Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Forbidden Fruit of Eden ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Forbidden Fruit of Eden
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: corbiestar420-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 02 Feb 2005 12:21 PST
Expires: 04 Mar 2005 12:21 PST
Question ID: 467691
I am working on a design with the theme of forbidden fruit.  While I
realize that the forbidden fruit is a metaphor, I want to what fruits
are considered to be the forbidden fruit.  These are some of the
results I have found: apple, quince, grape, fig, wheat, yew tree.  I
am interested in knowing as many different fruits, are considered by
different cultures to be the actual forbidden fruit.  So I guess this
is my question: Which fruits symbolize the forbidden fruit of the tree
of knowledge in Eden?
Subject: Re: Forbidden Fruit of Eden
Answered By: thx1138-ga on 02 Feb 2005 15:30 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello corbiestar420 and thank you for your question.

In fact, I have found a total of 13 references to the "Forbidden Fruit
of Eden" they are:

1.	Grapes 
2.	Wheat 
3.	Figs
4.	Etrog (citron)
5.	Apples
6.	Dates
7.	Nuts
8.	Bananas
9.	Oak 
10.	Sycamore 
11.	Cedar 
12.	Pears
13.	Mushroom (Amanita muscaria)

(Add those to the ones you have, and you have the most comprhensive
list on the web!)

See below for details:


"Islamic tradition has it that the forbidden fruit was actually a
banana and, consequently, it is said that after their fall Adam and
Eve covered themselves with banana leaves rather than fig leaves."$rec=140697
"What was the tree of knowledge? The Torah is silent and does not
elaborate, since for it the main point is the prohibition and the sin
of eating thereof, but its readers throughout the generations have
wanted to identify the fruit who's consumption decided the fate of
humanity and it's quality of life. Sources indicate at least seven
answers to the question: grapes, wheat, figs, etrog (citron), apple,
dates and nuts. We will discuss four of these.
1) Grapes: The claim that Eve "pressed grapes" and gave Adam wine to
drink (Midrash B'resheet Rabbah 19), as surprising as it sounds, was
the most widespread answer in our sources. Linguistically it is based
on what is said in the Torah, "and she (Eve) took from its fruits"
(B'resheet 3:6). Since it does not say "she took its fruits" but
rather "from its fruits", one can claim that Eve created something
from the fruit, the bunches of grapes, and this she gave to Adam.
These wise men clearly wanted to say that the fruit of the vine, wine,
is something extremely harmful to man and that one should keep away
from strong drink and drink it only in minimal quantities. In many
sources in the Torah and thereafter, we find many warnings against
excessive wine consumption and drunkenness, and the claim that the
original sin of Adam and his wife was with wine strengthens the
influence of this beverage.
2) Wheat: This is one of the most surprising claims since wheat is not
a tree, but rather a short plant, and wheat kernels, which one needs
to grind before use in baking, cannot be easily described as "the
fruit of the tree", but despite this we find this opinion in the
Midrash (B'resheet Rabbah 19). It's basis is probably in studying the
realities of life: Wheat symbolizes wisdom, "a baby does not know to
call for it's father and mother until it experiences the taste of
wheat" (Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 72) - in other words: only when a child
reaches the age that it can eat solid foods, like bread, he begins to
reveal the first sparks of his intelligence, since while he is still
breastfeeding he is an infant who's knowledge has yet to be
crystallized and given expression. If one has difficulty with the
question of how wheat can be described as a tree, the sages of the
Midrash tell that wheat once grew as high as a palm tree, but after
the man sinned, it was punished by having it's height reduced. Our
sages also promise that in the days to come (Talmud Bavli Ketubot
111b), wheat will return to its original height. It will become "as
the palm tree" and its kernels will be like the "kidneys of the great
3) Figs: It is known that after the sin Adam and Eve sewed themselves
garments from "fig leaves" (B'resheet 3:7). The Midrash (B'resheet
Rabbah, ibid) learns from this that the tree with which the original
couple sinned was also the tree from which their rehabilitation after
the sin began, where their clothing and covering up are seen as the
first step in creating a cultured society, different from the paradise
like and idyllic society where there was no concept of shame, and man
in many ways lived in it like any other animal.
4) Apple: We would likely not err if we said that this is the most
commonly accepted answer, in modern times, to the question of the
identity of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. We must admit that
this tradition is not found in sources of the people of Isra'el but
rather comes from Christianity. It is found, already, in writings
attributed to Tertolianos, who lived in the 2nd and third centuries.
This tradition reached Judaism through illustrations of the biblical
story, when Jews began to illuminate various manuscripts and imitated
what they saw in the Christian world, which has many artworks
depicting Adam, Eve, the serpent and the apple as a composite group.
The English language even calls the extrusion of the trachea
(windpipe) in males by the name "Adam's Apple", as though to say that
the apple became lodged in his throat when he ate it. The introduction
of a tradition external to Judaism into the culture of the Jewish
people is clear evidence of the unclear boundaries between the culture
of the people of Isra'el and that of its neighbors"

