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Original scientific paper

The Life of Adam and Eve in Žgombić and Fatević miscellanies

Lucija Turkalj

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page 579-593

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The Life of Adam and Eve is an Old Testament apocryphon (pseudepigraphon) on the life of the first people expelled from the garden of Eden. It is probably the oldest form of the apocryphal stories about Adam and Eve which exists in several forms and languages. Therefore it belongs to the group of writings called “The books of Adam and Eve” or the primary adamic literature. There are versions in: Greek (Apocalypse of Moses), Latin (Vita Adae et Evae), Slavonic (The Life of Adam and Eve), Armenian (The Penitence of Adam) and Georgian (Book of Adam), and some fragments in Coptic.
The major themes are problems of illness and death, immortality and resurrection. The minor themes are guilt, enmity between man and devil, and final grace and salvation. It is generally accepted that it was originally written in Greek. There is no agreement regarding the date (1st century or 2nd to 4th century). Some have supposed that it is of Jewish provenance, with the later Christian additions, but the more recent researches of the apocryphal stories show the possibility of Christian roots. Its great popularity in the Christian circles also supports the second hypothesis. The Latin version of The Life of Adam and Eve (Vita Adae et Evae) is especially interesting and the most complex. It is preserved in more than hundred manuscripts from the 10th-15th century. It also occurs in a very fluent translation in Croatian Church Slavonic in two Croatian Glagolitic miscellanies. The older complete text is preserved in Žgombić Miscellany from the 16th century, and the younger, slightly modified incomplete copy in Fatević Miscellany from the 17th century. Their textual form corresponds to that of the fifth Latin redactional group, attested in the manuscripts of the 14th and 15th centuries and characterized by elements of The Legend of the Wood of the Cross (The Holy Rood Legend).


The Life of Adam and Eve; Vita Adae et Evae; Old Testament apocryphon (pseudepigraphon); Croatian Glagolitic miscellanies; Žgombić Miscellany; Fatević Miscellany

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