provided by grain and flocks. The gods discover the advantages of agriculture and animal hubandry for themselves but their human servants, without those means, could not satisfy them. Enki, wishing to increase human efficiency for the ultimate benefit of the gods, persuades Enlil to communicate to the human race the secrets of farming and animal husbandry."

(p. 46. "Ewe and Wheat." Richard J. Clifford. Creation Accounts in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible. Washington D.C. The Catholic Biblical Association of America. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 26. 1994)

"Upon the Hill of Heaven and Earth
When An had spawned the divine Godlings,
...wheat...and Ewe...
Were unknown...
there was NO CLOTH to wear...
THE PEOPLE OF THOSE DISTANT DAYS,
They knew not BREAD to eat;
THEY KNEW NOT CLOTH TO WEAR;
THEY WENT ABOUT WITH NAKED LIMBS in the Land,
And like sheep they ate grass with their mouth,
Drinking water from the ditches."

(p. 45. "Ewe and Wheat." Richard J. Clifford. Creation Accounts in the Ancient Near East and in the Bible. Washington D.C. The Catholic Biblical Association of America. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 26. 1994)

I do acknowledge differences between the Sumerian creation myths and Genesis, and see these as proof of "artistic license" in reformattings. I _reject_ the commonly heard conservative Christian apologetic that the "differences" are "Proof" that there is NO borrowing of Mesopotamian creation of man themes in Genesis.

Adam toils for his bread by the sweat of his brow in Genesis as a curse from God. In the Mesopotamian myths man's lot was to toil forevermore _IN_ the gardens of the gods as their agricultural slave and one of his major crops is emmer-wheat for flour or bread to be presented as a food to the gods in temples. Genesis has apparently "inverted" the Mesopotamian myths. Man is expelled from Yahweh-Elohim's garden vs. his forevermore working in a god's garden (Enlil's or Enki's garden).

Campbell noted that the Mesopotamian myths understood man was created to till the fields of the gods which he equates with Adam being created to care for God's garden:

"...one of the chief characteristics of Levantine mythology here represented is that of man created to be God's slave or servant. In a late Sumerian myth retold in Oriental Mythology it is declared that men were created to relieve the gods of the onerous task of tilling their fields. Men were to do that work for them and provide them with food through sacrifice. Marduk, too, created man to serve the gods. And here we have man created to keep a garden." (p. 103. "Gods and Heroes of the Levant. Joseph Campbell. The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology. New York. Arkana. Viking Penguin. 1964, reprinted 1991)

Professor Tigay on echoes of man being created to provide food for the gods and Adam's work in the garden of Eden:

"Placing man in the garden "to till and tend it" faintly echoes the Mesopotamian creation stories according to which man was created to free the gods from laboring to produce their own food (Pritchard, Texts, 68; cf. W. G. Lambert, Atrahasis (1969), 42–67; A. Heidel, The Babylonian Genesis (1942) 69–71; S. N. Kramer, The Sumerians (1963), 149–50). In the Bible this is not seen as the purpose of man's creation—in fact, the creation of man and the placing of him in the garden are separated by several verses; and there is no suggestion at all that God or the other heavenly beings benefit from man's labor." (Jeffrey Howard Tigay. "Paradise." http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~jtigay/paradise.doc.)

The Adapa and the Southwind myth informs us that the "bread of life" and "water of life" which would have bestowed immortality on Adapa of Eridu if consumed, was located at Anu's heavenly abode. However, another myth informs us that a "FOOD OF LIFE" and "WATER OF LIFE" is to be found ON THE EARTH AT ERIDU, the very location which Adapa served his god Ea (Sumerian Enki) at! This important info is found in a myth recounting how Inanna "the queen of heaven" descends into the underworld and is slain by her sisiter who rules that realm. Before her descent she advises her servant to ask the great gods to intervene and rescue her from the underworld if she doesn't return after three days and nights (assuming she is dead). The messenger first appeals to Enlil of Nippur, then Nanna of Ur (a moon-god), and finally Enki (Akkadian Ea) of Eridu. When the "food of life" and "water of life are sprinkled on Inanna's dead corpse which hangs from a stake, she is revived, brought back to life and ascends to the earth's surface. In tablets found at Nippur Inanna is called Nin-edin-na "the lady of edin" and Inanna-edin-na "Inanna of edin" she being the wife of the shepherd-god Dumuzi (biblical Tammuz). What is important here, is that Adapa who lostout in a chance to obtain immortality by consuming the "bread and water of life" at Anu's heavenly abode, was also a resident of Eridu where the god Ea (Enki) possessed "the food of life and water of life" which could restore the dead to life. Leick has argued that for the Mesopotamians Creation began with the city of Eridu and that Eridu is the Mesopotamian equivalent of the Hebrews' Garden of Eden. What Leick did not note was that it is at Eridu that the "food of life and water of life reposes" in the care of Ea/Enki who, in other myths is considered to be the creator of man from clay over his apsu dwelling to replace the rebelling Igigi gods who object to their hard toil in his city-garden (making and clearing the canals and irrigation ditches which provide water for the garden). Below, an excerpt from the Descent of Inanna into the Underworld (emphasis mine):

