Monday, February 29, 2016

Murdoch, The Apocryphal Adam and Eve in Medieval Europe

The Apocryphal Adam and Eve in Medieval Europe
Vernacular Translations and Adaptations of the Vita Adae et Evae

Brian Murdoch
  • Coverage of an wide range of apocryphal texts
  • Primary material presented in European languages with English translations
  • Analysis uses both a theological and a literary approach
  • Places individual variants of the material in their geographical contexts

Description What happened to Adam and Eve after their expulsion from paradise?

Where the biblical narrative fell silent apocryphal writings took up this intriguing question, notably including the Early Christian Latin text, the Life of Adam and Eve. This account describes the (failed) attempt of the couple to return to paradise by fasting whilst immersed in a river, and explores how they coped with new experiences such as childbirth and death.

Brian Murdoch guides the reader through the many variant versions of the Life, demonstrating how it was also adapted into most western and some eastern European languages in the Middle Ages and beyond, constantly developing and changing along the way. The study considers this development of the apocryphal texts whilst presenting a fascinating insight into the flourishing medieval tradition of Adam and Eve. A tradition that the Reformation would largely curtail, stories from the Life were celebrated in European prose, verse and drama in many different languages from Irish to Russian.

Cross-file under Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Watch. The same sort of thing was going on with New Testament Apocrypha, as covered in Philip Jenkins's recent book The Many Faces of Christ.