The First Love Story: A Journey Through The Tangled Lives Of Adam And Eve by Bruce FeilerThe First Love Story: A Journey Through The Tangled Lives Of Adam And Eve by Bruce Feiler

The First Love Story: A Journey Through The Tangled Lives Of Adam And Eve

byBruce Feiler

Paperback | March 20, 2018

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An exploration of the way 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, Adam and Eve have stood at the center of every conversation about men and women. 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, Bruce Feiler travels from the Garden of Eden in Iraq to the Sistine Chapel in Rome, 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.
Bruce Feiler writes the “This Life” column for the Sunday New York Times and is the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers, including Walking the Bible, Abraham and The Secrets of Happy Families. He’s also the writer/presenter of the PBS series “Walking the Bible” and “Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler.”
Title:The First Love Story: A Journey Through The Tangled Lives Of Adam And EveFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:336 pages, 8.4 × 5.5 × 0.84 inShipping dimensions:8.4 × 5.5 × 0.84 inPublished:March 20, 2018Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1101980508

ISBN - 13:9781101980507


Bookclub Guide

1. Which aspects of Adam and Eve’s relationship would you want to emulate in your current relationships, both romantic and not? Which aspects do you not admire? 2. On page 110, Feiler writes, “look closely at the original story, what you find is a couple whose age, maturity, and locale are left purposefully vague, perhaps to increase their universality, who are struggling to figure out what it means to be live alongside each other.” How does this reworking of Adam and Eve affect the way you examine your own relationships? 3. Chapter 4 ends with Feiler’s illustration of Tevye and Golde from Fiddler on the Roof, as a couple whose twenty-five years of “chore-sharing” and mutual caretaking adds up to the kind of romantic love demonstrated by the first couple. Can that kind of relationship truly be duplicated in today’s non-traditional, egalitarian marriages where each individual has his or her own goals and ambitions?4. The question of time is often problematic with Adam and Eve. How old were they? How long were they actually in the garden? Do you think having answers to these questions would drastically change your view of the story? 5. What did chapter 7’s examination of Cain and Abel teach you about both parenting and loss? 6. Which chapter spoke the most to you? Which chapter did you grapple with the most? 7. Do you view Eve and her actions as feminist? Why or why not? 8. Review the Conclusion’s six “C’s”—Covenant, Connectedness, Counterbalance, Constancy, Care, Co-narration. Which of these do you value the most in your romantic relationships? 9. How do you think the story and Adam and Eve should be approached when explained to children? Did this book make you rethink that? 10. Bruce Feiler opens his book with a quote from Thomas Merton: “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone—we find it with another.” Has this been true in your life? Who in your life has helped you to find meaning? 11. Do the centuries of interpretations of Eve and her actions impact how women are viewed now? 12. Historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich famously wrote that “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” By writing this she was not only celebrating the contributions of rebellious women, but lamenting that the contributions of so many other women have been overlooked. Do you think Eve needed to eat the fruit in the Garden of Eden in order to make history? And what are some things that women have done in your life that have been overlooked? 13. In the Conclusion, Bruce Feiler describes the ways in which “lovers create a new story—a shared story—of their life together.” How has a loved one changed the way you tell the story of your life? Do you ever find yourself sharing your own invented language with a significant other? 14. Are there ways in which Adam and Eve’s story might provide guidance for not just our personal relationships but our society at large? What could our leaders learn from their story? 15. Did this book change or affect the way you approach your faith? 

Editorial Reviews

“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“Exhaustively researched, lyrically written.” —Washington Post“A fascinating treatise on the impact of Adam and Eve on human thought in the Western world.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch“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.”—The Rumpus “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.”—USA Today“This may be Feiler’s best work yet. A wonderfully readable, powerfully presented look into the influence of the original love.” —Publishers Weekly“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