"If Enlil stands not by thee in this matter, go to Ur [Ur of the Chaldees where dwelt Abraham and Terah].

"In Ur upon thy entering the house of the . . . of the land,
The Ekishshirgal, the house of Nanna,
Weep before Nanna:
'O Father Nanna, let not thy daughter be put to death in the nether world,
Let not thy good metal be ground up into the dust of the nether world,
Let not thy good lapis lazuli be broken up into the stone of the stone-worker,
Let not thy boxwood be cut up into the wood of the wood-worker,
Let not the maid Inanna be put to death in the nether world.'
"If Nanna stands not by thee in this matter, go to Eridu.

"In Eridu upon thy entering the house of Enki,
Weep before Enki:
'O father Enki, let not thy daughter be put to death in the nether world,
Let not thy good metal be ground up into the dust of the nether world,
Let not thy good lapis lazuli be broken up into the stone of the stone-worker,
Let not thy boxwood be cut up into the wood of the wood-worker,
Let not the maid Inanna be put to death in the nether world.'
"Father Enki, the lord of wisdom,
Who knows THE FOOD OF LIFE, who knows THE WATER OF LIFE,
He will surely bring me to life...

Inanna walked toward the nether world,
To her messenger Ninshubur she says:
"Go, Ninshubur,
The word which I have commanded thee . . ."
Upon her entering the first gate,
The shugurra, the "crown of the plain" of her head, was removed.
"What, pray, is this?"
"Extraordinarily, O Inanna, have the decrees of the nether world been perfected,
O Inanna, do not question the rites of the nether world...

Father Nanna stood not by him in this matter, HE WENT TO _ERIDU_.
IN _ERIDU_ upon his entering the house of Enki,
Before Enki he weeps:
"O father Enki, let not thy daughter be put to death in the nether world,
Let not thy good metal be ground up into the dust of the nether world,
Let not thy good lapis lazuli be broken up into the stone of the stone-worker,
Let not thy boxwood be cut up into the wood of the wood-worker,
Let not the maid Inanna be put to death in the nether world."

Father Enki answers Ninshubur:
"What now has my daughter done! I am troubled,
What now has Inanna done! I am troubled,
What now has the queen of all the lands done! I am troubled,
What now has the hierodule of heaven done! I am troubled."
. . . he brought forth dirt (and) fashioned the kurgarru,
. . . he brought forth dirt (and) fashioned the kalaturru,
To the kurgarru he gave THE FOOD OF LIFE,
To the kalaturru he gave THE WATER OF LIFE,
Father Enki says to the kalaturru and kurgarru:
. . .
"Upon the corpse hung from a stake direct the fear of the rays of fire,
Sixty times THE FOOD OF LIFE, sixty times THE WATER OF LIFE, sprinkle upon it,
Verily Inanna will arise."

(http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/sum/sum08.htm)

Note: We are not told _what_ the "FOOD OF LIFE" is, only that it is "SPRINKLED" upon Inanna's corpse. The Adapa and the Southwind myth identifies the "WATER OF LIFE" with "BREAD OF LIFE," so, most probably either wheat flour or bread crumbs were sprinked on Inanna bringing her back to life. We are informed that Adapa in his role as a priest of Ea (Enki), he "feeding" this god, served as a BAKER OF BREAD and and he procured clear pure WATER for the offering table as well as fish (he being a fisherman). Excavations at Eridu have unearthed the shrine and near it a bread oven, within the shrine were found fish bone offerings, and nearby a canal and irrigation ditches for the fields of barley and wheat have been identified. All this is to say that Eridu is one of several prototypes underlying Genesis' Garden in Eden. Leick IS CORRECT, Eridu is the Mesopotamian equivalent of the Garden of Eden WHERE CREATION BEGAN _AND_ it is where, on the earth, the FOOD OF LIFE and WATER OF LIFE was to be found in Enki's possession AND it was WHERE Adapa set the offering table daily to feed his god the FOOD OF LIFE and WATER OF LIFE (man's purpose in Mesopotamian myths being to provide food for the gods and toil in the their city-gardens to grow, harvest the food the gods needed to eat to stay alive). Finally, to answer the question posed by this article's title "Why a Naked Adam in Eden?"

