Everyday Eves

What Biblical womanhood looked like


When it comes to Biblical interpretation and emulation, the figure of Eve has been controversial, misunderstood and used for various purposes. The life of the Everyday Eve was very different from those presented in the Biblical narrative. This late fifth–early sixth-century marble and stone mosaic is inscribed in Greek: “And he ate, and they were made naked” (Genesis 3:7). The mosaic fragment, which comes from a church floor in northern Syria, is now in the Cleveland Museum of Art. Photo: Courtesy Scazon/Flickr under CC by 2.0.

People of faith have long wanted to lead Biblically based lives. This naturally flows into an attempt to determine what it means to be an “Everyday Eve.” There are a plethora of interpretations and understandings regarding what Biblical womanhood is and what it looks like. Rachel Held Evans recently spent a whole year trying to live by the rules that governed Biblical womanhood and wrote a book about the experience. The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood maintains an active website and attempts to provide definitive definitions of these phrases. However, what one notices even between these two examples is a vastly difference understanding of the phrase Biblical womanhood. Those who wish to gain insight into Biblical womanhood often begin with the Bible and with the character Eve, as she is the first woman, wife and mother.

While most turn to Scripture to find Biblical womanhood, this is not an easy task. As Carol L. Meyers points out in “‘Eves’ of Everyday Ancient Israel” in the November/December 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, women are significantly underrepresented in the Bible, and thus very little of their lives can be gleaned from the material.

Beyond the sheer lack of literary material, the other challenge that people face when trying to gain a Biblical understanding of womanhood is one of hermeneutics, or, simply put, the strategy one uses for interpreting a text. It has become clear that the readers’ presuppositions affect the meanings that they derive from the narratives. For example, through many periods of history, male superiority was an understood norm. Thus interpreters from this period argued that women should be seen as subordinate to men because the first woman was created out of the first man. However, Phyllis Trible famously demonstrated the fallacy inherent in this logic when she pointed out that the first man was made from dirt and thus would be subordinate to mud (see “If the Bible’s So Patriarchal, How Come I love It?” in Bible Review, October 1992).

As the point where three of the world’s major religions converge, Israel’s history is one of the richest and most complex in the world. Sift through the archaeology and history of this ancient land in the free eBook Israel: An Archaeological Journey, and get a view of these significant Biblical sites through an archaeologist’s lens.

Perhaps even more challenging for the average reader is the translation effect that occurs within the Biblical text. Most often in North America the Bible is being read in translation and the readers do not know Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. This has also come into play when trying to understand how to be an Everyday Eve. In Genesis 2, God says that Eve is to be a “helper” to Adam. In English, “helper” tends to be subsidiary or even subordinate. Yet the Hebrew word—ozr—contains none of that connotation—and in fact, the word is used mostly of God. If one were to assign a subordinate role to Biblical womanhood because of this designation as a “helper,” that person would actually be adding something to the text that is not there and at the same time would be missing the important attribute that is present.

Does this mean that attempting to determine the Biblical approach to something is fruitless? No. It does mean that one needs to have a certain amount of self-awareness and an eye for the details within the text. In addition, there are other avenues of exploration available. We have texts from other ancient cultures that can help round out a reader’s view of the ancient world, and we also have the archaeological record, which is particularly important when trying to better understand daily life in ancient Israel. The women that do appear in the Biblical text are the extraordinary and the exceptional (not always for a good reason), and because of this, they might not provide the best insight into the Everyday Eve.

For more on what daily life would have been like for the average Israelite woman, read the full article “‘Eves’ of Everyday Ancient Israel” by Carol L. Meyers in the November/December 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.


BAS Library Members: Read “‘Eves’ of Everyday Ancient Israel” by Carol L. Meyers as it appeared in the November/December 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.

This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on October 20, 2014.

ellen-whiteEllen White, Ph.D. (Hebrew Bible, University of St. Michael’s College), is senior editor at the Biblical Archaeology Society. She has taught at five universities across the U.S. and Canada and spent research leaves in Germany and Romania. She has also been actively involved in digs at various sites in Israel.


Related reading in Bible History Daily:

The Creation of Woman in the Bible

Daily Life in Ancient Israel

Gender in Archaeology at Abel Beth Maacah

Examining the Lives of Ancient Egyptian Women


Related reading in the BAS Library:

Ingrid D. Rowland, “Etruscan Women—Dignified, Charming, Literate and Free,” Archaeology Odyssey, May/June 2004.

