“James Barr presents a novel reading of the story of the Garden of Eden, not as a tale of the origins of sin and death but as a tale of a chance of immortality, briefly accessible to humanity but quickly lost.
Old Testament scholars have long been aware that the traditional reading…as ‘The Fall of Man,’ though hallowed by St. Paul’s use of it, cannot stand up to close examination of the text.”
Barr’s work here is “both striking and compelling. Central to the book is its stress on the role and prevalence of the idea of immortality, commonly thought to be a later Greek and unbiblical import into Christian thinking.
Reflection on immortality also leads to a reconsideration of ideas about death in the Hebrew Bible; about Sheol, the Hebrew Underworld; and about the soul.”