The Mesopotamian art forms of the 4th-3rd millennia B.C. (as shown above) at times show man in a NAKED STATE "_serving the gods_." These scenes may explain why God (Yahweh-Elohim) in Genesis "_KEEPS_" Adam and Eve as his servants _IN A STATE OF NAKEDNESS_.  I thus understand that _the Hebrews are preserving Mesopotamian notions_ from the 4th/3rd millennia of CLOTHED Sumerian gods "_KEEPING"_" man as their "servant" IN A STATE OF NAKEDNESS for a time _DENYING_ him the knowledge it is wrong to be naked; only later did he come to clothe himself as portrayed in Mesopotamian art forms of the 2d milllennium B.C. and later periods, Man being portrayed _still serving_ the gods but now in a "clothed" state.

The question then arises as to WHY the gods were content _to keep_ man in a state of NAKEDNESS as their servant. The answer lies with "the priests lively imagination." Man was created to be a lowly servant/slave of the gods. By portraying man in a naked state while serving clothed gods, the message was loud and clear that man was "as NOTHING" in the eyes of the gods, just the dirt under their feet. In other words man _was despised_ by the gods. So the above scenes of NAKED man serving the gods was to PUT MAN IN HIS PLACE, to humiliate him, to enforce upon him that he was "as NOTHING" in the gods' eyes. He was to SERVE and FEAR them and subordinate his will to THEIR WILL. There is another possible explanation for man the servant of the gods being presented in the above art forms in a state of  nakedness as he carries out his duties before the fully clothed gods and goddesses: They are "having a private joke" at man's expense. Here he is, NAKED, serving fully clothed deities and all the while, it never enters his mind it is "wrong" to be naked. He never wonders "Why shouldn't I be clothed too?" This latter expanation however still portrays the gods "as contemptuous" of savage man who has the "naive innocence" of a small naked toddler playing amongst fully clothed adults, blissfully unaware it is wrong to be naked.

I understand Genesis is a polemic, deliberately challenging Mesopotamian views of the relationship between man and the gods. The challenge involves sometimes "inversions" and transformations of earlier concepts. (1) Gods become _a_god; (2) Failure to eat of the "bread of life" to obtain _immortality_ becomes failure to eat of a "tree fruit" to obtain immortality; (3) An event occuring in heaven -Adapa failing to eat the "bread of life" at Anu's heavenly abode- is placed on the earth in a fruit-tree garden; (4) The Sumerian portrayal of NAKED men and women as the gods' servants -they denying man the knowledge it is wrong to be naked- becomes Yahweh keeping Adam and Eve in a state of NAKEDNESS as his servants in Eden denying them the knowledge it is wrong to be naked; (5) The gods' intent to keep man _FOREVERMORE_ their agricultural servants working in their earthly city gardens in edin-the-floodplain becomes inverted into a wrathful god EXPELLING man from his garden; (6) The notion that Igigi gods rebelled over the onerous work conditions in the Anunnaki gods earthly gardens reveals _life was NOT idyllic_ in the gods' gardens vs. the Hebrew notion _life was idyllic_ then Adam sinned and was expelled from this idyllic world. So I see the Hebrew account of Adam and Eve and their expulsion as reformattings of Mesopotamian concepts of the relationships between the gods and man.

The Tree of Knowledge or Good and Evil does _not_ exist as a motif to my knowledge in _any_ Ancient Near Eastern myths other than the Hebrews.  _Nor_ does the Tree of Life appear in any ANE myths, its "bread of life" that bestows immortality in Mesopotamian belief, which interestingly resurrects itself later with Christ tearing apart _bread_ and telling his apostles to eat his bread/body to obtain immortality. These two trees are for me the Hebrews "unique" contribution to religious belief as they transform and challenge the earlier Mesopotamian myths regarding man's creation, to serve as a slave in the gods' gardens in edin-the floodplain of Sumer.

The Hebrew author may possibly have had some dim foggy tradition of a naked man and woman in a gods' garden serving the god in a state of nakedness and dreamed up a fruit-tree conferring knowledge to have the couple realize they are naked after eating of it. As my other articles point out, the Mesopotamian myths do mention eating of a tree to acquire knowledge. In one case the knowledge is sought by Enki inorder to decree the fruit's usefulness to man and the gods, in another case, the fruit of the trees gives Inanna sexual knowledge. My research is directed at attempting to determine the _original_ Mesopotamian themes and motifs and how the Hebrews later transformed them as a challenge to Mesopotamian belief about the relationship between god and man.

