Garden of Eden Depicted on the Parthenon

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New book decodes Greek Myth, deciphers ancient sculptural themes.

Visitors to the Parthenon in Athens and to the British Museum in London, where most of the Parthenon sculptures are displayed, can now do more than “ooh” and “aah” at what they see: they can actually understand what the Greeks were telling us about themselves and their history. The newly-released book, The Parthenon Code: Mankind’s History in Marble by Robert Bowie Johnson, Jr. deciphers the meaning of the sculptures of Athena’s temple, relating their messages to the early events described in Genesis.

According to the book, an authentic ancient artists’ code, designed to portray the Greeks’ religious history, reached its highest and most straightforward form on the Parthenon, the national monument of Greece. The author maintains that Greek myth/art tells the same story as Genesis except from the standpoint that the serpent enlightened Adam and Eve in paradise rather than deluding them. “A sculpted depiction of the Garden of Eden, which the Greeks called the Garden of the Hesperides, appeared on the sacred east pediment of the Parthenon. As in all surviving Greek vase-paintings of it, the Garden featured a serpent-entwined apple tree,” Mr. Johnson said. “The Book of Genesis does not identify the specific type of fruit on the tree; it’s from the Greek tradition that we get the idea Eve took a bite of an apple,” Mr. Johnson added.

The book also says that Zeus and Hera, the first couple according to Greek myth, are pictures of Adam and Eve, the first couple according to Genesis. And it explains that the ancient Greeks knew exactly who Noah was, referring to him as Nereus, the “Wet One,” and as the "Salt Sea Old Man." According to the author, the Greeks rejected the Creator God of Noah in favor of the humanist ideal: “man as the measure of all things.” The Greeks dated the beginning of their religious outlook from the latter years of his Noah’s life, depicting the patriarch’s image on many vases, seventeen of which appear in the book.

“The Greeks created the living basis of our culture,” Mr. Johnson said, “Let’s give them credit for knowing where they came from and what they believed, and especially for knowing how to vividly express that crucial historical information to posterity."

Reviewer Ron Pramschufer of puts Mr. Johnson’s new book into a contemporary perspective: “While The DaVinci Code is fictional and The Bible Code is bogus, The Parthenon Code presents a genuine artists’ code which opens the door to long-hidden truths about the origins of mankind.”

The Parthenon Code features 251 black and white illustrations including twenty-seven Parthenon sculptures restored by computer artist Holmes Bryant, based on the physical evidence. The 288 page book sells for $29.95, and is available at The Parthenon Code Web site, and on Amazon. The book is available to the trade at Biblio, a division of the National Book Network (1-800-462-6420).

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Robert Johnson



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