Eden

Home

Adam and Eve had to leave Eden, the garden where the first man had been taken to (lqḥ) (Gn 2:15). The location of this garden has always been a puzzle for interpreters, because the text of Genesis provides just a few geographical data to identify it. Four rivers flow out of the garden and only the last two are known, Tigris and Euphrates (Gn 2:14).

Actually, we are at a loss about the location of Eden and its whereabouts, taken for granted that the beginning of humanity in ancient sacred literature lingers between history and myth. I will go back to this issue later and focus at the moment on the train of events after the first transgression. The first couple was bound to leave Eden, but the only hint to a destination comes with Cain and it is Nod . A location we know almost nothing of, unfortunately.

The first real geographical piece of information comes from a descendant of Cain, whose name, Tubal, may be a reference to Tabal, a Luwian state we know of from Assyrian chronicles.

HYPOTHESIS

The hypothesis I am trying to develop is that Eden may represent Anatolia. Two rivers surely mentioned in Genesis, flowing out of Eden, are Tigris and Euphrates, whose sources are very close to each other and both in eastern Turkey. About the other two rivers, Pishon and Gihon , there is not consensus among scholars. I think that basically depends on the lack of an alternative background where to locate the few data provided by Genesis.

«Pishon and Gihon are descriptive names which do not occur elsewhere, nor are there any rivers with such names» (Westermann 217).