Genesis sees man in a somewhat different light, he is _beloved_ of God and "the pinnacle" of his creation. I call this an "inversion or reversal" (a 180 degree reversal) of the Mesopotamian concept of man's relationship with the gods. I understand that many of Genesis' notions about God and man are _DELIBERATE reversal/inversions_ of Mesopotamian concepts of the relationships between the gods and man. The Hebrews were doing nothing new here in giving NEW TWISTS TO OLD IDEAS, they were following along in the footsteps of their Mesopotamian predecessors, as noted by Professor Lambert.

Lambert, has made a very important observation regarding the manner in which Mesopotamian mythographers worked:

"The authors of ancient cosmologies were essentially compilers. Their originality was expressed in new combinations of old themes, and in new twists to old ideas."

(p.107, W.G. Lambert, "A New Look at the Babylonian Background of Genesis," [1965], in Richard S. Hess & David T. Tsumra, Editors. I Studied Inscriptions From Before the Flood. Winona Lake, Indiana, Eisenbrauns, 1994)

I believe Lambert's observation can be applied to the Hebrews who were combining old themes and putting "new twists" to old ideas. My research indicates that, at times,"reversals" or "inversions"are occurring in the Hebrew transformation and reinterpetation of the Mesopotamian Creation Myths which sought to explain the origins of the Earth and of Mankind and why the gods sought man's demise in a Flood. These "reversals," as I call them, can take the form of different characters, different locations for the settings of the stories, and different morals being drawn about the nature of God and Man's relationship.

Professor Batto (1992) on the Hebrews recasting of earlier Mesopotamian myths and motifs in the Hebrew Bible:

"...I want to emphasize that this new mythmaking process is a conscious, reflected application of older myths and myhic elements to new situations...In so far as one admits the presence of myth in ancient Babylonian and Canaanite culture, then one must also admit the presence of myth in the Bible...This book, then, is a series of case studies of mythmaking in ancient Israel, or to be more exact, in the biblical tradition."

(pp. 13-14. "Introduction." Bernard F. Batto. Slaying the Dragon, Mythmaking in the Biblical Tradition. Louisville, Kentucky. Westminster/John Knox Press. 1992)

"Now the Yahwist's primeval narrative is itself a marvelous example of mythmaking based upon prior Mesopotamian myths, notably Atrahasis and Gilgamesh. Interestingly, the reappropriation of mythic traditions and intertextual borrowing posited for biblical writers was already present within ancient Babylonia, and illustrates that biblical writers must be understood within the larger ancient Near Eastern literary and theological tradition."

(p. 14. "Introduction." Bernard F. Batto. Slaying the Dragon, Mythmaking in the Biblical Tradition. Louisville, Kentucky. Westminster/John Knox Press. 1992)

"The theme of this volume...is, of myth and mythmaking speculation within the Hebrew Bible...biblical writers employed much the same techniques and even the same mythic motifs as their ancient Near Eastern neighbors...Israel...drew heavily upon the Babylonian myth of Atrahasis, supplementing with motifs from Gilgamesh and other traditional myths, to create a specifically Israelite primeval myth...Like their ancient Near Eastern counterparts, Israel's theologians were concerned with the place of humankind -and particularly of their own people- within the realm of being."

(pp. 168-169. "Conclusion." Bernard F. Batto. Slaying the Dragon, Mythmaking in the Biblical Tradition. Louisville, Kentucky. Westminster/John Knox Press. 1992)

"The focus of this volume has been the various ways in which biblical writers throughout the history of the composition of the Hebrew Bible have used and reused myth...to undergird their religious and/or sociopolitical agenda. My purpose...has been only to show through representative examples how biblical authors actually went about using mythic motifs in their writing and how they consciously manipulated these to serve their specific purposes."

(pp. 171-172. "Conclusion." Bernard F. Batto. Slaying the Dragon, Mythmaking in the Biblical Tradition. Louisville, Kentucky. Westminster/John Knox Press. 1992)

The late Professors Graves and Patai on Genesis' Adam being Enkidu and Eve being the priestess Shamhat:

"Some elements of the Fall of Man myth in Genesis are of great antiquity; but the composition is late...The Gilgamesh Epic, the earliest version of which can be dated about 2000 BC, descibes how the Sumerian Love-goddess Aruru created from clay a noble savage named Enkidu, who grazed among gazelles, slaked his thirst beside wild cattle...until a priestess sent to him by Gilgamesh initiated him into the mysteries of love. Though wise as a god, he was now shunned by the wild creatures; and the priestess therefore covered his nakedness, using part of her own garment, and brought him to the city of Uruk...Another source of the Genesis Fall of Man myth is the Akkadian myth of Adapa, found on a tablet at Tell Amarna, Pharaoh Akhenaten's capital...This myth supplies the theme of the Serpent's warning to Eve: that God had deceived her about the properties of the forbidden fruit."

