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Liber Graduum: The Heavenly Garden Of Ascetic Delights

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Chapter Summary

Notwithstanding its peculiar features, the Liber Graduum (LG), commonly dated to the late fourthearly fifth century, expresses the centrality of the ascetic imperative also characteristic of the broader Syriac tradition, notably attested in both Aphrahat and Ephrem. This chapter focuses on the way the ascetic agenda of LG informs its authors hermeneutical approach to the biblical narrative on the Garden of Eden. Whereas some particularities of the narrative fit readily into this mold, others clearly contradict it and demand creative, idiosyncratic, exegetical solutions. These include the authors interpretation of both the dominion over the earth and human procreation in Genesis 1:2628 as relating to kenotic humility and non-sexual procreation respectively. A major hermeneutical key for interpreting the story of the fall is provided by Satans temptation of Jesus; the latters ascetic elements are projected backwards to Adams temptation.

Keywords: ascetic agenda; Garden of Eden; Liber Graduum (LG); Syriac tradition



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