Tal Ilan, “How Women Differed,” Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 1998.


49 Responses

  1. Daniel says:

    What about Adam Eve and Lilith

  2. mr noodles says:

    subordinate to mud?what can mud tell you to do,is mud a is subordinate to God because He made us which shows her view is illogical and is a

  3. Philip Iyakwari says:

    Iam persuaded

  4. Paul Ballotta says:

    A correction in my previous comment (#3) concerning the adamah/ground in Genesis 2:7 as being composed of previous cultures; in the excerpt that I have from “The Qabbala Trilogy” by Carlos Suarez it says (in Cipher Genesis):
    “This so-called ‘dust’ (symbolic of crumbled rocklike rigidity) leads us by means of its letter-numbers to the realization that ‘Eretz’ is not only the Earth. This schema stands for all cosmic bodies and for every aspect of their components, from their simplest chemical elements up to their highest biological aggregates.” Elsewhere it says:
    “Here an Adam is created who is in contact with the powerful movement of the Universe, and in whom every possibility is latent.” Concerning Eve and the Biblical Matriarchs it says:
    “The theme of the necessary transformation of the feminine is very important in the Bible … All these [biblical matriarchs] are symbolical personifications of what women must learn to become. It is unfortunate that inadequate translations have prevented women from grasping the truth concerning themselves as is set forth in the Book of Genesis. Thus women allow themselves to be misled into allowing the male – in such fatuous roles as high priest of racism waving the Bible, or some head of state invoking divine vengeance in a ‘holy war’ – to exert every possible pressure to persuade all humankind that ‘God’ is a ‘He’, with ‘his’ code of morals, ‘his’ wars, etc., etc.”

  5. Brother Obadiah says:

    My Dear Sister Ellen White, Ph.D. in Yahushua,
    Sabbath greetings to you on the highly exalted name
    of our Yahweh.
    I am Elohim that He has privileged me to approach
    you for your kind interference in our Samajamandhir.
    For your kind information, I introduce myself as I am
    Obadiah a Resident of in India. Being an independent
    Sunagogu, I have been doing His service to
    ignite the sparks of Sabbath faith in every heart. I
    committed to divert the mindset of people from
    idolatry and prepared to save them from the clutches
    of vain practices and superstitions and present
    everyone perfect before our savior. Regarding our
    Indian country; The total population of India is
    1,028,610,328. The Christian population is
    24,080,060. Out of total Indian population only 2.34%
    are Christians; meanwhile, out of our Christian
    population only 0.5 are Sabbath followers.
    My cons fat is plan the Sabbath following Sunagogu
    and to preach un-reached and to turn to Yahweh ,
    restore back sliders and strengthen them to walk in
    the foot prints of their savior of Elohim .Our Goal
    is to reach entire all our state of Andhra Pradesh
    and plant the Sabbath Sunagogu. We are in the need of
    leadership and guidance. We are praying for any kind
    of assistance. Kindly pray for our Samajamandhir and
    extend your kind encouragements. If you are inspired
    by our Yahweh, could you please pray to be a part of
    this powerful
    move of Elohim to come grow with us at our Sunagogu
    .Please convey my personal regards to all your
    ministerial workers. Let me hear your kind news soon.
    Yours Brother in Yahweh
    Brother Obadiah.
    PS: if you want more information regarding my
    Samanjamandir I can send you for your kind
    observation and prayers.

  6. Paul Ballotta says:

    The most accurate translation I’ve found regarding this portion is from the “New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures,” the preferred beverage of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
    11 “It was then Yahweh’s people made their way down to the gates.”
    12 “Awake, awake, O Deborah, awake, awake, utter a song! Rise up, Barak, and lead your captives away, you son of Abinoam!”
    13 “It was then the survivors came down to the majestic ones.”

  7. Paul Ballotta says:

    Pitiful, isn’t it, that I incorrectly corrected myself?

  8. Paul Ballotta says:

    Correction; “It was then that the survivors made their way down to the gates” (Judges 5:11).