(pp. 78-79. "The Fall of Man."  Robert Graves and Raphael Patai. Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis. New York. Greenwich House. Distributed by Crown Publishers, Inc. 1963, 194. Reprint 1983)

"Eden as a peaceful rural retreat, where man lives at his ease among wild animals, occurs...in the story of Enkidu...The fervent love between Enkidu and the priestess, though omitted from the Genesis story, has been preserved by a Talmudic scholiast who makes Adam wish for death rather than be parted from Eve. Yet the myth of the Fall licences man to blame woman for all his ills, make her labour for him, exclude her from religious office and refuse her advice on moral problems."

(pp. 80- 81. "The Fall of Man."  Robert Graves and Raphael Patai. Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis. New York. Greenwich House. Distributed by Crown Publishers, Inc. 1963, 194. Reprint 1983)

It is my understanding that the three great monotheistic faiths of the Western World, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, are each employing similar techniques. THEY EACH IN TURN ARE CHALLENGING EARLIER RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND VIEWS REGARDING MAN'S RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. The observations by Professors Wenham and Kramer are important here:

Professor Wenham, (Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at the College of St. Paul and St. Mary in Cheltenham, England) has done a brilliant presentation, in my opinion, on explaining what Genesis is _really all about_, in its transformation and reinterpretation of the Ancient Mesopotamian concepts regarding the relationship between man and god. IT IS A POLEMIC, A CHALLENGE OF THE VIEWS held by the Mesopotamians of God's relationship with man, A CHALLENGE OF THE MESOPOTAMIAN VIEWS ON HOW MAN CAME TO BE MADE AND WHY HIS DEMISE WAS SOUGHT IN A FLOOD. THIS 'CHALLENGE' IS IN FACT _A DENIAL OR REFUTAL_ OF MESOPOTAMIAN BELIEFS.

Wenham (Emphasis mine in capitals and italics):

"Though Genesis shares many of the theological presuppositions of the ancient world, most of the stories found in these chapters are BEST READ AS PRESENTING AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW TO THOSE GENERALLY ACCEPTED IN THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST. Genesis 1-11 is a tract for the times challenging ancient assumptions about the nature of God, the world and mankind. (p. xlv) An understanding of ancient oriental mythology is essential if we are to appreciate the points Genesis 1-11 was making then (p. xlvi)...It is my conviction that many of our problems are caused by misunderstanding the original intentions of Genesis...many of the individual episodes in Genesis 1-11 may be seen to have a distinctly polemical thrust in their own right, particularly against the religious ideas associated most closely with Mesopotamia (p. xlviii)...Viewed with respect to its negatives, Genesis 1:1-2-3 is a polemic against the mythico-religious concepts of the ancient orient...the seventh day is not a day of ill omen as in Mesopotamia, but a day of blessing and sanctity on which normal work is laid aside. In contradocting the usual ideas of its times, Genesis 1 is also setting out a positive alternative (p. 37)...We have noted that the overall structure of the material in Genesis 1-11 finds its closest parallels in the Sumerian flood story and the Sumerian king list and in the Atrahasis Epic, all dated to 1600 BC or earlier (p. xliv)...This is not to say that the writer of Genesis had ever heard or read the Gilgamesh Epic: these traditions were part of the intellectual furniture of that time in the Near East, just as most people today have some idea of Darwin's Origin of the Species, though they have never read it."

(p. xlviii. Gordon J. Wenham. Word Biblical Commentary. Genesis 1-15. Waco, Texas. Word Incorporated. 1987)

"The ancient oriental background to Genesis 1-11 shows it to be concerned with rather different issues from those that tend to preoccupy modern readers. It is affirming the unity of God in the face of polytheism, his justice rather than his caprice, his power as opposed to his impotence, his concern for mankind rather than his exploitation. And whereas Mesopotamia clung to the wisdom of the primeval man, Genesis records his sinful disobedience. Because as Christians we tend to assume these points in our theology, we often fail to recognize the striking originality of the message of Genesis 1-11..." (p. 1. Wenham)

