Dr. David Neiman gives historical context to the early chapters in the Bible that detail the Garden of Eden. The description of the Garden contains elements of Assyrian and Ugaritic literature. (59 min.)
In this second lecture in an eight parts series on the first chapters of the book of Genesis, Dr. Neiman examines the story of the Garden of Eden and points to the influences early Ugaritic texts had on the authors of Genesis. Dr. Neiman dissects the story of creation of man and woman, all the while explaining the rationality and historical context of these most significant chapters of the Bible.
From the notes of Dr. David Neiman:
The Garden resembles the temples and palaces of the Assyria and Ugarit. There are elements in the description of the Garden of Eden in Genesis, which point to its having been understood as being the residence of the Divine King. The four rivers issuing forth from the Garden as described in Genesis 2:10-14 are reminiscent of the sources of all the great waters which are described in the Canaanite Epic of Ugarit in which El, the father of all the gods is seated on his throne, from under whose foundation the great waters of the primeval deep flow forth.
This passage can be seen as parallel to the Eden story in Genesis in which the four great streams flow forth from the Garden, two of which are the life-giving rivers of the Valley of Mesopotamia, and two of which are the oceanic waters flowing around the land of Havilah and the land of Kush.