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Adam and Eve eating the apple. The woman in the tree is the snake (Notre Dame Cathedral, 1200s AD)

Adam and Eve eating the apple. The woman in the tree is the snake (Notre Dame Cathedral, 1200s AD)

The Creation of Man

According to the Book of Genesis in the BibleGod created Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. Then God placed them in a wonderful place called the Garden of Eden.

More about the Creation
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Don’t eat the apple!

But God warned Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of the tree that grew in the middle of the garden. A snake came and told Eve to eat the fruit, and she did eat it. And she gave some fruit to Adam, and he ate it too.

When did snakes evolve?
Snakes and women in Greek myth
The history of apples

Was it really an apple? Or a pun?

Adam and Eve mosaic (northern Syria, ca. 500 AD. Now in Cleveland)

Adam and Eve mosaic (northern Syria, ca. 500 AD. Now in Cleveland), But in this mosaic, those are for sure not fig leaves.

The Bible doesn’t say what kind of fruit, but later on people usually said it was an apple. That’s because the word for “apple” and the word for “bad” are almost the same in Latin.

There’s also the story of Atalanta and her golden apples, where it’s the apples that catch her and then she has to get married, just as Eve does.

Atalanta and the golden apples

The fruit was magic, and after they ate it, they knew right from wrong. So they were ashamed of being naked.

Covered with fig leaves

So Adam and Eve picked fig leaves to cover themselves with. (They chose fig leaves because a fig leaf is kind of shaped like a penis and testicles, or at least ancient people thought it was. Ancient people thought this was a funny joke. But also, figs were the first domesticated food.)

The history of figs

Adam delved and Eve span

Then God was angry that Adam and Eve had disobeyed him and made them leave the garden, and from then on they had to work for a living. Adam had to plow the land, and Eve had to have children and obey Adam.

What is plowing?

The beginning of farming?

(If this can be seen as a sort of memory of the beginning of farming, when people could no longer live by hunting and gathering but had to begin farming to feed themselves and their children, then it would be dated around 10,000 BC).

The beginning of farming

Or just getting workers to work?

(But it also serves as a warning or explanation from powerful people to ordinary workers: that’s what you have to do. God wants men to plow and women to make babies and obey. No choices.)

Learn by doing: draw your own picture of Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve’s kids: Cain and Abel and Seth

Bibliography and further reading about the history of Judaism:


Or read about Adam and Eve in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Cain and Abel
More about the Jews home