The Garden of Eden reimagined by artists Charles Burns and Killoffer


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Apparently the sixth day was also devoted to some kind of Nephilim barbershop, judging by those sample frames. I suppose the anglo-silver-age appearance of the characters is meant to be ironic?


Black flexi-disc!!! That takes me back to my childhood!


And so it was that on the eighth day God invented Brylcreem.


On some modern accounts, the story of the Garden of Eden is the transition from hunter/gatherer societies to agriculture caused by the drying out of the Middle East. Whatever its long term benefits, in many ways agriculture was a disaster for human beings - shortened life span, infectious diseases due to close proximity living, social stratification and wealth collecting. Tropical societies were not paradise either, but life in Babylon or Egypt must indeed have been nasty, brutal and short for the average person. And with the development of cities and their surrounding fields, pastoralism became increasingly dangerous.
Hunter-gatherers tend not to make up elaborate religions; when they die they die and the tribe moves on. Conflicts are simple and limited. It takes a developed society to have good and evil. The rabbis who decided to include the borrowed creation stories in their codification of Israelite literature knew what they were doing. It’s a pity that two and a half thousand years later “civilised” people still completely misread them, giving them a literal meaning and an iconography that is quite alien to the original.
tl;dr, forget the hairstyles, the rest of it is bunk too.


Depends. When finding my way in my first term at uni, I found myself in a Christian Union meeting. We were asked what was our idea of Jesus…I said, an Arab-looking big guy fizzing over with radical ideas.
Oops. Jesus was white, English1 middle class who just wanted everybody to love him and live nicely together. I got put on a list of people to be avoided as having dangerous ideas, though sporadic efforts were made to reclaim me for the true faith.

1Apologies to all the American evangelicals who know Jesus was really American, but the Church of England had first dibs as it was around before 1776.


Being horribly Genesis-picky, the Adam and Eve story is actually nothing to to with the 7 day creation story. Genesis has similar continuity problems to a really bad low-budget soap opera. But nothing compared to the rest of the Bible. “OK here’s the history of the Kings. There was this really successful king, Omri, who was a follower of Baal…oops, sorry folks, nothing to see here, let’s take a break for 150 years till the Yahwists get on top again.”


Sure. Was just using the usually religious anti-logic that makes a feeble effort at having it all make some sense. Like the one about how Pharaoh was really inherently evil, which is why it was necessary for God overcome his free will to harden his heart to prevent the Israelites from leaving. Because if he had obeyed his natural common sense fear of the Lord and let them go, God wouldn’t have had the wonderful opportunity to slaughter random Egyptian first-born for no apparent reason except to show off His Holy Malice…


Is there any actual evidence (outside of Genesis, that is) of longer lifespans in the pre-agricultural era? All the info I can find on the topic is either unsupported claims made by people championing “paleo” diets or science journal abstracts hidden behind paywalls.


There is evidence from modern hunter-gatherer societies (which may not be originally hunter-gatherer but may have reverted) and there is archaeological evidence, especially skeletons. Unfortunately when I learned all this stuff even Ethernet didn’t exist, so you would need the anthropology department of a university library.
Mortality statistics from England are also very suggestive. Until the 20th century the highest life expectancies were in places like Cumbria, where the main agriculture was sheep farming, and of course the lowest were in cities.
Life expectancy in Scotland was low because housing was primitive - until very late most houses did not have chimneys and relied on smoke getting through thatch, so of course lung diseases were a major cause of death.

[edit - I don’t believe in “paleo” diets, especially as the hominids around in the Palaeolithic were not homo sapiens sapiens.]


When you listen to fundamentalists and Republicans spouting convoluted illogic, just remember that they aren’t any more intelligent than the people who wrote the theological asides in the Old Testament.


When you listen to fundamentalists and Republicans spouting convoluted illogic, just remember that they aren’t any more intelligent than the people who wrote the theological asides in the Old Testament.

Less so, in fact, because the original biblical scribes on the one hand were doing something quite original and brilliant in inventing or writing down these fables, and on the other hand they didn’t have the perspective of science and thousands of years of history and civilization to realize how repugnant the things they wrote about really were. But modern fundamentalists have all those benefits and still believe this horrible farrago of malice and illogic as holy writ.


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