Genesis and Gender: Biblical Myths of Sexuality and Their Cultural Impact

By William E. Phipps | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
Eve and Pandora

The Hebrew myth of Eve and the Greek myth of Pandora have had profound impact on Western civilization because they allegedly reveal woman's true nature. Scholarly studies as well as popular treatments have generally presumed that both myths aim at alerting men to feminine evil. 1 Theologian J. E. Bruno holds that the myths are two versions of the same story of the first woman. 2 Agreeing with this assessment, classicist Walter Headlam asserts that both myths portray woman as a divine "afterthought" and, in Hesiod's words, "a curse and a bane." 3 According to Frederick Teggart, the pattern of both myths is the same: "First, a state of bliss; second, the mischievous activity of the woman; third, a description of evils. Consequently, it might reasonably be inferred that Hesiod, the Greek who wrote of Pandora, used a variant of a narrative that was also utilized in the story of the Garden of Eden." 4

Contrary to the prevailing opinion, a close examination of Eve and Pandora in their original text shows them to be quite dissimilar. Our lack of awareness of this difference has been due to interpreters throughout Western civilization who have unwittingly attempted to combine these two myths. In what follows, the earliest written expressions of the independent myths will be examined. Then the way in which Eve has been transformed to resemble Pandora will be traced.

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Genesis and Gender: Biblical Myths of Sexuality and Their Cultural Impact
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction: the Purpose of Myths xi
  • Chapter 1 Androgyny in Myths 1
  • Chapter 2 A Bone of Contention 19
  • Chapter 3 Eve and Pandora 37
  • Chapter 4 The Fall and Woman 51
  • Chapter 5 Jesus and Creation 67
  • Chapter 6 Paradise Continued 87
  • Notes 103
  • Selected Bibliography 121
  • Index 123
  • About the Author 127
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