A Journey Through the Tangled Lives of Adam and Eve
From the New York Times bestselling author of Walking the Bible and Abraham comes a revelatory journey across four continents and 4,000 years exploring how Adam and Eve introduced the idea of love into the world, and how they continue to shape our deepest feelings about relationships, family, and togetherness.
Since antiquity, one story has stood at the center of every conversation about men and women. One couple has been the battleground for human relationships and sexual identity. That couple is Adam and Eve. Yet instead of celebrating them, history has blamed them for bringing sin, deceit, and death into the world.
In this fresh retelling of their story, New York Times columnist and PBS host Bruce Feiler travels from the Garden of Eden in Iraq to the Sistine Chapel in Rome, from John Milton’s London to Mae West’s Hollywood, discovering how Adam and Eve should be hailed as exemplars of a long-term, healthy, resilient relationship. At a time of discord and fear over the strength of our social fabric, Feiler shows how history’s first couple can again be role models for unity, forgiveness, and love.
Containing all the humor, insight, and wisdom that have endeared Bruce Feiler to readers around the world, The First Love Story is an unforgettable journey that restores Adam and Eve to their rightful place as central figures in our culture's imagination and reminds us that even our most familiar stories still have the ability to surprise, inspire, and guide us today.
“Feiler plunges into this thicket with verve, intelligence and style. He’s done a miraculous thing, the literary equivalent of breathing life into a figure made of clay—taken a story I’ve been hearing since services were held in the old sanctuary and made me experience it again as if for the first time ”
The New York Times Book Review
“Feiler shows how Adam and Eve have always been and continue to be mutable, rebooted through the ages to suit their times like comic book superheroes. By investigating the history of these re-imaginings, Feiler tracks the evolution of how people have thought about relationships between humanity and God. He focuses on the artists and intellectuals who have subverted mainstream religious dogma and found, in Adam and Eve, radical inspiration for what it means to be human, and what it means to love—which are the same thing, really . . . Feiler’s chapters are stuffed with interesting people and concepts. They move briskly, delving into every iconic moment in the first couple’s short tale, each an opportunity to examine a different wrinkle of love: collegial, romantic, sexual, familial, extramarital, the blush of youth, the pale of twilight”
“A convincing case that mankind still has much to learn from the first human beings . . . It's a thought-provoking odyssey, and by its end it is hard not to nod in agreement”
“This may be Feiler’s best work yet. A wonderfully readable, powerfully presented look into the influence of the original love”
“An eye-opening look at one of the most famous stories of all time. The First Love Story is a provocative journey that reconceptualizes the tale of Adam and Eve as not one of sin, but romantic love. The First Love Story also serves as a history of love itself—how we comprehend it, and how we express it. Eloquently written, Feiler’s book forces even the most experienced of religious scholars to rethink our understanding of sacredness and profanity”
Reza Aslan, author of Zealot
“With his characteristic insight and grace, Bruce Feiler has painted a revealing portrait of the archetypal human story of love, temptation, betrayal, and endurance. There is much to learn and ponder in these pages”
Jon Meacham, author of Thomas Jefferson
“The First Love Story is full of wit and wisdom. In charting the story of Adam and Eve, Bruce Feiler unfolds the history of love itself, showing how our sense of guilt and discomfort coincides with our experiences of passion, commitment, and joy”
Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree
“Somehow Bruce Feiler has taken what may be the most mulled-over story in western culture and not only found something fresh in it but found something compelling, inspiring and—perhaps most amazing of all—timely. He guides the reader across rich and varied terrain—archaeology, art, literature, psychology, history, theology—with the grace, wit, and wisdom we’ve come to expect from him”
Robert Wright, author of The Evolution of God
“A wise and nourishing book that shows how the first story is really our story”
Rabbi David Wolpe, author of Why Faith Matters
“Adam and Eve, dismissed as merely allegorical by some, derided as a relic of fundamentalist belief by others, are revealed by Bruce Feiler in his fascinating new book, as not only relevant to our modern understanding of love and community, but absolutely essential. As he has shown in his books and television series, Mr. Feiler has the unique ability to introduce readers to the insights of art, history and theology in a way that makes a seemingly hidebound topic come alive and the oldest of Bible stories seem fresh, inspiring and even exciting”
James Martin, SJ, author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage
“Read from Bruce Feiler's The First Love Story and your eyes will be opened to love in all its messiness and mystery, struggles and sacredness, uncertainty and wonder. This book is filled with life affirming wisdom that is accessible, authentic, and profound. You will never think about Adam and Eve or love in the same way again”
Rabbi Irwin Kula, author of Yearnings