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Parallels in Parables Juliette Porcelli

Paralles in Parables

Throughout the history of humanity, there have been stories that vary from religion to religion as a way to explain natural occurring phenomenon in the world. For example, almost all religions have a version of a creation story, to explain how man came to be on this planet. Popular mediums to tell these stories are parables, which is a metaphor used to tell a story to convey a lesson. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam believe in the story of Adam and Eve as the first people. Hinduism attributes the God Brahma for creating everything. When some aspects of stories or parables are compared across religions throughout history, the similarities are uncanny

This is an example of a metaphor for global warming

Eve

Genesis 3 recounts the story of “the fall” of the first humans on earth in the Garden of Eden, between the Tigris and Euphrates river.God only had one rule for Adam and Eve: not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, in the center of the garden. Temptation and curiosity overcame Eve when the cunning serpent asked her “‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” (Genesis 3:4-5).

Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened after they consumed the fruit, they saw their nakedness and were ashamed; “so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Genesis 3:7). This part of the story is known as the fall of humanity because Adam and Eve transitioned from a state of innocence and obedience to God to guilt and disobedience. Their eyes had been opened to the guilt and shame of nakedness that they were previously blind to. As punishment for their sin and disobedience, God made childbirth very painful and cursed the environment Adam and Eve would dwell on, making living conditions very difficult.

Pandora

Greek Mythology is a “body of stories concerning the god’s, heroes, and rituals of the ancient Greeks” that dates to 700 B.C. (Britannica.com, “Greek Mythology”). Hesiod, the father of Greek didactic poetry, detailed the story of Pandora’s Box in his epic work known as Theogony.

Pandora was said to be the first woman, formed of earth and water by Hephaestus, the god of smiths and master of crafts. Each god then perfected and gave Pandora an appropriate gift, therefore the word Pandora literally means “all gifted.” Aphrodite gave her beauty, grace and desire, Hermes gave her a deceitful mind, Athena clothed her, and Zeus bestowed a foolish and mischievous nature along with curiosity. It was unknown to everyone but Zeus at this point that her gift of curiosity would ultimately be her downfall, making Pandora a beautiful evil.

As a wedding gift, Pandora received a box from Zeus that Hermes presented to her. Hermes has one rule for Pandora: do not open the box. Every night Pandora itches to open the box, every time she resists her desire intensified. Given her gift of curiosity, she can no longer resist and opens box. Unknowingly she releases every evil, sin, and disease into the world. By the time Pandora closes the box hope is the only thing left inside

Indianna Jones & Pandora

Raiders of the Lost Ark is visual aid to show a box being opened and unforgiving evils flying out. Although it is the Ark of the Covenant that is open here, the scene is drawing on the idea of Pandora's Box.

Is this a Picture of Pandora, or Eve? "Eva Prima Pandora" by Jean Cousin the Elder, 1550, Paris.

Cousins?

It may be easy think that Eve and Pandora are long lost cousins, originating from the same ancient work of literature. A strong argument can be made for this, especially since they both came to popularity around the same time in 700 BC.Walter Headlam, a classic British scholar, poet, and leading Greek Scholars of the twentieth century, claimed both stories were the same primeval story of the first two women.

more evidence seems to support that the Judeo-Christian tradition drew upon Greek motifs most notably during Hellenization, which was the spread of Greek culture. Hellenization had its greatest impact during Alexander the Great’s reign in 300 BC. This does not mean the Judeo-Christian writers drew directly from Greek mythology and rewrote the story in a different light, only that it influenced the style and way they wrote.

Wrong Translations

Modern culture has so closely identified these two stories as synonymous due to wrong translations. According to William E. Phipps in Eve and Pandora Contrasted, “Due to translation and conceptual difficulties, few readers understand that there is no gender differentiation for much of the story.”

When God breathes into the nostrils of the earth that he shaped, the Hebrew word used is ha-adam, meaning “The human”, implying no gender connotation and rather just a neutral being. Ha-adam, rather than adam, is used to indicate when adam is not a personal name. Phipps states “The New English Bible and the Jerusalem Bible correctly avoid the use of the proper name “Adam” in the creation story.” Once a companion is made for the being, the proper name Adam is given to the male to help identify the speaker. The point of the story is not to convey that women are at fault for sin in the world, but alienation from Yahweh causes disharmony in earthly associations.

A mistranslation in Pandora’s myth is the word ‘box’. The word box became main-stream due to an incorrect translation in the 16th century by Erasmus of Rotterdam. When translating the myth into Latin, he mistook the work pythos (jar that was used for holding wine and oil) for pyxis (box).

