The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Eden

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EDEN (Heb., pleasure, delight; also gan Eden, garden of delight), the Scriptural name of the place where God placed Adam and Eve before the fall. In the Septuagint it is called Paradise, that is, a park or pleasure garden. It was watered by a river which, issuing forth, branched into four streams, named Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel (or Tigris), and Euphrates. No locality can now be fixed for the garden of Eden. The geographical indications in the book of Genesis are too vaguely expressed to enable us to determine with any approach to certainty which locality is meant. The most probable opinion seems to be that which assigns Eden a place somewhere among the mountainous regions of Armenia, where the rivers Tigris and Euphrates take their rise. Some writers, however, are of opinion that the garden of Eden is only a figurative expression, not intended to indicate any actual locality on earth. A few years ago Sir Henry Rawlinson, in a discourse before the royal society, asserted that he had deciphered the word “Eden” in cuneiform inscriptions among the ruins of Nineveh, and that it was a name given to Babylon. Eden is also the Scriptural name of a territory, probably in the Euphrates valley, mentioned among the conquests of the Assyrians.