Gislebertus Eve


With a nod to John Milton’s birthday today is the theme of Adam and Eve explored in his classic ‘Paradise Lost’. My embrace of failure is rooted in my Unitarian-Universalist upbringing. The denomination is predicated on a non-dogmatic ethos which embraces the failure of holding any revealed word or divine truth. The old joke goes, “How do you know a Unitarian has moved into your neighbourhood?…There’s a question mark burning on the lawn.” One of the key tenets of conventional Christianity that UUism rejects was the notion of ‘Original Sin’ (coincidentally, a belief shared by the religion of Islam). One way to distinguish the two ‘Uism’s is ‘Unitarians thought that God was too Good to damn Man, and Universalists thought that Man was too Good for God to damn.’

In fact, as a metaphor, Eve’s maverick action can be seen as revolution for humanity to celebrate – eating of the Tree of Knowledge. Chet Raymo elaborates in his post ‘Eve’

  • “In the new story there is no prelapsarian Eden, no world without the pain of childbirth, without thorns and thistles, without the sweat of the brow. We are and always have been like Gislebertus’ Eve entwined in a living web. What we are seeing in the Autun sculpture [see photo above] is the dawning of moral consciousness, a moment of singular significance for each of us individually and for our species.”