  9. Paul Ballotta says:

    The Song of Deborah in Judges 5 is considered archaic like the songs of Moses and Miriam in Exodus 15. The reference to the “Taanach by the waters of Megiddo” (Judges 5:19) is interesting because we have the Asherah cult stand from Taanach that is dated to the 10th century B.C.E. On the top tier of this stand is the representation of what is thought to be a horse between two pillars with a winged sun-disk riding on its back
    “The juxtaposition of horse, sun and pillars recalls an incident in the Bible involving Josiah, the reform-minded king of Judah who sought to purge the Temple of pagan practices. ‘He [Josiah] removed the horses that the kings of Judah dedicated to the sun, at the entrance to the house of the Lord [Jerusalem Temple] …; and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire’ (2 Kings 23:11)” (BAR, May/June 1994, p.58).:
    Forrest Reinhold, in “Hurrian Hebrews; Ea As Yahweh,” mentions that the references to Hittites, Horites and Hivites in the Old Testament may refer to Hurrians and that this is corroborated by the appearance of Hurrian personal names in cuneiform, mostly from Taanach (p.5).
    The Hurrians comprised the Mitanni Empire in the Habor River region where the Patriarchs originated from and they were dominated by a ruling class of Indo-Europeans with cultural ties to India. The Hindu sun god Surya rode a chariot and it is likely that this name is akin to the Hurrian word “Surriya” which means lord which they in turn, borrowed from the Sumerian “sarri” or king, from which the Matriarch Sarah’s name is derived.
    If you look at Judges 5:12 in which Deborah awakens and Barak arises, it is flanked by pillars on either side, the verses before and after. In verse 11 it says; “It was then Yahweh’s made their way down to the gates.” The Hebrew word for gates contains the root word “sarri.” In verse 13 it says; “It was then that the survivors came down to the majestic ones.” The Hebrew for survivors also contains the root word “sarri.” Notice how the word “majestic” describes the bowl that Jael gives to Sisera in verse 25, full of milk, invoking the preferred drink of the Maryannu ruling class called Soma in the Veda texts.Don’t forget the fact that the Israelites “went down to the gates” and they “went down to the majestic ones; Yahweh’s people came down to me against the mighty ones,” as if they had been eight miles high.

  10. Paul Ballotta says:

    That is, the March/April 2008 issue of BAR, by William G. Dever.

  11. Paul Ballotta says:

    Correction; It is Genesis 2:18 that makes reference to the man’s helper. If you search “A Temple Built for Two,” you can access a photo of a clay model of a shrine with its entrance flanked by two stylized palm tress that was devoted to Asherah. The opening of the shrine is shaped like the letter samekh, kind of a square with rounded edges and the word “samekh” which means “helper, support,” appears in the Aramaic Targum translation of Genesis 2:18 instead of “ezer” (helper). In this article from the March/April issue of BAR, there are photos of other similar model shrines, with one (p.58) that have women instead of plllars with palmette capitals on their heads, emphasizing the relationship between the goddess and the palm tree. Indeed, the prophetess Deborah is associated with a palm tree (Judges 4:5)

  12. Paul Ballotta says:

    You will have to search “Was Yahweh Worshiped as the Sun” to access this awesome article.

  13. Paul Ballotta says:

    I goofed in my comment (#22) when suggesting that the ceremonial chairs depicted at Kuntillet Ajrud were the same between the king and woman playing the lyre, they’re not. It has been suggested that the chair the woman was seated on has the shape of a lion and a lion does appear on the other side of the pot. These are motifs associated with the goddess Asherah and so this woman that was taken out of man’s side in Genesis 2:21 might refer to the cult of this goddess that persisted alongside and even with Yahwehism as evidenced at this site. I think the divine appellative Yahweh Elohim used in the paradise story allows for subtle references to other deities which would have been understood by the people of that time. In the context of the evidence at Kuntillet Ajrud, the association with the goddess “Asherah” may actually refer to the type of shrine or sacred grove that this goddess is identified with and that the Israelites adopted this as part of the Yahweh cult (if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em). This may explain why God says He will make a helper (or support) for the man (Genesis 2:16).
    “Asherah, like Baal, although often treated as a proper name, is probably a common noun or title. That is why Asherah (and Baal) are often preceeded by the definite article, ‘the’ (‘ha’ in Hebrew). Baal is thus more properly rendered ‘the lord’ (or the like) and ‘Asherah’ is better read as referring to a kind of goddess or class of goddess specified simply as ‘the asherah'” (“Was Yahweh Worshiped as the Sun?” by J. Glen Taylor, BAR, May/June 1994, p.54).

  14. Paul Ballotta says:

    Well, for some reason I’m typing the right link but the http:// keeps appearing. I understand that the site mentioned in my previous post is a hot button topic in politics so you might want a digital copy of this page before someone takes it down. Thank you, it’s been very interesting reading these comments.

