In the Bible, what is the forbidden fruit that Adam and Eve ate?

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to Genesis, there are two special trees in the Garden of Eden: the tree of Life and the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

In Genesis Chapter 2, God tells Adam and Eve that they may freely eat the fruit from any tree in the garden except the fruit from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. He asserts that the day Adam and Eve eat from this tree, they will surely die.

17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. (Genesis 2:17)

Up until now, neither has known the meaning or experience of death. Popular culture has always asserted that the forbidden fruit was an apple. This may have originated from the similarity of the Latin words for evil (malum) and apple (malus). In fact, Latin Christianity often identified the forbidden fruit with the apple.

On the other hand, Greek and Jewish traditions often equated the forbidden fruit with the fig or grape. The Bible does not stipulate what the original forbidden fruit was.


From Creation to Babel.

danigre | Student

The written Old Testament doesn't specify what the forbidden fruit is. However, there are some theories listed in the Talmud, aka the "Oral Law" in Judaism (Brachot 40a). These include:

- A fig. "...and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves." (Genesis 3:7) According to this theory, Adam and Eve ate from a fig tree, then used its leaves to clothe themselves.

- A citron. "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food...she took of its fruit." (Genesis 3:6) The passage seems to specify that the bark of the tree itself could be eaten. According to Rabbinic tradition, this is only true of the citron tree.

There are additional theories that include grapes, a pomegranate, and wheat as possibilities.