If by "Eden" you mean the story of paradise in Genesis, then the Bible is
our source of the idea.  But that is by definition.

If you mean the idea of paradise, there are many versions of the story.
There was a Sumerian paradise called Dilmun; the Greeks imagined a
paradise before Pandora opened the box; there is a paradise in Islamic
theology. I'm sure a theologian could identify many more.

On another comment, I would be interested in what you think are the limits
of the word "Christianity" and what versions of it you would not include.  It
is possible to think the term not broad enough.  I have only read the review
so far, but that seems to be a conclusion of Elaine Pagels' book on The
Gospel of Thomas.

Certainly one might consider in what way Eliot's specific and rather rigid
notions of Christianity affected his work but also how his much broader
knowledge of, say, Eastern religion and comparative religion also did.

Date sent:              Fri, 27 Jun 2003 14:15:03 -0400
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From:                   William Gray <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                OT: Eden
To:                     [log in to unmask]

   Just a couple of comments on your post:

>>> [log in to unmask] 06/27/03 12:23PM >>> The principle of Eden is
leisure without blame. That was Tolstoi's definition of it. But it also
happens, essentially, to be the very realistic definition offered by the
anthropologist Marshall Sahlins who established that the hunter-gatherer
societies were the "first affluent societies," where people spent 4-5 hours a
day working, often in a way hard to distinguish from playing

*According to the Bible (our source for understanding Eden, after all),
the principle of Eden was far from leisure. Adam was given work by God
almost immediately after his creation (cf. Genesis 2:19). It was clear to
both Adam and Eve that the reason God created them was to manage His
creation under Him (cf. Genesis 1:26-28 and 2:15). What changed as a
result of the Fall/the Curse was not the addition of work but the fact
that work would now involve sweat and difficulty.

Actually, Milton...(Of course his recognition is
in part distorted by Christianity, which poisons everything it

*This comment adds little, if anything, to our discussion. If you would
like to talk sometime off-list, I would love to help clear up your
misunderstanding here about Christianity, an unfortunately broad label. I
don't mind hearing religious positions, if they are relevant to the
discussion and sufficiently grounded. I had just hoped we could discuss
Christianity's relevance to Eliot's poetry without degenerating. Thanks!

Will Gray