Women in Genesis

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Interpretation is everything when it comes to identifying a text. Readings of one verse "may vary, when in fact they regularly do much more - at times they clearly oppose or contradict each other." 1 Within the book of Genesis we encounter opposition and contradiction in every verse depending on a variety of factors. "...Religious or theological persuasions, or one's place in history, society and culture" 2 can sway or change an interpretation of text. This being said, the popular and widely accepted interpretations are the ones affecting women and our population in general. The Bible is widely distributed and acknowledged, Genesis is known throughout the world and its social order. Even more so, the creation story is famous, it is mentioned in films, books, school and much more. The interpretation of this story is still additionally accepted, everyone knows the story of the apple and Eve. The impact this one story has on the institution of patriarchy, Phyllis Bird has a good representation : "A hierarchy of order is introduced into the relationship of the primal pair. Mutuality is replaced by rule. Patriarchy is inaugurated. . . . The rule of man over the woman, as announced in Genesis 3:16, is the Bible's first statement of hierarchy within the species." 3 The potential for this verse to be used for oppressive should not be underestimated. Eve and Lilith, the women of Genesis are sexualized, sin ridden and seen as antagonists within the creation story. Let us see how the interpretation of this take has created societal norms for gender roles.

1 Joel N. Lohr, "Sexual Desire? Eve, Genesis 3:16 and Desire," Journal of Biblical Literature, 2, no. 130 (2011): 227-246. 2 Joel N. Lohr, "Sexual Desire? Eve, Genesis 3:16 and Desire," Journal of Biblical Literature, 2, no. 130 (2011): 227-246. 3 Bird, "Bone of My Bone and Flesh of My Flesh," ThTo 50 (1994): 527.

Eve is "second" first woman in the creation story and has a somewhat tarnished reputation in traditional circles. Modern Jewish women are attempting to present Eve in a more positive light. However it seems that Eve's reputation precedes her. Eve has immense meaning and connotations attached to her. She is one of the most well known female characters from the Bible, and is prevalent within society. In many ways, the biblical character of Eve in not relatable to the modern women. "Considered an afterthought, a female derivative of the male first human, she is perceived as less admirable than her non-biblical "predecessor," the demon Lilith". 4 Eve readily accepted a acquiescent position and tempted her male companion into violating the divine command not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad. The image of Eve as deceiving temptress has been dominant in western culture from its inception to the present. 5 Eve must be understood in the larger context. She is branded as yearning for sexual intimacy, unbridled sexual desire and lusts. Perhaps we are dealing not so much with desire as with dependency. Eve requires a cohabitation, that must be understood in the larger context of the man and the woman losing the original union and equal bond in Genesis. There are a plethora of interpretations surrounding Eve. Her situation becomes more complex as we look into more interpretations and opinions. We must note that the modern Jewish women are looking to Eve as positive and independent. 4 Anne Lapidus Lerner, "Back to the Beginning: An Exploration of the Roles Played by Eve and the Garden of Eden in Modern Poetry by Jewish Women," Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues, 19 (2010): 9-31, 10.1353/nsh.0.0074 (accessed February 15, 2013) 5 Anne Lapidus Lerner, "Back to the Beginning: An Exploration of the Roles Played by Eve and the Garden of Eden in Modern Poetry by Jewish Women," Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues, 19 (2010): 9-31, 10.1353/nsh.0.0074 (accessed February 15, 2013)

Eve has created this...
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