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The Penultimate CuriosityHow Science Swims in the Slipstream of Ultimate Questions$
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Roger Wagner and Andrew Briggs

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747956.001.0001

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Adam and Adapa

Adam and Adapa

(p.351) Chapter Forty-Three Adam and Adapa
The Penultimate Curiosity

Roger Wagner

Andrew Briggs

Oxford University Press

In 1887, among a number of tablets written in Akkadian cuneiform that had been dug up in the ruined city of el-Amarna was one, dated to 1400 BC, that told the story of Adapa—the primal man, the first of the seven sages and the son of Eridu, the first human city. In the story, Adapa is summoned to heaven because while out fishing he had ‘broken the wing of south wind’. The god Ea tells him how to behave and advises him that when he is offered the bread of death he must not eat, and when offered the water of death he must not drink. Adapa follows this instruction but then discovers he has actually refused the bread of life and the water of life, thus losing the chance for immortality. This chapter considers the relationship between this and the Genesis account of Adam and Eve.

Keywords:   Genesis, Adam, Eve, cuneiform, Adapa, tablets, life, immortality, Creation

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