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Stephen Greenblatt – Irresistible Fictions – Think Again – a Big Think Podcast #118

Spontaneous talk on surprise topics. Humanities scholar Stephen Greenblatt on one particular story that just won’t let us go. 

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“Augustine knew perfectly well as a fantastically sophisticated hyperintellectual that a story about a naked man and woman and a talking snake and magical trees was not easy to get your head around as the literal truth.”  – Stephen Greenblatt

An ancient, one-and-a-half-page-story that just won’t let us go. Humanities scholar Stephen Greenblatt and host Jason Gots discuss how Adam and Eve have shaped and been shaped by Western art, culture, and science, in this, Big Think‘s latest brain-fertilizing podcast. 

Greenblatt is the Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, General Editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature and the author of thirteen books, including the Pulitzer prize-winning The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. His latest, The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve, traces the cultural history of that most primal of stories about a man, a woman, God, and a snake. It’s a couple thousand years old and only about two pages long, but it’s still exerting a powerful cultural influence today.

Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode: Salman Rushdie on recent white supremacist clashes in America and Virginia Heffernan: The Internet is not a neurotoxin

About Think Again – A Big Think Podcast: Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview archives.

You’ve got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we’re pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think’s interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.




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