Azzan Yadin-IsraelFeb 20, 2023
The Story of How the Forbidden Fruit Became an Apple
University of Chicago Press 2023
Temptation Transformed: The Story of How the Forbidden Fruit Became an Apple (University of Chicago Press, 2023) by Dr. Azzan Yadin-Israel presents a journey into the mystery behind why the forbidden fruit became an apple, upending an explanation that stood for centuries.
Dr. Yadin-Israel reveals that Eden’s fruit, once thought to be a fig or a grape, first appears as an apple in twelfth-century French art. He then traces this image back to its source in medieval storytelling. Though scholars often blame theologians for the apple, accounts of the Fall written in commonly spoken languages—French, German, and English—influenced a broader audience than cloistered Latin commentators. Dr. Yadin-Israel shows that, over time, the words for “fruit” in these languages narrowed until an apple in the Garden became self-evident. A wide-ranging study of early Christian thought, Renaissance art, and medieval languages, Temptation Transformed offers an eye-opening revisionist history of a central religious icon.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.