As regards extra-biblical sources which throw light upon the Old Testament narrative, it is well known that the Hebrew account of the Creation finds a parallel in the Babylonian tradition as revealed by the cuneiform writings. It is beyond the scope of the present article to discuss the relations of historical dependence generally admitted to exist between the two cosmogonies. Suffice it to say with regard to the origin of man, that though the fragment of the "Creation Epic", which is supposed to contain it, has not been found, there are nevertheless good independent grounds for assuming that it belonged originally to the tradition embodied in the poem, and that it must have occupied a place in the latter just after the account given of the production of the plants and the animals, as in the first chapter of Genesis. Among the reasons for this assumption are: (a) the Divine admonitions addressed to men after their creation, towards the end of the poem; (b) the account of Berosus, who mentions the creation of man by one of the gods, who mixed with clay the blood which flowed from the severed head of Tiamat; (c) a non-Semitic (or pre-Semitic) account translated by Pinches from a bilingual text, and in which Marduk is said to have made mankind, with the cooperation of the goddess Aruru. (Cf. "Encyclopedia Biblica", art. "Creation", also Davis, "Genesis and Semitic Tradition", pp. 36–47.) As regards the creation of Eve, no parallel has so far been discovered among the fragmentary records of the Babylonian creation story. That the account, as it stands in Genesis, is not to be taken literally as descriptive of historic fact was the opinion of Origen, of Cajetan, and it is now maintained by such scholars as Hoberg (Die Genesis, Freiburg, 1899, p. 36) and von Hummelauer (Comm. in Genesim, pp. 149 sqq.). These and other writers see in this narrative the record of a vision symbolical of the future and analogous to the one vouchsafed to Abraham (Gen., xv, 12 sqq.), and to St. Peter in Joppe (Acts, x, 10 sqq.). (See Gigot, Special Introduction to the Study of the Old Testament, pt. I, p. 165, sqq.)
References to Adam as an individual in the later Old Testament books are very few, and they add nothing to the information contained in Genesis. Thus the name stands without comment at the head of the genealogies at the beginning of I Paralipomenon; it is mentioned likewise in Tobias, viii, 8; Osee, vi, 7; Ecclus., xxxv, 24, etc. The Hebrew word adam occurs in various other passages, but in the sense of man or mankind. The mention of Adam in Zacharias, xiii, 5, according to the Douay version and the Vulgate, is due to a mistranslation of the original.
Adam in the new Testament.—In the New Testament references to Adam as an historical personage occur only in a few passages. Thus in the third chapter of St. Luke's Gospel the genealogy of the Saviour is traced back to "Adam who was of God". This prolongation of the earthly lineage of Jesus beyond Abraham, who forms the starting point in St. Matthew, is doubtless due to the more universal spirit and sympathy characteristic of our third Evangelist, who writes not so much from the viewpoint of Jewish prophecy and expectation as for the instruction of the Gentile recruits to Christianity. Another mention of the historic father of the race is found in the Epistle of Jude (verse 14), where a quotation is inserted from the apocryphal Book of Enoch, which, rather strange to say, is attributed to the antediluvian patriarch of that name, "the seventh from Adam." But the most important references to Adam are found in the Epistles of St. Paul. Thus in I Tim., ii, 11–14, the Apostle, after laying down certain practical rules referring to the conduct of women, particularly as regards public worship, and inculcating the duty of subordination to the other sex, makes use of an argument the weight of which rests more upon the logical methods current at the time than upon its intrinsic value as appreciated by the modern mind: "For Adam was first formed; then Eve. And Adam was not seduced; but the woman being seduced, was in the transgression." A similar line of argument is pursued in I Cor., xi, 8, 9. More important is the theological doctrine formulated by St. Paul in the Epistle to the Romans, v, 12–21, and in I Cor., xv, 22–45. In the latter passage Jesus Christ is called by analogy and contrast the new or "last Adam." This is understood in the sense that as the original Adam was the head of all mankind, the father of all according to the flesh, so also Jesus Christ was constituted chief and head of the spiritual family of the elect, and potentially of all mankind, since all are invited to partake of His salvation. Thus the first Adam is a type of the second, but while the former transmits to his progeny a legacy of death, the latter, on the contrary, becomes the vivifying principle of restored righteousness. Christ is the "last Adam" inasmuch as "there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts, iv, 12); no other chief or father of the race is to be expected. Both the first and the second Adam occupy the position of head with regard to humanity, but whereas the first through his disobedience vitiated, as it were, in himself the stirps of the entire race, and left to his posterity an inheritance of death, sin, and misery, the other through his obedience merits for all those who become his members a new life of holiness and an everlasting reward. It may be said that the contrast thus formulated expresses a fundamental tenet of the Christian religion and embodies in a nutshell the entire doctrine of the economy of salvation. It is principally on these and passages of similar import (e.g. Matt., xviii, 11) that is based the fundamental doctrine that our first parents were raised by the Creator to a state of supernatural righteousness, the restoration of which was the object of the Incarnation. It need hardly be said that the fact of this elevation could not be so clearly inferred from the Old Testament account taken independently.
Adam in Jewish and Christian Tradition.—It is a well-known fact that, partly from a desire to satisfy pious curiosity by adding details to the too meagre biblical accounts, and partly with ethical intent, there grew up in later Jewish as well as in early Christian and Mohammedan tradition a luxuriant crop of legendary lore around the names of all the important personages of the Old Testament. It was therefore only natural that the story of Adam and Eve should receive special attention and be largely developed by this process of embellishment. These additions, some of which are extravagant and puerile, are chiefly imaginary, or at best based on a fanciful understanding of some slight detail of the sacred narrative. Needless to say that they do not embody any real historic information, and their chief utility is to afford an example of the pious popular credulity of the times as well as of the slight value to be attached to the so-called Jewish traditions when they are invoked as an argument in critical discussion. Many rabbinical legends concerning our first parents are found in the Talmud, and many others were contained in the apocryphal Book of Adam now lost, but of which extracts have come down to us in other works of a similar character (see Man). The most important of these legends, which it is not the scope of the present article to reproduce, may be found in the "Jewish Encyclopedia", I, art. "Adam", and as regards the Christian legends, in Smith and Wace, "Dictionary of Christian Biography", s.v.