Over the centuries, there have been innumerable interpretations of the story of Adam and Eve. This week on the Daily, Stephen Greenblatt, the author of The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve, retells some of these legends in modern idiom, and invents a few of his own.
The serpent, the subtlest of all the beasts of the field, had observed with interest the humans’ sexual intercourse in Paradise. He saw that Adam calmly willed his penis to stiffen and then gently inserted it into Eve’s vulva. The act caught his attention in part because he thought that Eve was extraordinarily beautiful and in part because he had already noted a certain resemblance between Adam’s penis and his own body, which he could also harden or soften at will. One day, he approached Eve—Adam was away surveying a different part of the garden—and proposed that he stiffen his body and enter her, as Adam did. Lacking any knowledge of good or evil, Eve gladly consented. The snake made himself hard and penetrated the woman, moving his head this way and that to see what might be of interest. But it was dark inside and, after a while, concluding that Eve was more beautiful without than within, he withdrew. Eve, however, had experienced something intensely pleasurable, and she determined that when Adam returned she would teach him how to imitate what the snake had done. (Williams 57–58; Slavonic Enoch) Read More