  15. Paul Ballotta says:

    There is another archaeological connection to the Genesis narrative but what links the mystery is contained in a book that appeared among European Jewry in the late 12th century C.E. The book of Bahir is a collect of archaic strands of tradition woven together and at times entangled in contradictions but in reference to the account in Genesis 2:21 when it states that the woman was taken from the man’s rib or side, it offers this intriguing clue:
    “A king had an idea to plant ten male trees in a garden. All of them were date palms. He said,’Since they are all the same kind, it is impossible for them to endure.’ What did he do? He planted an etrog among them. This was one of those he intended to be male” (“The Bahir” by Aryeh Kaplan, p.66).
    It just so happens that the date palm is a symbol used in Judahite architecture fro the late 8th century B.C.E., that appear as palmetes on capitals atop pillars that flank the entrances to royal buildings and like the 10 palm trees in the Bahir, there were 10 capitals found at Ramet Rachel:
    The etrog, or citron fruit, makes its first appearance in a palace garden at Ramoth Rachel beginning in the 6th century B.C.E.

  16. J says:

    At no point have I told you to ‘change because I’m right’. I was under the impression that we were having a dialogue here. And although I have not criticized your approach to the Bible (hermeneutic), as you have implied I have, it does appear to me to be a ‘buffet’ style approach (take what you like and disregard the rest). You are not alone. Many people today approach the Bible that way. (For example, Terri in comment #2 whom I address below). Thus, in your approach, Russell, we differ substantially. When Paul tells Timothy in his second letter, that ‘ALL Scripture is God-breathed’ (2Tim. 3:16), I don’t see that we have the luxury or convenience of picking and choosing what suits our fancy or preconceptions or culture. Especially when it comes to passages that are instructive in nature as opposed to narrative. On the other hand, maybe you think those words in 2Timothy about Scripture were merely Paul’s opinion as well.
    Nevertheless, you have not answered my questions completely. Allow me to clarify.
    1. In 1Cor. 7:10-12 Paul comes right out and states that he is offering his opinion (“But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord… But to the rest I say, not the Lord…”). He does not do that in 1Timothy 2. Why do you then presume he is offering his opinion there?
    2. What is your take on Lev. 12:2-5? Please don’t skip over this.
    3. If Jesus’ ‘preferences’ trump Paul’s, what is your take on the fact that Jesus chose only men to be part of His twelve?
    4. When Paul wrote Gal. 3:28, if he meant that there was no difference between men and women EVEN IN ROLES, why did he not practice that when it came to instructions about church leadership and procedure? The word hypocrisy comes to mind. But that’s only if what you’re saying is true. When you assert that the apostle Paul contradicted himself as you did, you’re much braver than I. Ditto if you accuse him of hypocrisy.
    5. Why isn’t Gal. 3:28 just another one of Paul’s opinions?

    @Terri #2 – Terri, you stated: “…we have zero verses commanding men (or even advising them) to take HEADship, authority or any type of position over their wives… Amazing how we’ve built a whole theology of marital HEADship around zero direct commands to husbands to be over their wives in any way.” [Emphasis mine]
    Seriously… zero? I think you you may have missed a couple:
    1Cor. 11:3 – But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the HEAD of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. [Emphasis mine]
    Eph. 5:23 – For the husband is the HEAD of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. [Emphasis mine]
    Also, I’d like to point out that there is significance in the chronological order that commands are lad out to husbands and wives in Eph. 5. If we go back to the Garden when God was doling out rebuke to the three culprits, it is notable that He started at the bottom and moved up the chain of command; serpent first, then Eve, and finally Adam. So when Paul, through the Holy Spirit, instructs wives to submit to their husbands, he addresses her first. And when you think about it, it makes sense. If wives submitted to their husbands in ‘everything’ the way it says, would there be any need for husbands to enforce their headship? They could then be free to focus on things like ‘love, sacrifice and understanding’.
    Unfortunately, feminism has thrown a major monkey wrench into that algorithm. In today’s TV shows, radio spots, news and ads, one can’t help but notice the overwhelming message–men are to be disrespected, especially by women. Thinking back to the Garden, I wonder who came up with THAT idea. So, submitting to your husband has pretty much gone the way of the dinosaur. Of course, this struggle for control is part of the curse. But that’s another subject.

