Bill Hayward brings to our attention a compelling sequence of blog posts about Genesis from the redoubtable Walter Kirn. Here's a link to the first in the series, which argues that "the Eden story in Genesis is about a drug bust and its aftermath. It begins by discussing the prohibition of a potent psychedelic substance: a plant or a fruit that grants those who ingest it personal access to divine capacities." Eden allegorized as a drug bust is an awesome idea that Kirn handles like a parable in the Kafka manner.
To Kirn's account I (who often think of Genesis in relation to The Odyssey as allegories of Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman cultures) would add the reminder that Odysseus's men are tempted by drugs in the Lotos Eaters episode and, one could argue, in that of the Sirens, though Circe, to whom many succumb, represents the sin of sex not of dope. Hard to improve on Joyce's vision of Circe as a brothel madame. But speaking of sex, what do you -- if you are Walter -- make of the fact that fucking is the first thing Adam and Eve do after enjoying the fruit? How are knowledge and carnal knowledge related?
If you're wondering why there's a picture of Soren Kierkegaard in this blog post, it's just to add his name to Kafka's as among the most imaginative of bible interpreters -- a wonderful tradition worth keeping alive. A toast to you, Walter Kirn. -- DL