Bible and Western Culture
Mr. Sean Ross
Week 2, Class 1: Adam and Eve: The Bible Gender
The Bible offers two creation accounts:
• 1 Creation Account
o God made human beings, male and female.
• 2 Creation account: Genesis 2:4‐3:24
o God made Adam (male), then made him a female companion.
Adam/Christ are mirror images:
• Christ was foreshadowed by Adam:
o Adam brought sin to the people.
o Christ was a savior.
• Art: Common motif is juxtaposition of Christ’s cross with the tree from which Adam & Eve
eat the fruit.
o Tree brought death, Cross (kind of a tree) brought life.
o Eve brings apples, Mary brings communion Toast.
Eating the apple:
o Adam's disobedience is the cause for latter sin and death.
o However, Eve is the one who's blamed.
Should she really be the one to blame for humanity's fall?
Are women thus weaker?
Should they be subservient to men?
o Women came second to man, picked fruit first (was deceived)
o Adam's guilt is largely erased, Eve is left to blame
o Eve is supposed to have/raise children to "save herself"
Eve & Pandora
• Pandora is to blame for humanity's struggle.
o Eve is to blame for the fall from Eden
o Women are to blame for men's unhappiness.
• Men cannot avoid the temptation of women; women cannot avoid the temptation of the
o All women are inherently evil.
Two meanings of Adam's left rib:
• Early in the text:
o Women come from Adam's left rib.
o Left is close to heart.
o Eve comes from the heart, by Adam's side as a partner.
o Positive message.
o Left means sinister.
o After the fall of Adam, rib signifies Eve's evil.
She came from a crooked rib.
She was crooked from the beginning.
This metaphor is found elsewhere as well:
• "Witches Hammer": Used by authorities to seek out and destroy suspected witches.
o Women came from a crooked rib.
She is opposite to man
• Carnal Nature emphasized as Eve takes the fruit from the Snake's mouth.
o Adam is passive, not involved.
• Occasionally, Adam and Eve play equal parts.
o Snake may be shown as a woman to emphasize their evil.
• Latter the snake is portrayed as Satan.
• Subtle accent in painting:
o Cat about to pounce on mouse
o Eve about to deceive Adam.
• Titian painting: Adam pushes Eve away.
• Tintoretto: Adam is obscured, in the shadow.
o Eve is put at the center of focus.
Recurring Theme: Women use sexuality to manipulate men.
The Lady Eve:
• Complex plot line, Adam and Eve Imagery.
• Eve is a con artist who lures unsuspecting men.
Et Dieu Crea La Femme:
• Men think they control a woman, in reality, she controls them.
o Juliet's purpose was to destroy men.
Adam & Eve Lingerie Bible:
• Eve's punishment
o Eve wants sex, but it gives her children, and childbirth is painful.
• Eating the forbidden fruit is later seen as a sexual metaphor.
o Sexuality is thus viewed in a negative light, fall of humanity, defamation.
• Thought Adam & Eve had sex in the Garden of Eden.
o It was not tied in with pleasure or desire.
o It was functional, not “bad”.
• After it becomes lustful, loses its positive associations.
o Agustin said Adam could control erections, which he lost after the fall.
o Sexual desire is thus a punishment.
o Marriage is an antidote to sexual desire.
Nowadays, advertises talk about temptation as "good":
• Poison is tempting, it’s ok to be "bad".
• Perfume, cigarettes, alcohol, viagra, condoms, sex toys.
o Items associated with Vice are advertised using biblical Adam & Eve imagery.
o Replaced newton apple in the old logo with Eve's Apple:
Symbol of lust and knowledge, hope and anarchy.
• Adam's Rib.
o A different portrayal, positive association.
o About a modern couple. Opens the debate about equality.
Week 2, The Primeval History
Theme of exile and restoration
• Garden vs Wilderness
• Promised Land vs Egypt/Babylon
• How human populations arose from the first two humans.
• Evolution of human race, but lesser relationship to god.
• Scenes of human degradation.
o God is angry at humanity.
Cain & Abel
• Cain is the first "regular" human, and the first to commit murder.
• Marks the starting point of humanity noted for its degradation.
• New Creation with Noah.
Decline returns: Tower of Babel
• Humanity has a tendency to disappoint god.
Bible has many stories lacking in detail/context.
• How to understand/make sense of these?
o Interpret as allegory.
o Recount with added detail.
Why does God reject Cain's sacrifice?
• Common explanation in early Judaism:
o Cain is evil from birth, a product of evil.
o Cain was the offspring of the serpent in the Garden of Eden.
Cain is semi‐human
An added mythological layer.
• Cain becomes a new source of evil in humanity.
o Especially evil people are the offspring of Cain. Ex: B