  17. russellh18 says:

    As I looked over what I posted, and saw all the typos and words (A “hunt & peck” writer – one finger typist) I omitted, and wish this place allowed editing one’s post, I realized that my greatest omission was this:

    You wonder why Paul might even contradict himself, aside from the more personal moments when he tells us what HE thinks, rather than what God has taught or told or instructed him to think, its because Paul is not God. He is but a man, a man on a mission: to spread the Gospel, and build a faithful Church. He is still imbedded in the culture of his origins and that carried on through the last millennium or two, and the beliefs and values and ways of life that led to the Crucifixion! He must assemble a church with people who still live within the culture of the past. He shares some of that. And must lead to conversion and into building a sustaining church out of people that culture. That’s why he has ideas and ways that are not so different, or wholly revolutionized into Jesus’ own perspective and wishes.

    He knows that Jesus insists there are no slave nor free, no male nor female … etc. But he also knows that this is a tough new way of thinking for most of the new converts, a set of values that might be huge stumbling stones to those who might otherwise come to the Lord. A bit like the old values about clean/not clean food, associating with gentiles, women being just as valued and capable as men, as only Jesus (who created all) knows. So he gives his own personal suggestions about how to put a church together, and accommodate the ideas and prejudices of the new followers and believers. He even instructs us to not stir up resistance or doubt by eating or drinking things God says are OK, but your host or guest or convert might have an issue with, and fall away and into hell, because of it.

  18. russellh18 says:

    I’m sorry if those few “bones” I tossed into the pack of wolves scrumming the commentary here were old or pretty chewed over already. I confess I haven’t the energy or commitment to the many quarrels going on here. When I first came (returned) to the Lord and the Scripture from my life in the sciences, I vigorously enjoined these kinds of debates (they were on the “Bulletin Boards”, then, as the lighter & more agile blogging and commentary software didn’t exist then). It wore me out. I realized there was never any listening, only stubborn ideological warfare: “YOU change, cuz I’M right”. Maybe you are. I’m convinced God doesn’t care. Belief and faith are all He wants. As for “CORRECT Theology”, I think He knows we are so inadequate to know it, that we are all for some huge lessons in humility and corrections to our own “truths”, that He will, if He’s as kind and loving as I think He is, His laughter will be deafening.

    Paul, in Titus, is a bit like an elder senior pastor in a denomination (Baptist? Lutheran? – I’ve attended those two) advising younger pastors what HE thinks will work best. As in the Timothy passage, he is saying “I”; “This is how I do, or would do. it” “This is MY preference (recall he advised against marriage and never had that much to do with women, if you could forgo the sex or help-mate needs of other men)”. There are times when, if you pay attention, Paul implicates, or even expressly tells us, “This is just me talking here, not God!” That is answering #2.

    I don’t know that he is “Senior Apostle” He never claims to be, only that he’s as good as the rest, and seemed to regard Peter as more “senior”. And he was certainly free, and zealous” to maintain his independence and right to his own ideas, lifestyle, and authority. Sometimes, he lost good friendships, or caused some stress in the church over that. Maybe (as re point b, his Pharisaic training and history explains it, somewhat.

    Things HAVE changed. Jesus’ life and the red type defines a whole new era, and the way that we who accept His Lordship, should think and move. The old covenant is gone. The old ways are gone. Jesus was a revolution. As for the people of the circumcision, who want to live by the old covenant … well, that’s between them and God (who, I rest assured, still loves them and will deal justly with them at the judgment day, too)

    As for #5, I think the passages differ because one is about Paul’s preferences, and the other about Jesus’ preferences (or dictums). I can show you pastors who run churches like Paul likes, and others in a way more like Galatians. They will all be judged not by the lifestyle they are comfortable with, but the faith in the Son they have. So its whatever makes YOU happy, and pleases God (Red Letter Version), not Paul.

    Be blessed and live comfortably in your own hermeneutic, don’t worry about mine. OK?

