Eve and Adam: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Readings on Genesis and Gender

Eve and Adam: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Readings on Genesis and Gender

Eve and Adam: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Readings on Genesis and Gender

Eve and Adam: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Readings on Genesis and Gender

Synopsis

This anthology surveys more than 2,000 years of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim commentary and debate on the biblical story that continues to raise questions about what it means to be a man or to be a woman.

Excerpt

Observers of American popular culture may recognize Genesis 1-3 as a text hotly defended by scientific creationists who want the “biblical account of creation” to be taught alongside evolutionary theories in the public schools. Long before Genesis 1-3 sparked debates about the teaching of science, however, interpreters were turning to—and arguing about—other foundational issues raised by the text. For centuries, the biblical account of creation has prompted readers to propose very different notions about what it means to be a man or to be a woman.

We discovered some of the historical uses of Genesis 1-3 independently from one another. Kris, a theologian, was writing a dissertation on Martin Luther’s view of women. Her broader study of scriptural interpretation and gender provided impetus for looking at the Qur’an and its use in shaping Muslim understandings of women. Linda, a biblical scholar, was teaching a class in Genesis. and Valarie, a specialist in American religious history, was examining the role that scripture and women’s ordination played in the 1987 removal of a Southern Baptist Church from the Shelby County Baptist Association in Memphis. As we shared our research with each other, we discovered that all of us were focusing on ways in which interpreters used the story of the first woman and man to justify the subordination of women to men or to argue for gender equality. the more we learned, the more we realized that Genesis 1-3 has for centuries been a pivotal text for defining the nature of maleness and femaleness.

In this book, we examine Genesis 1-3 and the ways that interpreters have . . .

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