The Creation of Man and Woman: Interpretations of the Biblical Narratives in Jewish and Christian Traditions

The Creation of Man and Woman: Interpretations of the Biblical Narratives in Jewish and Christian Traditions

The Creation of Man and Woman: Interpretations of the Biblical Narratives in Jewish and Christian Traditions

The Creation of Man and Woman: Interpretations of the Biblical Narratives in Jewish and Christian Traditions

Synopsis

This volume deals with the three stories about the creation of man and woman in the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7; and 2:18-25) and with diverse interpretations of these narratives in Judaism and Christianity, particularly in ancient Jewish and Christian texts: Old Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Philo, the apostle Paul, Patristic, Rabbinic, and Gnostic texts. Other chapters are devoted to John Miltons recreation of Eve and Adam, to a psycho-analytical reconsideration of the biblical creation stories, and to divine creation as a model for human creation in theatre and other art forms.

Excerpt

In June, 1999, the yearly conference of the research group “Jewish and Christian Traditions” of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Groningen, was devoted to the narratives of the creation of man and woman in the first chapters of Genesis and to the various ways in which these stories are interpreted in Judaism and Christianity. The proceedings of the conference are contained in the present book, which is the third volume of the series Themes

in Biblical Narrative.

The opening chapter deals with the Genesis accounts in their broader textual and ancient Near Eastern contexts. Due attention is given by E. Noort to the issues of gender and sexual duality. J.N. Bremmer discusses ancient Greek conceptions of the origin of human beings, notably the lesser-known stories about the first female(s).

The following seven chapters deal with diverse early-Jewish and early-Christian interpretations of the ancient creation stories. J.T.A.G.M. van Ruiten examines in detail the interpretations and re-writings of the Genesis texts in Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, particularly in Tobit, Jubilees, 2 Enoch, and in the Sibylline Oracles. The interpretation given to the biblical texts by Philo of Alexandria—an interpretation which turned out to be very influential among Christian theologians of the first centuries—is the subject of an essay by A. van den Hoek. References to the great Jewish Hellenistic exegete and philosopher can be found in several other parts of this book as well. L.J. Lietaert Peerbolte analyses the manner in which the apostle Paul refers to the biblical creation stories in his discussion with Corinthian Christians. The Church Fathers were faced with the difficult task of reconciling their preference for celibacy with the positive view of marriage they found in the Genesis stories. Their various solutions are evaluated by H.S. Benjamins. Two chapters are dedicated to Jewish interpretations. L. Teugels discusses the hermeneutical problems the Rabbis encountered in their explanations of the creation narratives. In this connection, she also focuses on the figure of Lilith, the woman who, according to some later Jewish sources, was created before Eve. W.J. van Bekkum proceeds from the opposite perspective, drawing attention to Eve and the subsequent matriarchs as female . . .

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