The banner is a low-tech simulation of my place through time: the first photograph is intended to invoke the tundra of the PaleoIndian period, 12,500-10,000 BCE; the second, the swamps and woodlands of c. 1630, of the contact period between the Massachusett and the first European settlers. The third photograph is of my front yard when I moved in (the yard was used as a doggie playground), c. 2007; the fourth, a photograph of my garden, c. 2010.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

guest blogger Joseph R. Kobara, on the Garden of Eden

Mesopotamia, the birthplace of human civilization, has long been a point of intrigue for historians, geologists, anthropologists, and anyone with a curious mind. The inception of the written word by the Sumerians occurred there. Modern day mathematics and astronomy stemmed from this mysterious place as well. Mesopotamia literally translates to “between rivers.” The rivers referenced are commonly thought to be the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers that flow from Northern Turkey to what is now Iraq. They meet just before the Persian Gulf and empty there. 
The Garden of Eden, like other elusive myths such as The Holy Grail or Atlantis, has always been sought after. Maybe these universal pursuits derive from our basic curiosity to know our origins. The Book of Genesis leaves hints as to where the Garden of Eden may have been located:
A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches.
The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
and the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there.

The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. Genesis 2:10-14
We know of the Tigris and the Euphrates, but what about the other two unknown rivers? The Pison and Gihon rivers are as baffling as the location of The Garden of Eden itself. Could they be lost names that refer to the Rioni and Aras Rivers in Northern Turkey? The Tigris and Euphrates both source from the mountains of northern Turkey and some people have speculated that the Garden of Eden most likely lies in these mountains. The exact locations of their sources still remain a mystery because each river has countless estuaries. The passage from Genesis seems to point to northern Turkey as many sources of major river systems begin there. But the problem persists: the proposed locations of the Tigris and Euphrates sources are hundreds of miles away from one another. Researches have come to a new theory: where the four rivers of Genesis divide is at the Persian Gulf at the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates rather than their sources.  Radical as it is, the idea is based on the theory that the rivers named in Genesis (Pison and Gihon) are now submerged by the Persian Gulf. Archaeologist Jeffery Rose has introduced the idea that a lost civilization of humans inhabited the fertile land below the Persian Gulf until it was swallowed by the Indian Ocean in 4000 BCE. These civilizations would have settled around these rivers. Since the first known written languages weren’t developed until around 3,000 BCE, no historical evidence has been documented and thus the mystery persists. The following map, created by Dr. Juris Zarins, depicts the potential zone for the Garden of Eden and the four named rivers:

 Dr. Zarins, a professor at Missouri State University, is a strong promoter of the theory that the Garden of Eden once existed under the waters of the Persian Gulf. And due to new confirmed projections of the flooding of the Persian Gulf, Dr. Zarin’s theories may hold water.
            Another indication that the Garden of Eden may have been located under the Persian Gulf is the references to the materials found near the Pishon river. Bdellium is an ancient gum resin found near the Persian Gulf. It was a valuable aromatic material sourced from trees surrounding the Gulf.
            Though these findings all point towards an unconventional hypothesis on the location of the biblical Garden of Eden, an answer may never be revealed. The passage in Genesis is short and limited in information. And even if geologists and anthropologists could somehow explore the sea floor of the Persian Gulf, what could they search for? Any indications of a garden would be long gone. And so, the mystery persists.
Works Cited

Albright, W. F. "The Location of the Garden of Eden." The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 39.1 (1922): 15-31. Chicago Journals. Web. 14 Nov. 2012.
Hamblin, Dora J. "Has the Garden of Eden Been Located at Last?" Smithsonian Magazine 1 Dec. 1997: n. pag. Web. 14 Nov. 2012.
"Lost Civilization Under Persian Gulf?" N.p., 8 Dec. 2010. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. <>.
Richardson, Curtis J., and Najah A. Hussain. "Restoring the Garden of Eden: An Ecological Assessment of the Marshes of Iraq." Bioscience 56.6 (2006): n. pag. University of California Press. Web. 14 Nov. 2012.
Wall, Tim. "Ancient Desert Oasis Echoes Eden." Earth News (2010): n. pag. Discovery News. Web. 14 Nov. 2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment