I have already accounted for some overlooked details in Genesis 3, which should orient toward a reconsideration of the astral framework behind a text which must not be reduced from myth to fairytale. After describing the multiple innuendos conveyed by the fig tree, I have argued that the first technological advancement for Adam and Eve comes from sewing leaves together into protective aprons. Such use is well-attested in mythology and interestingly about an Anatolian demigod, the Cilician Sykeus, a titan among others which would rustle under the ground of this region, so fateful for the final destiny of Bellerophon, but also for the production of iron tips. In this technological department, ignoring the symbolical value of Eve's substance, her being made from a rib, would forbid the understanding of her role in the story. She is for sure the leader in the events connected to the achievement of a superior knowledge able to make humans on par with deities. If iron is taken from dust, from red iron oxide, from hematite as Adam, then Eve is built, "forged" as a refined creature from the divine metallurgist. Josephus, a Jewish learned brought by the emperor Titus to Rome in 71 A.C., after the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem, observed about Adam that his name means "red", because it was shaped by the biblical God with the virgin earth (Antiquities, 1.34). The insistence of Genesis on the pair dam (blood) adamah (ground), "your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground!" (Gn 4:10), is an invitation to grasp a leitmotif which elaborates on red iron dust as blood-stained soil and ultimately as source of the best metal to kill. From this ground we should be able to distinguish the unicity of Eve built from a rib, a sikkat, something as the tip of a plow, but as a needle too. And according to Roman sources, the betyl of Cybele transferred from Pessinus to Rome in 204 B.C. (Marcattili 2016 ) looked like that, an acus, probably an iron mass of meteorite origin (D'Orazio 2007 ). According to the testimony of Servius, at Aen. 7.188: "septem fuerunt pignora, quae imperium Romanum tenent: acus matris deum [...]" (Coarelli 2012 : 275; Cancellieri 1812 : 7-30; Summers 1996 : 363-364). This needle-shaped idol has a reputation that may date back to a remote past, the very same of the goddess Cybele, whose first apparition should have happened in the sixteenth century B.C., according to the Parian Marble (3rd century B.C.). Apart from this interesting Anatolian aperçu, which I cannot explore any further, a key point has to be made: if God's walk in the garden is not just a stroll in a well-tended English garden, but a terrific show of his power, under the typical disguise of the storm god, so familiar to the Canaanite and Anatolian religious beliefs, we should think of the typical iconography of the striding god holding a bolt of thunder or lightning (Vanel 1965 ; Cornelius 1994 ). There is an almost "tacit apparition" between the lines of the Fall narrative in Genesis we should not disattend though: the first couple is able to sew aprons to cover nakedness. The fig leaves are patched together, and no mention is made of a tool. Why on earth? Was this implement, a needle, not necessary to put the first piece of cloth together? When God unleashes his epiphany, his walk after the great trespass that decided history, something unheard of happened in the background, behind the curtain, and for a precise reason: he wanted to show that iron is a divine gift coming from heaven. The sumerogram AN.BAR (Yakubovich & Valerio 2010 ; Vanséveren 2012 ) makes this origin explicit, because it means "sky metal", literally "sky fire" and was adopted by the Hittites in their cuneiform writing, sometimes with further specifications as with AN.BAR GE6 nepišaš, "black iron of the sky" (Maxwell-Hyslop 1972 ). Following the main thread provided by AN, a Sumerian sign used to denote the "sky", but also part of metal names (Ross 2011 : 238-240), the garden epiphany before the first use of a needle to sew the well-known fig leaves is some sort of a trademark, meant to remind that any progress in civilization comes from above. What happened during that "walk"? Did anything fall from the sky? Maybe a meteorite? A conical object like Cybele's needle? As a matter of fact, we do not know how the first men could sew leaves without a needle, certainly a pointed bone was enough, but the fig tree is a clear hint at what will come next, the invention of metallurgy with Tubal-Cain. One more remark about the famous Nephilim (DDD 618-620) who are mentioned in Genesis 6:4: "The only obvious meaning of this Hebrew term is ‘fallen ones' —perhaps, those who have come down from the realm of the gods; but then the word might conceivably reflect an entirely different, un-Hebraic background. In any case, the notion of semidivine, heroic figures—in Numbers the Nephilim are thought of as giants who are offspring of miscegenation between gods and women—again touches on common ground with Greek and other mythologies." (Alter) The idea of "fallen" heroes like Bellerophon, who dared to soar too high with his horse Pegasus may go together with an astral conception of the ancient warriors, whose gigantic bones had mineral or metallic robustness according various ANE mythologies.
Originally Published: May 9, 2021
Last Updated: May 9, 2021