Monday, November 1, 2010

Tree of Life, Tree of Knowledge

"The Garden of Eden" by Thomas Cole ...Image via Wikipedia
Those raised in the culture of the three great Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) are familiar from the Genesis Creation Narrative with references to Eden, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. These concepts refer back to time in the dim past when Paradise reigned on earth.

We know from ancient narrative traditions that man sampled fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and was cast out paradise, destined to use his intellect and emotional strength to succeed or fail in the world. While the search for knowledge was not always prized, since the the Mesopotamians, the Egyptians, the Greeks and Romans, at least some had the freedom to research and ask questions.

One of the key questions has concerned immortality, expressed through stories like the Tree of Life and even Neolithic burial practices. In the modern world, particularly in advanced consumer-oriented cultures, the search for immortality includes medical research and life-prolonging lifestyles, including diet and exercise strategies.

But what if a tree of life or  knowledge surfaced in the modern world? Would people use the fruit simply to prolong life? Or would they use the discovery as an opportunity to ask and perhaps answer key questions that have vexed mankind for tens of thousands of years?

In the action fantasy novel Gettysburg Passage, a man does stumble on a modern-day orchard in an Eden-like setting in the mountains of western Maryland. This man, maybe unwillingly, is being called on to help rescue an ancient civilization. Find out what happens when he tastes the "forbidden fruit" and how people -- even today -- might misuse a chance to sample from the tree of life.

Gettysburg Passage, a novel by John Callahan, $2.99 available from

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