The Core of Each Story

The point of the story of Eve in Geneisis is not to convey that women are at fault for sin in the world, but alienation from Yahweh causes disharmony in earthly associations. In the book, Seeing the World and Knowing God, Paul Fiddes states, “On the other hand there is the ‘tragic symbol’ where there is a clash between innocent suffering and a God who is meant to maintain the ethical order of the universe…it becomes possible to turn the accusation back against God, against the ethical God of the accusation” (page 77). This means, although the ancestors did not commit the original sin, every generation still suffers the consequences of the action.Fiddes argument supports the theory of a just God, implying he has an ethical duty to keep structure in the world he created. This is a way of rationalizing why bad things happen to people, such as a healthy person getting cancer.

The myth of Pandora is to be no more than “an anti-feminist fable, probably of his (Hesiod’s) own invention”, according to Robert Graves, an English poet and historical novelist. Hesiod was most likely influenced by Homer, an epic Greek poet, who wrote the Odyssey. In the Odyssey, women have a bad reputation because the soul of Agamemnon states that Clytemnestra, who killed him by stabbing him, said: “A bad name she gave to womankind, even to the best.” Unlike the original gender neutral Adam and Eve story, Pandora’s myth has always been skewed in favor of men since it’s conception. Hesiod ends the poem by saying “This was the origin of damnable womankind, a plague with which men must live.”

The overall message Hesiod was trying to convey was that women are dangerous because their evil actions are a divine imposed fate instead of a free-willed choice. This theme then persisted throughout the centuries in Greek culture, as this story was ingrained into the education of the youth, therefore formulating a bias against women. It was as far as influencing other cultures of the time.

Pandora in Ancient and Pop-Culture

Greek myths were recognized outside of the culture by people such as Plato and Aristotle, who commented on hope influencing the virtue of courage and it’s important to humanity. The most evidence of Hellenization infiltrating Jewish culture was when Palestine was under Greek influence. The best example of this in the Hebrew Bible: “I found something more butter than death-woman. The love she offers you will catch you like a trap or like a net; and her arms around you will hold you like a chain. A mean who pleases God will get away, but she will catch the sinner.” (Ecclesiastes 7:26).

When referring to Pandora’s box in conversation, “doing that would be like opening Pandora’s box”, is a metaphor for an innocent action or event causing unforeseen and uncontrollable chaos. Another pop-culture example is the book series turned movie series geared towards children, Percy Jackson & the Olympians, is a story about the Greek God’s and their half-blooded children.

In 2009, a movie called The Box, paralleled the story of Pandora. This movie, starring Cameron Diaz, three different families were presented with a box. If the family chose to press the button on the box, they receive one million dollars, but the catch was that someone somewhere in the world would die. In every instance when the button is pushed, it is done so by a woman, and she is therefore held responsible for someone’s death.

Adam and Eve in Pop-Culture

Adam and Eve in Pop-Culture

A very popular example of this is the movie WALL-E, who was the last robot on earth. In addition to this pop-culture reference, there are many others such as the Twilight zone episode where are Adam Cook and Eve Norda are the first people to settle the planet they name earth. Modern geneticists traced our most recent matrilineal and patrilineal common ancestors, naming them Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam. In C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, boys are called “sons of Adam” and girls are called “daughters of Eve.” Another widely known spoof of Adam and Eve is an organic apple juice company called “Apple and Eve.”

Persepolis and Temptation

In the interview with Emma Watson, Marjane alludes that all main-stream pop-culture music and celebrities of the time we’re banned from the children in Iran. This included music, movies, clothing, chocolate, and any paraphernalia such as posters. When her parents take a trip to Istanbul, they bought her illegal items such as Nike shoes, a Michael Jackson Thriller pin, a denim jacket, and posters of Kim Wilde and iron maiden.

. Marjane goes out alone with her new gear to buy some illegal tapes. She is stopped by the Guardians of the Revolution, and they point out Marjanes shoes are “punk” (pg 133). The shoes, damn jacket, and pin caused Marjane to stick out, and therefore, she was almost arrested and brought downtown to be detained or whipped for days.

Marjane relates to Eve and Pandora in many aspects in this part of the story. The Iranian government deemed these items as illegal for Marjane to own and she is not following the correct dress code. The temptation of wanting to hear main-stream pop-culture of the west was too overwhelming. When Marjane gives in to the temptation she is then faced with serious consequences and she is almost detained downtown.

Credits:

Created with images by Christopher Burns - "A bridge too far" • falco - "adam and eve church window church window"

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