"The most bizarre interpretation comes from a 13th century cathedral
in Indres, France, which contains a fresco showing Eve encountering a
female serpent entwined around a giant branching mushroom common in
Europe - the slightly toxic and hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria"

"Given no other indication, artists and writers have envisioned the
tree of knowledge as an apple, a fig, a pear, dragon's blood, and a
banana tree!"
"To the Druids, the tree of life was the Oak"
"To the ancient Hebrews, it was the Cedar"
"The Assyrians depicted the tree of life as a Date tree"
"However, the ancient Egyptians also regarded the Sycamore as their
sacred "tree of life,"
"The fig tree has a leaf very similar to that of a mulberry tree, and
over the years the two Greek words for fig and mulberry (sycos and
moros) united to form the name Sycamore. No "real" Sycamore was ever a
tree of life."


Thank you for your question, and if you need any clarification of my
answer, do not hesitate to ask before rating my answer.

Very best regards,


Search strategy included:
"forbidden fruit" cultures

Clarification of Answer by thx1138-ga on 02 Feb 2005 15:40 PST
Hello again corbiestar420 

I was struggling to find out what the "Dragon's Blood Tree" was, but
now I have it...

"Dragon Tree, Dragon's Blood Tree"
"Scientific Name: Dracaena draco L.
Family: Agavaceae"

So that makes 14 references to the "Forbidden Fruit of Eden" (It
avoids the number 13 too!)

Very best regards

corbiestar420-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00
I was very pleased with my extensive and timely results.  I hope that
thx1138-ga will be the person who respnds to all of my questions! :)

Subject: Re: Forbidden Fruit of Eden
From: thx1138-ga on 03 Feb 2005 01:57 PST
Hello again corbiestar420,

Just a note to say thank you for the five stars and nice tip!  I hope
we can work together again too!

Very best regards

Subject: Re: Forbidden Fruit of Eden
From: ravuri-ga on 28 Feb 2005 14:19 PST
Good job, thx1138-ga!

Just one caveat. The paragraph you quoted about the apple admits that
the source is Christian, but then claims that this is an example of an
of a tradition external to Judaism into the culture of the Jewish
people." This is false. Just because Jews in America have heard of it
doesn't make it part of Jewish tradition. I would challenge the author
of that paragraph to produce a single source from Jewish tradition
that identifies the fruit of the Tree of the Will to Good and Evil
with an apple. I've looked pretty hard, and have found none.

I was not surprised to discover that that paragraph is from a Hebrew
Christian website. I think all experts on Judaism would agree that the
"Hebrew Christians" or "messianic Jews" are not reliable in their
presentations of Judaism. Caveat researcher!

All The Best,
Subject: Re: Forbidden Fruit of Eden
From: ashiled-ga on 12 Sep 2005 18:35 PDT
Although it is not found in any Jewish text, it surly has seeped into
the jewish culture.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy