For those who continue to better understand Paul’s remarks about Adam in Rom 5:12-21, and possibly his allusions to Adam and Eve in 1:18-25 and 7:7-24, let me recommend a helpful article: John R. Levison, “Adam and Eve in Romans 1.18-25 and the Greek Life of Adam and Eve.” New Testament Studies 50/4 (2004): 519-534. In this article Levison goes beyond the argument popularized by those like Morna Hooker, James D.G. Dunn, and N.T. Wright that there is as Wright notes “Adam-speculation” in this text (p. 522). Levison agrees with Dunn that Rom 1:18-25 is not straight exegesis of Gen 1-3, but rather Paul “entering into an already well-developed debate” regarding the “meaning” of Gen 1-3 (p. 520). Where he parts way is his use of the Greek Life of Adam and Eve (GLAE).

Now GLAE has been dated by some to be as late as the fifth century and as early as the first century. While Levison argues for an earlier date he does not suggest that Paul “extrapolates” from GLAE (p. 522). Rather, the traditions found in GLAE seem to show that Paul was engaged in the same discussions as the author of this document (p. 520). Levison argues that we should consider GLAE as a helpful source because it is the earliest narrative about Adam and Eve available to us other than Gen 1-5. It focuses upon important themes like the nature of sin, greed, and resurrection. Finally, it was evidently important and influential in the ancient world being that there are versions in Latin, Ethiopic, Armenian, and Georgian (p. 521)

Levison lists many parallels between Paul’s writings and GLAE—something worth pursuing further—but this article is limited to a study of Rom 1:18-25. This is my quick summarization of the parallels (to understand Levison’s argument the article itself must be read):

GLAE—Rom 1

allassein and metallassein

Loss of glory: GLAE: 20.2; 21.5

– Eve list virtue of justice, cf. 14.2

– Results in death, cf. Rom. 1.23

Glory for death:

GLAE 21.2 and burial scene in 39.1-3 w. Rom 1.18-23

Suppression of truth:

– Rom. 1.18 w. GLAE 21-22 (Eve’s oath), 23.3-5 (Adam’s lie)


– Adam loses it to God: GLAE 39 w. Rom 1.23-25

– Over animals: GLAE 24.3

– Exchange: GLAE 11.2

I think this may shed light of Rom 8:18-25 as well. It is quite interesting to see a narrative that explores Adam and Eve as falling from glory, which results in death, while losing their place as vice-regents over creation, especially the beasts of the world. These are ideas that seem to be present behind Paul’s argument in Rom 1 and 8.

If you want to read an older English translation of GLAE go here. If you observe any other parallels with Pauline thought let me know in the comments.