Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)

Schools and Centres

Philosophy and Theology


The Garden of Eden is one of the most pervasive and enduring images in the Abrahamic Tradition. Despite being the inspiration of many profound works of art, including painting, music, literature, architecture, and landscape design, theological meaning has tended to be subsidiary to wider anthropological, archaeological or art-historical concerns. Recent interest in nature imagery in the Bible, including the Garden of Eden, suggests this aspect of religious expression is becoming more visible. However, most attention has tended to focus on the socio-political and ecological implications of these images, and is primarily agrarian in focus. Given the canonical location of the Eden myth in Genesis 2:5 and 3, and Revelation 22:1-5, bookending, as it were, the Christian Bible, this emphasis seems misplaced. Indeed, an examination of the use of Edenic imagery, with its roots in the temple cult of pre-exilic Jerusalem, points instead to an alternative interpretation expressive of an eschatology that simultaneously symbolizes, manifests and energises the enduring hope that lies at the root of the Christian experience. The Eden imagery used in Ezekiel 47:1-12, as it is reprised in Revelation 22:1-5, and also in John 4:4-42, is central to this understanding, mediating the Wisdom of God and the Holy Spirit through the notion of water as blessing.


Being a dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Theology, University of Notre Dame, Australia.

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