  19. J says:

    @Russell 26 – Russell, I would like to engage what you’ve written but rather than ‘tossing in a few more [new] bones’, you’re simply scrumming over old ones. You’ve said nothing that I haven’t already addressed. I am disappointed that instead of answering some of my questions about Jesus’ disciple selection process, you’ve chosen to reiterate that we are not living in the OT but the NT… as if that is some sort of magical phrase that ultimately lays to rest all evidence in the OT and subsequently, all arguments against feminism. If I had a nickel for every time someone resorted to that worn out line…
    Didn’t Jesus’ disciple selection take place in the NT? Didn’t Paul’s letter to Timothy take place in the NT? Here’s a new bone from the NT: Why does Paul in Titus 1:5-9, indicate that only men can be elders?
    Since you’ve already indicated ‘you have no interest’ in addressing tough questions like these, may I ask you a few simple ones about what you’ve written:
    1. Why do YOU think God gave the commands concerning women the way He did, knowing that His view of women would be passed down to countless generations? I would especially like to hear your opinion on Lev. 12:2-5.
    2. Given the context of the Bible, why do you regard the Timothy passage to be “clearly” Paul giving his opinion, especially when he does not specify it as such? And even more especially in light of the precise words he uses in 1Cor. 7:10-12 where he does specify it.
    3. If Paul was only giving his opinion, then…
    a) as chief apostle, why did he even hold that opinion?
    b) why should we disregard it?
    4. If your answer to ‘b’ is ‘because things have changed’, what if the only reason things have changed is because of our having disregarded it in the first place? (This is a ‘chicken or the egg’ question)
    5. If Paul wrote both 1Timothy and Gal 3:28, why do these passages appear contradictory? Hint: Could it be that Gal. 3:28 has a more precise meaning than the broad one you are assigning it?

  20. russellh18 says:

    I have no interest in getting into this endless exercise of competing hermeneutics over whether God considers women inferior to men, but simply toss in a few more bones for you all to scrum over.

    Paul several times steps out of his role as apostle into that of “Just me, myself, Paul”: he tells us that this is just his opinion, not God’s. Its how he feels, what he thinks is good practice, etc. That first Timothy passage seems clearly that sort of advice. Its all spoken in the “I”, not “God” mode.

    When God chose the Hebrew people, he simply took them as they were then, and began to lead them, to teach them. He did not give them a whole new culture, or way of life, but took what they were. And they were part and parcel of the culture and social mores and practices of their time and the mega culture of their geographical part of the world. In that place and context, men ruled, women were devalued and thought as less important, etc. Polygamy was essentially universal (even though earlier He proposed monogamy was the better model for family. So did Paul in the New Testament times. And remember how Moses allowed for the practices and preferences he faced, but did not prefer, i.e. polygamy and divorce, etc.
    If we consider Jesus as God, then we see Jesus was quite the egalitarian. Some of his best friends, supporters and financiers, and church leaders, and many were named disciples and led house churches (Lydia) and, it is argued, some were apostles (Junias, and at least 6 others).

    Even in the strong biases of OT times, there were women judges (Deborah was likely not the only one, though perhaps the best, many scholars believe)., and prophetesses, and oracles, and powerful queens and regents, and Barak, of course, would not even go to war without Deborah.

    But whatever, we are not living in the OT times, but the times of Jesus being Lord. The New Testament. And as Paul says in Gal 3:28, we are all one in Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. Not a lot of room for any hermeneutic to bend that.

  21. J says:

    @Paul 24-I think it is equally plausible that the ‘contemplation’ Trible refers to could be the mental process that Eve used to justify (deceive herself into) getting what she really wanted. In this case equality. That process occurs routinely in our society and can even include lying. While the man may have been with her when she finally ate, it does not then follow that this occurred in the presence of the serpent. Nothing is said about why he ate or even the circumstances that put the fruit in front of him. For all we know, she could have secretly picked the fruit and brought it to him. Therefore, we could easily speculate that he ate to please his wife. In fact, we are told later that God chastised him for ‘listening to his wife’.
    I would have to disagree with your last statement Paul. In my opinion, childbearing is irrelevant at this point because she had not born any children. Contending that she thought differently because of her role as a mother is speculative since she was not yet a mother. There are significant hormonal and mental changes that take place during the actual pregnancy.
    It appears to be true that many men become brain dead when looking at a woman they find attractive. However, anecdotally (in my experience), in a stressful situation such as a conflict, I have found the reverse of what you are asserting. Women generally tend to act first and think later. In other words, in a pinch, they often find it impossible to weigh the consequences before acting and instead, act or speak on pure emotion. At least that’s what I and many others have observed. I have found quite the opposite to be true of most men. It would certainly seem that the apostle Paul as well as God Himself, see the same thing.

  22. J says:

    Interesting observation Paul. If it is actually confirmed to be the fort of an Israelite king, (which I’m guessing it hasn’t), the etching still points to an exception rather than a rule. Feminists, and most special interest groups for that matter, always want to turn exceptions into rules. I’m sure you would agree that it still does not outweigh the evidence in my post. And something else I neglected to mention was that in stark contrast to the lower status God seems to have bestowed on women, there is a complete absence of the reverse.

