[First posted at The Times of Israel: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/searching-for-eden/]
Ibn Ezra Genesis: Bereshit
Searching for Eden
“Where the apple reddens never pry — lest we lose our Edens, Eve and I.” -Robert Browning
Ever since Man’s banishment from the Garden of Eden, we have sought to rediscover the lost paradise. Scientists, scholars and archeologists have proposed a number of locations for the historic Eden, yet none have been able to confirm (how would they do so?) the ancient home of Adam and Eve.
One of the more popular suggestions places the Garden of Eden near modern-day Kuwait, between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, the only easily identifiable rivers listed in the creation story. Others have placed it in Turkey between the headwaters of those two rivers.
One of my favorite suggestions is that Israel is the site of the Garden of Eden, based on satellite imaging of pre-flood riverbeds that emanate from the Great Rift we’re sitting on.
The Ibn Ezra however, provides an unusual clue as to where he thinks the Garden of Eden was situated. He states that it was on the equator, where days and nights are equivalent throughout the year. This corresponds exactly with one of the most abundant sites for ancient human fossils, Lake Turkana in Kenya, which is situated on the equator and has been termed by anthropologists “the cradle of humanity.”
However, perhaps more important then finding the ancient fossils of the Garden of Eden, would be to create our own living, existential paradise on earth.
In memory of Dr. Irvin Kaplan of Baltimore, MD. A man that healed for over four decades in Baltimore and inspired all who knew him.