Paradise

By: Mike Spasoff

According to Jeffrey Eugenides, the word “paradise” originates from the phrase “walled garden” in Arabic. It comes up in a piece of dialogue uttered by the brilliant and manic depressive Leopold in one of his moody states. What he needs is the curative affect of nature, but an ordered nature.

Unfortunately, a quick perusal on Wikipedia reveals that paradise does not literally (perhaps figuratively) mean “walled garden,” nor does it originate from Arabic. The concept of the walled garden as paradise refers more to the Garden of Eden, than some idea of the inherent mind-boggling wonderfulness of gardens.

The word “paradise” entered English from the French paradis, inherited from the Latin paradisus, from Greek parádeisos (παράδεισος), and ultimately from an Old Iranian root, attested in Avestan as pairi.daêza-.[1] The literal meaning of this Eastern Old Iranian language word is “walled (enclosure)”,[1] from pairi- “around” + -diz “to create (a wall)”.[2] The word is not attested in other Old Iranian languages (these may however be hypothetically reconstructed, for example as Old Persian *paridayda-).… Read more »

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