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History of Paradise: THE GARDEN OF EDEN IN MYTH AND TRADITION Paperback – 20 Apr 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; New Ed edition (20 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252068807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252068805
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 947,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"A revealing and often fascinating history of Western man's conception of a primitive paradise." -- Robert Bireley, Times Literary Supplement

From the Back Cover

With erudition and wit, Jean Delumeau explores the medieval conviction that paradise existed in a precise although unreachable earthly location. Delving into the writings of dozens of medieval and Renaissance thinkers from Augustine to Dante, Delumeau presents a luminous study of the meaning of Original Sin and the human yearning for paradise.

The finest minds of the Middle Ages wrote about where paradise was to be found, what it was like, and who dwelt in it. Explorers sailed into the unknown in search of paradisal gardens of wealth and delight that were thought to be near the original Garden. Cartographers drew Eden into their maps, often indicating the wilderness into which Adam and Eve were cast, along with the magical kingdom of Prester John, Jerusalem, Babel, Ophir, and other places described in biblical narrative or borrowed from other cultures. Later, Renaissance thinkers and writers meticulously reconstructed the details of Eden, providing schedules of the Creation and physical descriptions of Adam and Eve.

Even when the Enlightenment gradually banished the dream of paradise on earth, a nostalgia for Eden shaped elements of culture from literature to gardening. In our own time, Eden's hold on the Western imagination continues to fuel questions such as whether land should be conserved or exploited and whether a return to innocence is possible.


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