Apple – The Forbidden Fruit?


Men have Adam’s apples because they tried to eat the forbidden fruit, and as a punishment it stuck in their throats.  But perhaps what they really have is an Adam’s fig or an Adam’s pomegranate, even an Adam’s wheat.  Who is to say for sure what that lump of fruit really is?

On this side of the world we think of the forbidden fruit as an apple, but the Bible never calls it by that name.  How did we come to the conclusion that it was an apple?  This, it turns out, is a coincidence of language.  In the Latin translation of the Bible, it says this, “de ligno autem scientiae boni et mali” meaning “but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil”.  Mali is a Latin word coming from malum meaning bad (think malice).  Mālum, meaning apple, exists in Latin as well, but was borrowed from the Greeks.  So to a Latin speaker the phrase might sound like the tree of good and apple.  

Some consider the forbidden fruit to be a grape, perhaps a grape made into wine, since for obvious reasons this can be associated with sin.

A fig is another common contender for the forbidden fruit.  This association came about because the fig has long been understood as a symbol of female sexuality.  In fact, Michelangelo painted a fig tree to represent the tree of knowledge on the Sistine Chapel.

Pomegranate is considered a contender for the forbidden fruit since it is native to that region.

To many Hebrew speakers the forbidden fruit is wheat for the same reason Latin speakers considered it an apple.  Wheat in Hebrew is khitah and sin is khet.  The similarity between the words associated them in people’s minds.


One thought on “Apple – The Forbidden Fruit?

  1. Pingback: the confusing secret of forbidden fruit | power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

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