Political Theory

A Metaphor for the Agricultural Age

“…then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods…”

– The Serpent of The Book of Genesis


A quick search on the World Wide Web tells me I’m not the first to consider this theory though I believe I thought it up independently: Could the story of Adam and Eve be a metaphor for passing from the hunter gatherer age into the agricultural age?


The fruit they eat contains knowledge and the divine punishment for receiving this knowledge: “…cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life…Thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground”.


To this theory I’d also like to add a component of sexual jealousy. The serpent, an obviously phallic creature, is the tempter and first tempts the woman. What does he gain from having her ruled over by her husband? Is that a metaphor for moving from a polygamous to a monogamous society?


And if so, was the hunter gatherer age truly an era with no sexual jealousy, with no toil, where women didn’t suffer at all during childbirth? Or was it that the early farmers, labouring for hours a day to produce their food, looked back at what society had been like before and imagined it must have been a paradise?



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