essay - Slavina Kiprova ID # 100025647 Mullen Dec 9, 2008...

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Slavina Kiprova ENG230a ID # 100025647 Prof. J. Mullen Dec 9, 2008 AUBG Accounts of the prelapsarian and postlapsatian states - same story, different attitudes Aetiological myths about the origin of humankind and the evolution of humans’ life can be found in Genesis, Virgil’s Georgics , Ovid’s Metamorphoses , and Boethius’ The Consolation of Philosophy . It is significant that the last three are different uses of the same myth as opposed to the one in Genesis. All four works describe the imagined prelapsarian condition of human being as a state of innocence, purity, and ease of life in which people are carefree, unaware of arts, crafts, laws, and social hierarchy, and are deprived from the knowledge of good and evil. The life before the “Fall” is presented as a continuous leisure time for humans who enjoy the ready food that nature produces by itself. The four texts describe the postlapsarian state as harsh times for people in which they have to work in order to survive. Despite the common features that the four accounts of prelapsarian and postlapsarian states share, they differ in the way the causes and the specific effects of the “Fall” are explained. While Genesis attributes the loss of opportunity to live in a state of innocence and ease to a human’s sin, Virgil’s Georgics and Ovid’s Metamorphoses attribute that loss to Jupiter, the Roman equivalent of Zeus. Though, Virgil’s interpretation is more traditional while Ovid’s view is more authentic. Unlike the first three accounts, in The Consolation of Philosophy Boethius attributes humans’ unhappiness and suffering to people’s greed and corruptive desire for riches. 1
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In Genesis, the prelapsarian state is described as the period when God created the first man Adam and put him to live in a garden called Eden. There were no plants in the fields and no herbs sprung up yet (Genesis 2:5). At that time there was no rain and no one had to plough the ground, but “a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground” (Genesis 2:6). In Eden the man did not have to do any agricultural work because food was provided by Lord who “out of the ground…made to grow every tree that is…god for food” (Genesis 2:9). In Genesis it is not specified what type of food men were provided with while in the other three texts it is explicitly said that people ate acorns before the “Fall”. According to the Genesis, in the prelapsarian state there was also gold and precious stones, but the man was not interested in the possession of such riches, which is similar to the idea of the Golden Age embodied in The Consolation of Philosophy and also very clear in Metamorphoses . In the period before the “Fall” described in Genesis like the one depicted in Metamorphoses people were innocent and
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This note was uploaded on 04/30/2009 for the course LITERATURE 210 taught by Professor Mullen during the Spring '09 term at American University in Bulgaria.

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essay - Slavina Kiprova ID # 100025647 Mullen Dec 9, 2008...

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