Arts > Unearthing the garden

08 September 2016 | by D.J. Taylor

Unearthing the garden


Who was Paul Howard-Jones, you wondered, as the first of In Search of Eden’s five episodes (5-9 September) broke upon the airwaves with a sonorous recitation from the Book of Genesis? A theologian? An anthropologist? In fact, the presenter of this nicely inquisitive series turned out to be professor of neuroscience at the University of Bristol, a man determined to, as he put it, make “a programme about knowledge … and what it’s done to us”.

What knowledge had done to Professor Howard-Jones could be traced back to first hearing about Adam and Eve’s difficulties from the pulpit of his clerical father’s Herefordshire parish church. Curiosity further piqued by some early chemical experiments (“It did indeed begin with the chemistry set,” the Revd Howard-Jones gamely recalled), he became absorbed by what seemed to be the great Edenic lesson – that information, once acquired, was irreversible.


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