- In the Bible, Cain and Abel are two sons of Adam and Eve. The Qur'an mentions the story, calling them the two sons of Adam.
Cain is described as a crop farmer and his younger brother Abel as a shepherd. Genesis 4:2 Cain is portrayed as sinful, committing the first murder by killing his brother, after God rejected his offerings of produce but accepted Abel's sacrifice "from the firstborn of his flock and from their fats".Genesis 4:1,3 Thus, Cain was the first human born, and Abel the first to die.
The oldest known copy of the Biblical narration is from the 1st century Dead Sea Scrolls. Cain and Abel also appear in a number of other texts, and the story is the subject of various interpretations. Abel, the first murder victim, is sometimes seen as the first martyr; while Cain, the first murderer, is sometimes seen as an ancestor of evil. A few scholars suggest the pericope may have been based on a Sumerian story representing the conflict between nomadic shepherds and settled farmers. Others think that it may refer to the days in which agriculture began to replace the ways of the hunter-gatherer.
Allusions to Cain and Abel as an archetype of fratricide persist in numerous references and retellings, through medieval art and Shakespearean works up to present day fiction.
Some Jewish traditions hold Cain to have been fathered by the serpent from the Garden of Eden.
- Cain and Abel
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