© Hildesheim, St Godehard |
This is a splendid composition in which the rigid demarcation of space
created by the tree is resolved into a deadly circle of sin by the participants.
Satan, in the form of the fallen angel Lucifer, spews out the snake who
gives the apple to Eve. She, facing the cause of her downfall, passes
the apple to Adam who receives it with one hand and eats it with the other.
This is a form of continuous narrative, compressing several separate dramatic
moments into one scene.
Lucifer sending an emissary to perform the evil deed is an Anglo-Saxon
feature, illustrated in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Junius 11, p20 (the
Caedmon Genesis). In the Anglo-Norman play Le Mystère d’Adam,
written in the mid-12th century, Diabolus himself enacts the temptation
while the apple is only passed to Eve by the serpent after he has left
the stage (Studer, 1949, xxii; AP, 57, pl 108).
Adam and Eve, seated beside the tree instead of standing, are also shown
in Caedmon’s Genesis. In that example their position signifies penitence
and dejection after the Fall.
First page of quire 2.
Thread or stitch holes for protective curtain