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History of Paradise: THE GARDEN OF EDEN IN MYTH AND TRADITION

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0252068805
ISBN-10: 0252068807
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A revealing and often fascinating history of Western man's conception of a primitive paradise." -- Robert Bireley, Times Literary Supplement

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (April 20, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252068807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252068805
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,781,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Walter R. Mattfeld on November 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
The author's original work is in French and has been ably translated into English. He covers various attempts though the ages by Christians, primarily, _to locate_ the "garden of Eden." This book's "usefulness" is in its comprehensive coverage of various authors up to about the time of the Enlightenment (18th century AD). Towards the end of his book he concludes Eden "is a myth" and gives his reasons for this position. His "bibliography" of sources consulted _is impressive_ and should be useful to those unaware of the vast number of books and treatises done on Eden over the ages.
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Format: Paperback
In this day and age of critical theory and revisionist history, it is refreshing to have a strong, document based, historicist's account of a concept such as 'paradise'. Regretfully today the idea 'paradise' has become either an almost empty platitude for the tourist industry,and other commercial commoditities or some type of incomprehensible 'carrot' for the suicide martyr.

Delumeau is able to demonstrate the evolution of the concept and today's deconstruction of paradise through an acceptance of 'evolution' but only because he first establishes the original sacred and secular constructs.

The examples of 'paradise' depicted in medieval manuscripts, and medieval and renaissance art will appeal to the art history lover looking for more in depth context for the paradise narrative.

Although I found there was a little too much of a bias towards the Western traditions and a subjective weighting given to certain stories such as Prestor John's Kingdom , the book overall was informative and for fact and fiction writers alike, revisiting paradise with Delumeau is a worthwhile inspirational journey .
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Delumeau's work is long overdue; a primer for those who understand the continuing relevancy of a history that has been taken for granted but, in fact, animates the largest sector of our artistic and emotional lives more than any other thematic obsession in history.
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