"In all these cases there is no evidence of simple borrowing by the Hebrew writer. It would be better to suppose that he has BORROWED various familiar mythological motifs, TRANSFORMED them, and integrated them into a fresh and original story of his own. Whereas Adapa heeded the word of the god Ea and did not eat the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve rejected the Lord's command and followed the serpent." (p. 53. Wenham)

"If it is correct to view Genesis 1-11 as _AN INSPIRED RETELLING_ of ancient oriental traditions about the origins of the world with a view to presenting the nature of God as one, omnipotent, omniscient, and good, as opposed to the fallible, capricious, weak deities who populate the rest of the ancient world; if further it is concerned to show that humanity is central in the divine plan, not an afterthought; if finally it wants to show that man's plight is the product of his disobedience and indeed is bound to worsen without divine intervention, Genesis 1-11 is setting out a picture of the world that is at odds both with the polytheistic optimism of ancient Mesopotamia and the humanistic secularism and the modern world.

Genesis is thus a fundamental CHALLENGE to the ideologies of civilized men and women, past and present, who like to suppose their own efforts will ultimately suffice to save them. Genesis 1-11 declares that mankind is without hope if individuals are without God." (p. liii. Wenham)

Wenham's _penetrating analysis_ of Genesis being a CHALLENGE of Mesopotamian religious belief is echoed by Professor Kramer:

The Late Professor Kramer (Curator Emeritus of the Cuneiform Tablet Collection at the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania and Clark Research Professor Emeritus) using "politically correct" uncontentious and neutral scholarly language, alludes to the Sumerian god En-ki's "survival" in today's gods, Yahweh, Christ and Allah :

"Ideas do not necessarily die when the civilization that nurtured them expires. Eridu declined, and Sumerian, like Latin in the West many centuries later, was maintained only by an educated, literate elite. The great empires of Akkad, Assyria, and even Babylon were brought down- Assyria in the late seventh century BC, Babylon less than a century later. Persians, Macedonians, Seleucids, Arsacids, Sassanians, Ummayyad and Abbasid caliphs and later dynasties excercised lordship in Mesopotamia, JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY, AND ISLAM were deeply rooted in the Near East, and as often as not CHALLENGED THEIR PREDECCESSORS . Enki survived, if at all, in new guises, under different names...If Enki and his city-state had all but disappeared, literary traditions and religious syncretism kept something of them alive. The two traditions that formed the basis of Western civilization, Greek and Biblical, appear to know stories of Enki, in much disguised form. For various reasons, orthodox and official streams of those traditions ignored or denounced outside influences. Because- with rare exception- Sumerian names do not appear, much of the tracing that follows here is necessarily speculative. In one sense we are very much the inheritors of civilization in its early, Sumerian, forms; but in another sense we will always have a difficult time recognizing such early debts."

(p.154. "Traces of the Fugitive God." Samuel Noah Kramer and John Maier. Myths of Enki, the Crafty God. New York and Oxford. Oxford University Press. 1989)

I understand the "challenges of earlier faith systems" posed by Judaism, Christianity and later Islam, at times involves _the deliberate nullification_ of certain beliefs held by their predeccessors. In no case is this a 100% nullification of _all_ previously held beliefs by the earlier religion being challenged. In some cases the earlier beliefs are re-worked and transformed and given new meanings or interpretations. At times some earlier beliefs remain intact and are accepted into the "new" faith which challenges its predeccessors. I understand that at times deliberate "reversals" or "inversions" are employed to nullify or modify earlier concepts, beliefs, events, motifs, reinterpreting them and transforming them for the new religion.

The above "exposition" on WHY A NAKED ADAM? is but just one of many aspects of the CHALLENGE Judaism raised in defining itself against its predecessor, the Mesopotamian gods at first worshipped by Terah and Abraham in Ur of the Chaldees. A Jewish savant writing at the time of the Hasmoneans (2d century B.C.) notes these two FLED Ur of the Chaldees, when their CHALLENGE was "rejected" by the populace. Note that this author understands his ancestors were ORIGINALLY CHALDEANS _NOT_ ARAMEANS, and that ORIGINALLY THEY LIVED IN CHALDEA _NOT_ ARAM (Syria and Haran, here rendered "Mesopotamia")). He also understands that as CHALDEANS THEY WORSHIPPED MANY GODS, but while in CHALDEA they came to be aware that there was only ONE GOD, and they were driven from Chaldea (Babylonia) by their kinsmen for refusing to worship any longer the gods:

Judith 5:5-9

"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 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)

I understand that Genesis is _denying_ the Mesopotamian myths' explanation of how and why man came to made, what his purpose on earth is, and why his demise was sought in a flood. This "_denial_" is for me accomplished by taking the Mesopotamian motifs from a varety of myths and giving them "new twists" by changing the names of the characters, the locations, and sequences of events.

