Temptation Transformed

Temptation Transformed
A "brisk and entertaining" (Wall Street Journal) journey into the mystery behind why the forbidden fruit became an apple, upending an explanation that stood for centuries.

How did the apple, unmentioned by the Bible, become the dominant symbol of temptation, sin, and the Fall? Temptation Transformed pursues this mystery across art and religious history, uncovering where, when, and why the forbidden fruit became an apple.

Azzan 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. Azzan 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.

Publication Date: 
November 7, 2022