…go ahead and bite it, I bet you’d be delighted

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:17 (King James Version)

Metaphorically speaking, since that Edenic moment when Eve convinced Adam to partake in the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, “forbidden fruit” has been defined as a forbidden object of desire, with part of its appeal coming from the very comprehension that one seriously shouldn’t have it, whether the indulgence is immoral, illegal, indecent or merely injurious.

A remarkable array of potential forbidden fruits have been posited through the years, starting most notably with the apple, which may actually have been chosen as a result of some confusion during the Latin translation of the Bible in the late 4th Century, between the noun “mălum” which means evil and the noun “mālum” which was derived from the Greek word for apple. The “Adam’s apple” which is a popular name for the larynx, comes to us based on the notion that it is emblematic of the forbidden fruit protruding from Adam’s throat as he swallowed.

While many believe that the quince, which pre-dates the apple is the actual fruit, some Hebrew and Slavonic texts state that the fruit was actually a grape, which was later changed into something good, just as the serpent was changed by losing its legs and speech. Other Rabbinic traditions hold wheat as the actual fruit because the Hebrew word for wheat is “khitah” which can be interpreted as a pun on “khet” which is the word for sin.

As the word for tomato in some Slavic languages means “paradise” there are some who believe it to be the offending fruit, especially since it was once believed to be poisonous and therefore had a forbidden past. Then there are those who hold the fig as the culprit as it has long been a symbol for female sexuality.  This opinion is most famously represented on a ceiling fresco in the Sistine chapel.

However, another famous fresco, in France’s 13th Century Plaincourault Abbey, depicts Adam and Eve next to a Tree of Knowledge that looks like an “Amanita Muscaria,” the type of psychoactive mushroom that comes to mind when one thinks of Alice in Wonderland. Not nearly as fanciful but also offered up as candidates are: the pomegranate, the carob, the pear, the (dry) citron, the leafy datura and the grapefruit.

No matter your particular interpretation, as Oscar Brown Jr. surmised, the “fall of man” makes a fine subject for a song and Nina Simone agreed with him, naming her fourth studio album, “Forbidden Fruit,” after Brown’s song in 1960, and featuring her cover version as the final track.

Nina, as you’ll recall, was a piano player, singer and performer “separately and simultaneously,” moving from gospel to blues to jazz to folk to Bach-style counterpoint fugues and especially to the genre that provided her with her memorable marque, the High Priestess of Soul.

 LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Sunday 15 July

Forbidden Fruit

 Eve and Adam had a garden, everything was great

Till one day a boy says pardon, Miss my name is snake

See that apple over yonder, if you’ll take a bite

You and Adam both are bound to have some fun tonight

Go on and eat, forbidden fruit

It’s mighty sweet, forbidden fruit

It’s quite a treat, forbidden fruit

Go ahead and taste it, you don’t wanna waste it

 The Lord had said in the beginning, everything here’s free

Except that apple, it leads to sinning, so let that apple be

But Eve got tempted so she tried it and as all chicks do

Teased her man ‘till he decided he’d just try some too

Go on and eat, forbidden fruit

It’s mighty sweet, forbidden fruit

It’s quite a treat, forbidden fruit

Go ahead and bite it, I bet you’d be delighted

 I hate to tell you all what followed, the Lord was most upset

Saw them making love and hollered what have you to “et”

And when they made a full confession, the Lord said hmmm I see

I guess I’ll have to teach you a lesson about not minding me

Go on and eat, forbidden fruit

It’s mighty sweet, forbidden fruit

It’s quite a treat, forbidden fruit

You all went and did it, now you’re gonna get it

The Lord made Eve, Adam’s madam, had his kids and all

Placed some labor laws on Adam and he made the snake to fall

Ever since the days of Eden, folks been sinful my

Nowadays they’re even eating apples in their pie

Go on and eat, forbidden fruit

 It’s quite a treat, forbidden fruit

It’s mighty sweet, forbidden fruit

Go ahead and taste it, you don’t wanna waste it

Oh go ahead and bite it, I bet you’d be delighted

You always did it, now you’re gonna get it

Forbidden fruit

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