Consecrated Venom

The Serpent and the Tree of Knowledge

Caryl Johnston

Out of print

Quick Look

Explores the nature of human awareness as represented in the Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac, and humanity’s covenant with God.

216 x 138 mm
Floris Books
Religion & Spirituality
160 pages
Publication date:
23 May 2000


Arguments about the Bible often dispute whether its account is pure myth or divine revelation. In a stimulating departure from the normal debate, Caryl Johnston interprets the biblical events as figures or motifs of human knowledge, a way of seeing the Bible which is both novel and revealing.

The author starts from the dual significance of the serpent, as tempter and as symbol of wisdom and inspiration. Human awareness changed from the moment that Adam and Eve were tempted by the serpent and tasted the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. By that act, they became aware of themselves as thinking beings. The venom of the serpent was to engage humans in the historical process itself, to make them active in the world through paying attention to their own thought.

However, the Bible also reveals to us the serpent of Moses, that he 'lifted up' to rescue his people. Through thinking we are bound into creation by responsibility and moral presence, and by engaging with history we confront the greatest lessons that humanity has to learn.
With striking and fresh insight on every page, Consecrated Venom explores the very nature of human awareness as imaged in the Bible stories of the Garden of Paradise, Cain and Abel, Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac, as well as the historical reality of humanity’s Covenant with God.

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