The Garden of Eden is the most famous work of horticulture in history, but it is better known for what happened there than for being a garden. If the Garden of Eden existed, it would have been in the Middle East. As a work of imagination, it was grounded in the cultural life of the region, and its meanings evolved as successive faith communities incorporated it into their theology, literature, art, and gardens. This talk explores how the garden God planted in Eden has shaped horticultural thought and art in the cultures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and how this paradise still holds significance for our challenged earth.
Image credit: Giovanni di Paolo, Paradise, 1445. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image: Google Art Project, public domain (left). Mariët Westermann, Al Ain Oasis (right).
Mariët Westermann, Vice Chancellor and Professor of Arts and Humanities, NYUAD
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