Why in Mesopotamian myths is that man is denied immortality? In the Adapa and the Southwind myth Ea (Enki) of Eridu in Sumer is portrayed conning his human servant Adapa into not consuming the "bread of life and water of life" that will be offered him by Anu in heaven which will make him and consequently all mankind immortal, telling him it is the "bread and water of death" and he will surely die if any is consumed.

Why did Ea (Enki) do this (deny man immortality)? Ea was portrayed in myths as the god of wisdom. He appears to have been thought of as wiser and craftier than the other gods, Anu (his father) and Enlil (his brother). Ea is portrayed making man of clay to work in the city gardens at Eridu and Nippur. Ea lives at Eridu, Enlil lives at Nippur. At both locations the lesser gods, the Igigi, are in a state of rebellion seeking an end to their back-breaking toil in the city gardens. Perhaps Ea was of the mind that if man was allowed to be immortal and become like a god they would be "back to square one again"? That is to say, Ea foresaw man eventually rebelling against the toil in the city gardens like the Igigi. Who would replace man if he was granted an escape from toil in the city gardens? That is to say, the Mesopotamian notion was that the GODS DO NOT TOIL IN THEIR CITY GARDENS, MAN DOES. If man is allowed to become immortal like the gods, then he is in effect A GOD. Then the whole Mesopotamian belief system comes crashing down: THAT IMMORTAL GODS DO NOT TOIL IN THEIR CITY GARDENS, NON-IMMORTALS MADE IN THEIR IMAGE DO. I am proposing here that man CANNOT be made into a god and given immortality because this would be "against the grain" of Mesopotamian belief regarding the ordering of the universe in the great cosmic scheme of things: "That Immortals do not toil upon the earth, only mortals do." Also, this cosmic plan of the gods answers the question of why man does not have immortality. Foolishly Anu was willing to bestow immortality on Adapa and mankind, Ea intervenes and wisely foils Anu's offer, man is tricked into not eating of the bread of life and water of life. Man does not possess immortality because _a_ god (Ea/Enki) did not will it to be so. Genesis refutes this explanation of why man is not immortal, a God did NOT trick man out of  a chance to obtain immortality, man's decision to disobey God was why he does not have immortality (God is absolved, the blame is shifted to man). Adapa is portrayed as blameless and faithful to his God (Ea/Enki), OBEYING HIM, and thus losing out on a chance to obtain immortality. The Mesopotamian version of why man (Adapa) lost out on a chance to obtain immortality is NOT because he was a sinner and rebel (like Adam), but because his LYING, DECEITFUL god did not want him to possess immortality. That is to say the Hebrews have REVERSED the Mesopotamian account by 180 degrees, blaming a man (Adam) instead of his Creator (Yahweh).

The Mesopotamian myths do NOT have any knowledge of man being expelled from their city-gardens for an act of rebellion like Genesis' Garden of Eden account. The gods made man to replace themselves as agricultural laborers, it would be foolish to expell man from their city-gardens for the gods would have to care for their gardens themselves.

Where then are the Hebrews getting the notion that a rebellion has occured in a god's garden and the gardener has been removed?

I suspect this is a recasting of the Igigi gods rebellion in the Atrahasis myth. They were "removed" from Enlil's garden at Nippur (and Enki's garden at Eridu), and man was created to replace them. So, yes, there was indeed in the Mesopotamian myths a story about a rebellion of "man" working in a god's garden and being removed from said garden!  In fact when the hardwork of the Igigi gods is described it is said: "WHEN THE GODS WERE _"MAN"_ THEY DID GRIEVOUS LABOR." So "MAN" IN THE FORM OF THE IGIGI GODS WAS REMOVED FROM A GOD'S GARDEN FOR AN ACT OF REBELLION.

However, the Hebrews have INVERTED the storyline. "MAN" (the Igigi) WELCOMED THIS REMOVAL for now they enjoy an eternal rest from toil as already enjoyed by the Anunnaki gods (Anu, Enlil and Enki).

The Hebrews portray the removal of "man" from a god's garden AS PUNISHMENT FOR MAN whereas it was an ACT OF MERCY AND A BLESSING FOR THE IGIGI, ending their grievous labor.

Christianity hopes that one day God will allow man _back into_ his garden of Eden, whereas the Igigi would never want to return to the Anunnaki's city-gardens and the grievous toil there!

