Friday, September 21, 2012

The Forbidden Fruit

From the very beginning the ancients were truly enamored with fruit.  Stories and traditions about human's origins connect him to a garden of paradise filled with fruit trees. The stories are essentially the same whether it be the Semitic Adam, the Teutonic Iduna, the Greek Hesperides, or the Celtic Avalon, in ancient times our idea of paradise centered on an abundance of cultivated fruit, its sensual irresistibility and the consequential calamity of its seduction.

Pink Pearl Apples to be made into Apple Butter
Apples, traditionally recognized as the forbidden fruit, have long been associated with love, beauty, health, comfort, pleasure, wisdom, temptation, and fertility. Apples became involved with many tales of love, bribery and temptation ranging from the abduction of Helen of Troy to the defeat and marriage of Atlanta. The romantic connotations of the apple were powerful reasons why apples came as dessert at the end of the meal.

Genesis depicts Adam and Eve leading the plush life in Eden. They may eat fruit from any tree except one, "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." However, in the Hebrew text, Genesis doesn't mention apples, only “fruit.” In fact it is unlikely that apples grew in the Middle East during biblical times. It seems that the early Christian scholars took the forbidden fruit to be an apple possibly because the Latin word “malum,” means both "apple" and "evil.” A contributing factor was that apples were a lot more popular in Europe than in the Middle East, where it's generally too hot for them to thrive.

It has been suggested that the forbidden fruit was actually a fig and not an apple. The apple was the favored representation of the forbidden fruit in early Christian art in France and Germany, but Byzantine and Italian artists tended to go with the fig, with Michaelangelo depicting Adam and Eve taking fruit from the forbidden fig tree on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Right now our fruit orchard is filled with several varieties of ripe apples and figs. On any given day it’s hard to say which would have been considered the more forbidden. However, in the end I have to vote for the fig. There is something simply luscious about biting into a fresh fig. (See our previous post The Sensuous Fig).

We produce Fig Jam and Apple Butter from our fruit trees for our Wine Club members. Taste these two delicious treats and you can come up with your own conclusion about which of these fruits is the more forbidden.

No comments:

Post a Comment