The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve

I wasn’t sure that someone could make talking about the fairly straightforward Garden of Eden story interesting for several hundred pages, but I’ve always been interested in the implications the story has for Christianity and spiritual philosophy, so I decided to give this book a try. What a great decision. Yes, it was a bit disappointing to find that interpretations and criticisms I’ve had of the myth that I thought were wholly original actually have been dissected and explored for at least 15 centuries and those ancient theologians actually added and debunked several others that have never occurred to me. But it’s impossible to be disappointed long when you learn so many things about religion, philosophy, art and music as you get from Greenblatt’s book. It is telling that fairly detailed biographies of Augustine and Milton along with a compelling analysis of “Paradise Lost” are mere side trips in this fascinating and intriguing reflection. Practically every intellectual or artistic discipline is brought into play – yes, math, architecture, music (rock, pop and classical), history, painting, astronomy, biology and more all come into play, and in a way that always shows the influence and relevance of the Adam and Eve story. This is a truly great book that I’m sure I’ll come back to again someday