Christianity teaches that when man returns to the Garden of Eden he will once more enjoy God's fellowship and companionship as did Adam and Eve. But the Igigi working in the gods' gardens DID NOT ENJOY FELLOWSHIP with the Anunnaki gods!

The Anunnaki ruthlessly exploited the Igigi and ignored night and day for 40 years their pleas for an end of their toil! With the "removal from the gods' gardens" the Igigi NOW ENJOY FELLOWSHIPPING WITH THE ANUNNAKI, for both now are free of toil upon the earth, both can recline on their couches in indolent leisure as both ruthlessly exploit man the agricultural slave having him care for their gardens, and present them the produce to eat in the city temples.

An inversion has occured! Man's (the Igigi being called "man") fellowship with a god (Enlil of Nippur and Enki at Eridu) is obtained via removal from the god's garden instead of by remaining as a complacent non-rebelling laborer in a god's garden!

Genesis associates Adam and Eve's nakedness with innocence, they were not ashamed of their nakedness, then came the fall from innocence, they ate of the forbidden fruit and became aware that it was wrong to be naked and covered themselves in shame and embarrassment. They did not want God to behold their nakedness.

The Mesopotamian myths have no knowledge of "a fall from innocence of a primal man and woman" as in Genesis account. Man was created in the image of the gods and goddesses. These deities are portrayed as possessing all the good and bad hallmarks of humankind: they lie, they engage in extramarital sex, they commit incest having sex with their own children, they rape maidens, seduce mortal men, they even have sex with beasts. They slay each other in wars and even slay  their own mothers and fathers and mothers and fathers attempt to slay the gods their own children. The gods also exploit and abuse each other making slaves of some of their kind. Man can be no better than his creators in whose image he was made. In the Mesopotamian myths the gods are portrayed as immoral sinners and so too is man. So there can be _no fall from innocence for man_ as in the Genesis account.

There are, however, motifs of a "form of innocence" on man's part leading to "a fall" of sorts in the Mesopotamian myths.

An innocent, trusting, naive Adapa at Eridu obeys his god's command not to eat or drink the food to be offered him by Anu for it is the "food and water of death" and he will surely die. Adapa obeys and refuses to consume the food and drink which would have given him and mankind immortality. His god, Ea (Sumerian Enki) did not want man to become a god and aquire immortality and be freed of being his slave (servant) for who would care for his garden and feed him its produce? Ea/Enki would have to work his garden himself and feed himself. So a lying god took advantage of the trusting childlike innocence of the man he had created, accomplishing in a sense "a fall" of sorts: man's failure to attain immortality.

In another myth Enkidu of the Epic of Gilagmesh curses Shamhat the Harlot-priestess from Uruk who has taken advantage of "his innocence" and "wronged him." He blames her for his impending death and curses her. His god Shamash hears the curse and berates Enkidu saying the Harlot is not deserving of this, she introduced him to food fit for a god, caused him to acquire a fine robe to cover his nakedness, gave him Gilgamesh for a companion, and introduced him to the amenities of city life which was superior to life he lead as a naked animal wandering the desolate edin with gazelles for companions. So again we encounter the motif of _innocence associated with man_, and how the gods took advantage of this innocence to accomplish man's "fall": In Adapa's case his "fall" was that he lost at a chance to obtain immortality because of the god Ea's (Enki's) actions, in Enkidu's case his "fall" was for a naked harlot who embarqs him on a quest to meet Gilgamesh and eventually a death sentence for slaying Humbaba of the Lebanese Cedar forest (the god Shamash approving of the Harlot's actions, Shamash also acts as the patron protector-god of Gilgamesh and Enkidu).

Professor Foster of Yale University (Professor of Near Eastern Languages) on Enkidu portraying himself as a wonged INNOCENT in his cursing of Shamhat, which I understand was recast in Genesis as God cursing Eve (emphasis mine):

"May your purple finery be expropiated,
May filthy underwear be what you are given,
Because you diminished me, AN INNOCENT,
Yes me, AN INNOCENT, you wronged me (?) in my steppe."

(p. 56. "Tablet VII." Benjamin R. Foster. The Epic of Gilgamesh. New York & London. W. W. Norton & Company. 2001.[A Norton Critical Edition])


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Hugo Radau. Sumerian Hymns and Prayers to the god Dumu-zi or Babylonian Lenten Songs from the Temple Library of Nippur. Philadelphia. University of Pennsylvania. 1913.

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Diane Wolkenstein & Samuel Noah Kramer. Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Her Stories and Hymns From Sumer. New York. Harper & Row. 1983.


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Below, naked men carry the Uruk vase to a temple in a dedication ceremony accompanied by female harpists at Uruk.