« FöregåendeFortsätt »
to the mixture of poetry with the historical style of the primitive world, yet without destroying the historical truth of what was fact. *** Less and Cramer differ a little in their allegorical views from the supporters of a literal explanation. Eifert imagined that God personally instructed the human pair, and declared to them their punishment; that the serpent spoke through the co-operation of the devil; that the inspiration of the breath of life was not to be regarded in a literal sense, whilst the formation of Eve from the man's rib was a dream, and the Cherubim were merely typical. This system was especially brought into notice by Eichhorn1, who presupposed neither mythology nor allegory, but pure history,' and gave the following explanation of the account of Paradise in Genesis :God planted a garden, and created in it a human pair, who wandered about separately and alone in the garden. Adam, earnestly desiring a companion, fell into a sleep, in which it seemed to him in his dream as if a side was taken from him. He awoke, and the woman stood beside him, who thenceforth became his inseparable companion. In the same garden there stood two marvellous trees,-one possessing efficacious healing powers, and the other a poisonous tree, which was not fatal to the serpent but only so to the man, and was therefore necessarily forbidden by God. Eve saw the serpent eat of the fruit without being harmed, and she therefore doubted the justness of the prohibition, and together with Adam she ate of the tree. The sensual desire was thus awakened, and, as the consequence of its indulgence, their cheeks were coloured with the first blush of shame. Toward evening a thunder-storm came on,—
1 Urgeschichte (Primitive History), Th. 2. Bd. 2.
perhaps the first which the two human beings had ever seen after they had become conscious of their transgression. Adam then fears the threatened punishment, and hides himself in a thicket. But the pealing thunder sounds to him as if a voice said, 'Adam, where art thou?' and whilst he is in this frame of mind, a glance of Adam upon Eve is the strongest reproach,—a glance upon the serpent the most eloquent exculpation. In their extreme terror they fly at last from the garden of Paradise, and the thought of the awful natural phenomenon they had witnessed prevents their seeking to return thither. Everything extraordinary they consequently refer to God; their own thoughts, excited by a living object or a natural appearance, are presented to their minds as a dialogue of the woman with the serpent, and as words of the angered Deity; all inferences of their own are raised into facts; and the troubles of childbirth and the toils of agriculture present themselves as the punishments for transgression. According to this interpretation, critics have imagined that they had only to divest the narrative of ancient ideas and forms of speech, in order to obtain the naked and true description of what had occurred1.
"The mythical interpretation is nearly allied to the allegorical, but it regards the occurrences which are narrated in the form of history as the external dress in which the true meaning was clothed. *** This explanation was not perceived immediately in its full force, because the notion of an actual event having happened to the first parents of the human race had been adopted into the
1 Tuch's Kommentar, pp. 57-59.
mythical interpretation of the narrative, and the account. was regarded as an historical myth, which was only gradually given up. Paulus' considers the narrative as a popular philosophical speculation of the primitive world on the original state of man, founded on analogies and inferences; Flatt2 sees in it a fiction to explain the origin of evil in the world, and on this idea the mythical interpretation rightly turns. Eichhorn3 perceives the transition from the golden to the silver age (which was the cause of all evil in the world) in the desire for another mode of life which man fancied to be better than his present condition. Hence the form which the myth assumes: men had become dissatisfied with their earthly food, and they wanted to taste of the food of the Elohim (amrita, ambrosia), which God had prohibited to man, and they were on this account driven out of Paradise. Schelling adopts a similar interpretation, but Gabler is not able to relinquish the historical view. Bauer3 finds the origin of evil in the enlargement of knowledge in men, by means of which new desires became awakened, and additional wants were excited, which consequently destroyed the innocence of heart and the happiness of childlike simplicity. According to Gesenius the cause of evil lies in man's inclination, striving against his better conviction after what is forbidden (nitimur in vetitum), and following the voice of seduction, in which view the idea became of minor importance that man was only happy as long as he remained in inno
1 N. Repert. ii. 213, &c.
2 Vesmischte Versuche (Mixed Essays), p. 200, &c.
3 Allgem. Bibl. i. 989; ii. 712.
4 In Paulus Memorab. v. 45, &c.
6 Encyclop. i. 360.
5 Mythologie, p. 93.
cence, obeying the commands of God, and also that the introduction of a state of guilt accompanied that of a state of discernment, although this is the main object of the myth. Tholuck1 recognizes a myth in this narrative, to the great displeasure of Tiele, and he thus decides its meaning with deeper penetration: 'Man at first enjoyed, according to his destiny, a state of holy (?) innocence, in which he knew no other will than the will of God; but he left this innocent state, followed the impulses of his own will, and thus refused any longer to acknowledge the divine law as the highest rule of life.'
“The paradisiacal myth has been generally more profoundly understood by philosophers than by theologians: Kant2 and Schillers have employed the scriptural document in elucidating physiological inquiries on the progressive development of mankind: both of these philosophers correctly remark, that the myth does not represent a debasement or sinking down from original perfection to imperfection-not a victory of sensuality over reason— but, on the contrary, it manifests the advancement of man from a state of natural rudeness to freedom and civilization. The historical individuality of Adam is no longer maintained; he becomes the general representative of humanity. On the other hand, no sufficient explanation has been given, or rather it has been left unexplained, how this advance to freedom, which is here described, can include the idea of a fall through sin: indeed Von Bohlen
1 Sünde (Sin), p. 266.
2 Muthmasslicher Anfang des Menschengeschlechts (Probable Beginning of the Human race): Berliner Monatschrift, 1786. St. 1.
3 Etwas über die erste Menschengesellschaft (On the First Human Society): Sämmtliche Werke, 1825. Band 16.
wholly denies that the notion of a fall through sin is here taught: according to his view, the myth only represents the elevation of man toward God. This more correct and satisfactory explanation of the mythical narrative has been first given by the philosophy of the present agel."
1 Tuch's Kommentar über die Genesis (Commentary on Genesis), p. 54-61.