Not an Apple

Genesis 3 is probably one of the most famous parts of the Old Testament. It’s where the devil convinced Eve to eat an apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Except not. The Hebrew is pretty straightforward. The נָחָשׁ mentioned in the first verse is just the Hebrew word for “serpent.” It has nothing to do with the figure who would later become identified as the Christian Satan. And it wasn’t an apple.        

Again, the Hebrew text is reasonably clear. The word used is פְּרִי which literally just means “fruit.” Like in English, this can be an actual fruit or symbolic for the “fruit of ___.” Hebrew has a separate word for “apple” תַּפּוּחַ which does not show up (as far as I’m aware) in Genesis. So how did we get the whole “Apple” thing? Because languages are fun!

The “apple” translation comes from people working with and getting confused by the Latin translation of the Old Testament. In Latin, the word for “apple” and “bad” are basically the same: malum vs. malus. 

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