Did adam and eve have sex before entering the garden of eden? Rethinking Jubilees 3:6-12

Rivka Nir

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this article I question the common opinion that according to Jubilees 3:6-7 Adam and Eve had sexual relations before entering the Garden of Eden. I show that from a philological and contextual point of view these verses are better understood in non-sexual terms. Their affiliation with biblical laws of the parturient confirms the conclusion that Adam and Eve had no sexual relations before entrance into the Garden of Eden and situates Jubilees within the pseudepigraphic tradition, according to which such relations began only after the primeval sin and expulsion from Eden. Paralleled in the Qumran scrolls, this tradition conflicts with how mainstream Judaism of the Second Temple period perceived sex in general, and sexual relations in Paradise in particular. On the other hand, it displays affinities with the Christian tradition on sex in the Garden of Eden. The Jubilees tradition merits rethinking in light of perceptions prevalent among sects on the margins of Judaism, the soil for the growth and development of Christian perspectives on Paradise and sex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-63
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


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