  23. Paul Ballotta says:

    As Meyers pointed out on page 52 of the current issue of BAR, the translation of Genesis 3:16, where God passes judgement on the woman reads; “I will make great your toil and [many] your pregnancies.” The same word for “toil” is used in verse 17 where God passes judgement on the man. So both man and woman are consigned to hard work, but the woman has an additional burden; childbearing. As I noted in my previous comment, there existed equality between the sexes before the fall. The serpent drove a wedge between the couple and God by first deceiving the woman into thinking that she could be like God without God.
    In her article from the October 1992 issue of Bible Review (p.55), Phyllis Trible explains Genesis 3:6 where the man and woman both succumb to temptation in which “the woman contemplates the fruit, finding it good to eat (a physical concern), pleasant to see (an aesthetic dimension) and desirable for wisdom (a sapiential motif). Her vision encompasses the gamut of life. Only then does she eat. By contrast the man WHO WAS WITH HER (a telling phrase deleted by translators going all the way back to Jerome’s Vulgate) simply ate.”
    The serpent merely exploits the couple’s differences, with women having the extra burden of bearing children their minds process information and analyse it especially when choosing a mate, whereas men are simply satisfied when merely looking at a woman, without thinking. It’s our nature.

  24. Paul Ballotta says:

    In case you’re interested, the reference to the woman being a suitable helper (‘ezer’ in Hebrew) is rendered in Aramaic as ‘semakh’ which means “support, help.” At the site of Kuntillet Ajrud in the Wilderness of Zin, which served as a way-station for travelers in the early 8th century B.C.E., there was a depiction at the entrance of the fort of what is thought to be an Israelite king, possibly Joash or Jeroboam II. He is seated on a stylized chair and on one of the large pots found there (Pithos A), the form of a woman is etched in clay, playing a stringed instrument and sitting on the same type of chair as the king. Women in Iron Age Israel who functioned in a cultic capacity as musicians had equal status with men (Exodus 15:20-21; Judges 11:34; 1 Samuel 18:6; Jeremiah 31:4).

