PARADISE (par'a-dis), (Gr. rapdoetcros, ei-sos; from Heb. :'.'.17,fiar-dace., rendered "forest," 13), the term which by long and extensive use has been employed to designate the Garden of Eden, the first dwelling place of human beings.
(1) Early Use of Term. Of this word paradeisos, the earliest instance that we have is in the Cyroperdia and other writings of Xeno phon, nearly goo years before Christ; but his use of it has that appearance of ease and famil iarity which leads us to suppose that it was current among his countrymen. We find it also used by Plutarch, who lived in the first and sec ond century of our era. It was by those authors evidently employed to signify an extensive plot of ground, enclosed with a strong fence or wall, abounding in trees, shrubs, plants, and garden culture, and in which choice animals were kept in different ways of restraint or freedom, according as they were ferocious or peaceable; thus answer ing very closely to our English word park, with the addition of gardens, a menagerie, and an aviary.
From its original meaning the term came to be used as a metaphor for the abstract idea of ex-• quisite delight, was transferred still higher to de note the happiness of the righteous in the future state. The origin of this application must be as signed to the Jews of the middle period between the Old and the New Testament. In the Chal dee Targums, 'the Garden of Eden' is but as the exposition of heavenly blessedness (Ps. xc. 17, and other places). The Talmudical writings, cited by the elder Buxtorf (Lex. Chald. et Talm., p. 18o2), and John James Wetstein (Neva Testa ment Greek, vol. i, p. 8t9), contain frequent ref erences to Paradise as the immortal heaven, to which the spirits of the just are admitted immedi ately upon the liberation from the body. The book Sohar speaks of an earthly and a heavenly Paradise, of which the latter excels the former 'as much as darkness does light.' (Schoetgen. Hor. Nebr. vol. i. p. to96.) Hence we see that it was in the acceptation of the current Jewish phraseology that the expres sion was used by our Lord and the Apostles: 'To-day thou shalt be with me in Paradise ;"He was caught up into Paradise ;"The tree of life, which is in the Paradise of my God' (Luke xxiii: 4 3 ; 2 Cor. xii:4; Rev. ii:7)• (2) Eden is the most ancient and venerable name in geography, the name of the first district of the earth's surface of which human beings could have any knowledge. All that is related about it goes to show that Eden was a tract of country; and that in the most eligible part of it was the Paradise, the garden of all delights, in which the Creator was pleased to place his new and pre-eminent creature with the inferior beings for his sustenance and solace.
(3) Conjectures Concerning Location of Eden. (a) Upon the question of its exact geo graphical position dissertations innumerable have been written. Many authors have given descrip tive lists of them, with arguments for and against each. The most convenient presentation of their respective outlines has been reduced to a tabu lated form, with ample illustrations, by the Rev.
N. Morren, annexed to his Translation of the younger Rosenintiller's Biblical Geography of Central rlsia, pp. 91-98; Edinb, 1836. He reduces them to nine principal theories. But the fact is that not one of them answers to all the condi tions of the problem. We more than doubt the possibility of finding any locality that will do so.
(b) That Phrat is the Euphrates, and Hiddeke, theTigris, isagreed, with scarcely an exception ; but in determining the two other rivers,greatdiversity of opinion exists ; and, to our apprehension, satis faction is and must remain unattainable, from the impossibility of making thc evidence to cohere in all its parts. It hasbeen remarked that this difficulty might have been expected, and is obviously prob able, from the geological changes that may have taken place, and especially in connection with the Deluge. This remark would not bc applicable to the extent that is necessary for the argument, except upon the supposition before mentioned, that the earlier parts of the book of Genesis con sist of primeval documents, even antediluvian, and that this is one of them. There is reason to think that since the Deluge the face of the coun try cannot have undergone any change approach ing to what the hypothesis of a postdiluvian com position would require. But we think it highly probable that the principal of the immediate causes of the Deluge. the 'breaking up of the foun tains of the great deep.' was a subsidence of a large part or parts of the land between the in habited tract (which we humbly venture to place in east longtitude from Greenwich. 3o° to 9o° and north latitude 25° to 4o°) and the sea which lay to the south; or an elevation of the bed of that sea. (See DELUGE.) (c) Either of these occurrences, produced by volcanic causes, or both of them conjointly or successively-, would be adequate to the production of the awful Deluge, and the return of the waters would be effected by an elevation of some part of the district which had been submerged; and that part could scarcely fail to be charged with animal remains. The geological researches of Dr. Falconer and Captain Cautley have brought to light bones, more or less mineralized, of thc gi raffe (camelopardalis), in the Sewalik range of hills, v,,hich seems to be a branch of the Himalayas, westward of the river Jumna. But the giraffe is not an animal that can live in a mountainous region, or even on the skirts of such a region; its subsist ence and its safety require 'an open country and broad plains to roam over.' (Falconer and Cant ley, in Proceed. Geol. Soc., Nov. is, 1843). The present position, therefore, of these fossil remains —'of almost every large pachydermatous genus, such as the elephant, mastodon, rhinoceros, hip popotamus, sus (swine), horse, etc.,' also deer and oxen—lodged in ravines and vales among the peaks, at vast elevations, leads to the suppo sition of a late elevation of extensive plains.