The Life of Adam and Eve here translated is the Latin version of the story of Adam and Eve from the time of their expulsion from Paradise until their deaths.
Jewish legends connected with Adam and Eve and their children abound. So much is clear from the Rabbinic literature. Yet there is no direct evidence for the existence of any pre-Christian written collection of these legends in either Hebrew or Aramaic. The Church, however, seems to have known a number of apparently different Adam books from a comparatively early date: Epiphanius, for example, says that 'many' Gnostic books were attributed to Seth and 'revelations' to Adam,1 the Apostolic Constitutions mentions Adam along with Moses and Enoch as one of the 'ancients' who wrote apocryphal books,2 and the Gelasian Decree includes in its list of apocrypha 'the book that is called The Penitence of Adam'.3
The Adam books which have survived have various titles: they have been preserved in a variety of forms and recensions, and in a variety of languages. Some are distinct: others are interrelated, some obviously so, others less obviously. Thus, the Coptic 'Apocalypse of Adam', discovered near Nag Hammadi in 1945, has no points of contact at all with the Syriac 'Testament of Adam' (apart from its form), nor with the Ethiopic 'Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan': on the other hand, our Latin 'Life of Adam and Eve' has a number of points of contact with the Ethiopic 'Conflict', but nothing like as many as it has with the Armenian 'Book of Adam'. No attempt will be made, therefore, either to summarize the contents of these books individually, or to disentangle the very complicated interrelationships where they exist. Fundamental to the group most closely related to our 'Life' would appear to be the____________________