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  • Temptation Transformed: How the Forbidden Fruit Became an Apple

Temptation Transformed: How the Forbidden Fruit Became an Apple

Date & Time

Wednesday, February 22, 2023, 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.


Lectures & Speakers


Douglass Student Center, Trayes Hall

100 George Street New Brunswick , NJ, 08901


Presented by the The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life

Forbidden apple - apple in hand

How did the apple, unmentioned by the Bible, become the dominant symbol of temptation, sin, and the Fall? In his new book, Temptation Transformed, professor Azzan Yadin-Israel takes the reader on a journey into the mystery behind why the forbidden fruit became an apple, upending an explanation that stood for centuries. He reveals that Eden’s fruit, once thought to be a fig or a grape, first appears as an apple in twelfth-century French art, and then traces this image back to its source in medieval storytelling. Though scholars often blame theologians for the apple, accounts of the Fall written in commonly spoken languages—French, German, and English—influenced a broader audience than cloistered Latin commentators. In his wide-ranging study of early Christian thought, Renaissance art, and medieval languages, Yadin-Israel shows that, over time, the words for “fruit” in these languages narrowed until an apple in the Garden became self-evident. He will share his discoveries at this lecture, offering an eye-opening revisionist history of a central religious icon.

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