" Paradise" is a loanword from the Persians for describing a lovely enclosed park. The famed Persian Omar Khayyam conveys its sensuousness in this exquisite poem:
A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a loaf of Bread -- and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness --
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise now! 1
The first translators of Genesis borrowed pardes to express to the Mediterranean cultures what the Garden of Eden symbolized. For the Hebrews it connoted the ideal environment where harmony reigned among the Creator, humans, and animals. Pardes is also used in a highly figurative passage of the Song of Songs to refer to a natural setting conducive to lovemaking. The bridegroom describes the honeymoon experience in this manner:
Your lips distil nectar, my bride;
Honey and milk are under your tongue. . . .
Your shoots [nipples?] are a pardes of pomegranates. 2
Many wrongly think in a temporal and spatial mode when they use the term paradise. Some imagine it to refer to an idyl
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Publication information: Book title: Genesis and Gender:Biblical Myths of Sexuality and Their Cultural Impact. Contributors: William E. Phipps - Author. Publisher: Praeger Publishers. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1989. Page number: 87.
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