In countless stories, songs, paintings, poems, photographs, advertisements, and films, the apple is portrayed as the forbidden fruit of Eden. It’s often associated with evil and with the fall of Adam and Eve into sin and death. Why? Because many people assume it’s the one food God told the first human beings never to eat.
But before you empty out your fruit bowl or cancel your apple-picking trip to the orchard, chew on this: the Bible does not say Adam and Eve ate an apple.
We do know for certain that the fruit was a product of the tree of knowledge of good and evil:
’And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil… And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’ (Genesis 2:9, 16-17)
The word apple is never mentioned. Yet people continue to suggest the serpent used an apple to tempt Eve:
‘And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.’ (Genesis 3:2-7)
Some have speculated that since the account mentions fig leaves, a fig brought the fall. We can’t be certain. Eve’s downfall could have come from an apple, of course – or a banana, orange, pear, kiwifruit, of kumquat, for that matter. Maybe Eve was overcome with mango madness or a desire for passion fruit. Fitting, huh? The garden of Eden might have even contained fruit that no longer exists.
So where did this idea of apples being the forbidden fruit originate? There are several possibilities. The first simply asserts that the original forbidden fruit was indeed an apple. Whether it was a golden delicious, Granny Smith, or something more like a McIntosh is anyone’s guess. Ancient paganism could have perpetuated the idea of the apple as well. In Greek mythology, Gaia, who is also known as Mother Earth of Mother Nature, presented a tree with golden apples to Zeus and his bride, Hera, on their wedding day. As in the Genesis story, the tree grew in a garden, guarded by a serpent that never slept.
Next, historians and etymologists have noted that the word apple is a term applied generically to almost any fruit, no matter its exact type. Thus, different kinds of produce can be and have been called apples. Look at a pineapple, which is a far cry from a Red Delicious apple. The pineapple’s name came about because it’s a fruit (generically called an apple) that resembles a pinecone. Pomegranates are literally ‘apples with many seeds.’ Even a potato is an ‘apple of the earth’ when you consider its French name, pomme de terre. The word pomme derives form the Latin pomum, translated as both ‘fruit’ and ‘apple.’
If that’s not enough to spice up your brain, there’s even more to the language game.
It’s interesting to note that another Latin word for apple, malus, is also the Latin word for evil. Malus is where we get the modern English word malice. So for centuries, when people using the Latin Bible learned about the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the text included a pun on the words for apple and evil. The text referring tot the ’tree of knowledge of good and evil’ could playfully be understood as ‘the tree of knowledge of good and apple.’
Apples are actually mentioned in the Bible. The word apple is found eight times in the King James Version, while the plurar apples is found three times. When mentioned in Scripture, the word apple never bears a negative connotation. In fact, the word is used in a very positive light.
Here are a few examples:
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. (Proverbs 25:11)
Oh, feed me with your love – your ‘raisins’ and your ‘apples’ – for I am utterly lovesick! (Song of Songs 2:5 NLT)
I said, ‘I will climb up into the palm tree and take hold of its branches.’ Now may your breasts be like grape clusters, and the scent of your breath like apples. (Song of Songs 7:8 NLT)
Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings. (Psalm 17:8)
Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. (Proverbs 7:2)
stem: joe kovacs
perspectief: Apple lovers can rejoice! When it comes to what’s written in the Bible regarding their favorite fruit, it’s all good.
titel: one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch
bron: shocked by the bible: the most astonishing facts you’ve never been told (2008)
mopw: meerstemmige encyclopedie / appel