Life Cycles in England, 1560-1720: Cradle to Grave

By Mary Abbott | Go to book overview

EXHIBIT 1

The biblical account of Creation

SOURCE

The Holy Bible containing the Old Testament and the New, newly translated out of the original tongues and with the former translations diligently compared and revised by his Majesty's [James I's] special command. Appointed to be read in churches. Printed by Thomas Buck and Roger Daniel, printers to the University of Cambridge, 1637 (1611)

The images of Adam, Eve, the serpent and the apple were embroidered and painted on to dishes but the story of the Creation was of more than decorative significance in seventeenth-century England: Eve's role justified the subordination of women. The relationships between God and mankind and between men and women informed every stage of the human career from the cradle to the grave.


Genesis, 2.7-9, 21-5

7And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul. 8And the Lord God planted a garden Eastward in Eden and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food: the tree of life also in the midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil….

21And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept, and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in stead thereof. 22And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from the man made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. 24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 25And they were both naked, the man and the woman, and were not ashamed.


Genesis, 3.6-7

God forbade Adam to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil but, led on by the serpent,

6the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise; she took the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her and he did eat. 7And

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