Biblical Archaeology Review 34:5, September/October 2008

Strata: Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons?

While it may seem like a trivial question, artists and theologians have been debating the appearance of Adam and Eve’s midriffs for centuries. Some theologians claim that Adam and Eve did not have navels since they were not born of a woman. Others argue that since Adam and Eve were the perfect models of humankind, God would have created them with navels. Most artists, especially after the Renaissance, chose to depict Adam and Eve with navels because they looked unnatural without them, but a few painters—including 16th-century Dutch artist Jan van Scorel in his Adam and Eve in Paradise—selected the former interpretation and depicted the Biblical pair as smooth-stomached progenitors.

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