  25. J says:

    I think Chris’ first point in referring to the 1Timothy 2 passage needs to be addressed more proficiently than has been done here. I have been studying the biblical gender issue for decades, and pretty much all Bible believing feminists try to dance around that passage. They simply cannot accept Paul’s words at face value because those words appear to our politically correct society to be utterly inappropriate and unfair. One or two of you have mentioned context and that’s an excellent place to start. If one takes the context of the entire Bible, the unmistakable message is that women take a back seat to men, especially in authority roles. Yes, there are a few exceptions, but they are exactly that. Exceptions. By and large, God places women in second place from a role standpoint. Before anyone starts reciting the tired cliché that gender inequality originates from the despised ‘patriarchy’ (in other words, from men), let’s look at a few passages in which God Himself is enforcing, if not outright initiating, these alleged sexist views. All of these verses are direct commands/instructions by God to either Moses or the Israelites…
    Exodus 21:7 – If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do.
    Exodus 23:17 – Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord God.
    Leviticus 12:2-5 – When a woman gives birth and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean for seven days…Then she shall remain in the blood of her purification for thirty-three days…But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean for two weeks… and she shall remain in the blood of her purification for sixty-six days.
    This latter Leviticus passage is particularly curious since we know of no physiological reason to distinguish between males and females with regard to length of time of ‘uncleanness’. Its sole purpose it seems is to remind the Israelites that God sees women as lower than men.
    In Leviticus 27:1-7 God is determining the valuations of males and females and He assigns the females valuations that are significantly lower than those of the males; in some cases nearly half.
    In Numbers 5:11-31 God gives instructions regarding the ‘law of jealousy’ in which a man suspects his wife of being unfaithful. There is no such option given to women.
    In Numbers 12 even though it is both Miriam and Aaron who speak against Moses, it is only Miriam who gets punished. Afflicted with leprosy, she is forced to live outside the camp for seven days. Interestingly, in verse 14 God reminds them of what appears to be some protocol where a displeased father can spit in his daughter’s face and she must bear the shame of it for seven days.
    In Numbers 27:8 God instructs Moses that a woman may inherit land only if her father does not have a son. The son has first dibs.
    In Numbers 30 God has given instructions to Moses about vows. If a woman makes a vow, it must be approved by either her father or husband to be valid.
    Next is a passage that is sure to get some blood boiling based on today’s feminist fixation on rape. (Let me be clear that I believe rape is wrong). But it would behoove you to remember that the following passage is God’s direct command…
    Deuteronomy 22:28-29 – If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days.
    That’s it. Some money and permanent marriage. No trial. No jail time.
    Aside from the numerous commands of God, which not only endorse, but actively promote what would be labeled as unabashed sexism today, there are more than a few anecdotal passages that uphold the same theme. For example:
    Ecclesiastes 7:28 – I found one upright man among a thousand, but not one upright woman among them all.
    Isaiah 3:12 portrays being ruled by women as something very negative.
    Divorce was an option given to men only.
    And I haven’t even touched on the order of creation, including Eve’s stated purpose as ‘helper’. I have also purposely avoided New Testament husband/wife role passages because feminists tend to dismiss these passages as not applicable to single women.
    Now granted, Yeshuah elevated the status of women to be equal in terms of spiritual standing, access to God, etc. This, in spite of the ire His actions drew from the male dominated society of that day. But that’s it. He didn’t go any further. If He was trying to endorse today’s feminist ideal of absolute equality, why stop there? Why not include a woman among His twelve? Or better still, a couple of women? Moreover, when a replacement for Judas was being selected, why zero female candidates? Hadn’t He gotten through to His disciples? Hadn’t He broken the glass ceiling? No one can disagree that Yeshuah’s life and teachings were the embodiment of controversy. So are we to seriously believe, as some would have us, that Yeshuah didn’t push the women’s rights envelope because He only felt comfortable upsetting the applecart a little?
    My point in all this is that in the broad context of the entire Bible, women have a secondary role. And it appears to be not only God-sanctioned, but God-ordered. Like it or not, this thread is undeniable. In fact, this broad context trumps all the little interpretational cartwheels that feminists use in attempting to explain away the otherwise clear passages on male-female roles. These passages are God’s blueprint. The only reason they are even considered objectionable is because they don’t fit today’s political correctness or feminist fantasies. If God ordered it, who are we to disagree – or worse – try to change it? Hence, taking Paul’s words in 1Timothy to mean exactly what they say, is the most plausible approach. I believe this is the point Chris is making.
    Some have dismissed the 1Timothy passage as merely Paul’s opinion. Typically they refer to his words, “I do not allow…” This is a very weak argument. When Paul wanted to distinguish between his opinion and God’s command, he certainly knew how to do it in a much more precise fashion. (See 1Corinthians 7:10-12)
    Another way feminists try to dismiss the 1Timothy passage is by appealing to culture. This is an odd approach since Paul clearly transcends culture by referring back to creation and the first sin as the basis for this command. And while we’re on the subject of life in the Garden, isn’t it interesting that ‘equality’ was the exact appeal (and sale closer), that Satan used to tempt Eve? Is it possible he knew something about women that feminists have since chosen to ignore? Like their susceptibility to making emotional decisions, for example? Look at his avenue of approach… “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be LIKE GOD, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5) [Emphasis mine] In other words, God is holding you down and keeping you oppressed… why are you tolerating this? Has a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it?
    Let me repeat… The very first weapon that Satan used to tempt Eve and destroy the perfect order that God had created, was the notion of equality. Which, by my reckoning, makes Satan the very first feminist. And yet we have women (and some men) today, lining up to fill his shoes and perpetuate the same, destructive lie. Can you spell deceived? Apparently Paul could. He spelled it perfectly in 1Timothy 2:14 – And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

  26. Paul Ballotta says:

    @Chris #19: The book that I quoted from, the Gospel of Thomas, was banned along with any writings deemed heretical by the Byzantine Empire and we only have this version today because a monk hid this and other books in a cave near Nag Hammadi in southern Egypt, probably around the middle of the 4th century. The reason that you and other like-minded males narrowly focus on this portion of scripture from 1 Timothy 2:11-15 which is erroneously based on Genesis 3:16, is because you have plugged your ears like a snake that can’t be charmed (Psalm 58:5).
    “As we know from medical writers, philosophers, poets, and others, women in the Greek and Roman worlds were widely understood to be imperfect men … Women were quite literally the weaker sex. And in a world permeated with an ideology of power and dominance, that made women subservient and, necessarily, subordinate to men … All the world, it was believed, operates along a continuum of perfection. Lifeless things are less perfect than living; plants less perfect than animals; animals less perfect than humans; women less perfect then men men less perfect then gods. To have salvation, to be united with God, required men to be perfected. For some thinkers in the ancient world, the implications were clear: For a woman to be perfected, she must first pass through the next stage along the continuum and become a man” (“Lost Christianities” by Bart Ehrman, p.64).
    Chris, did you notice the other BAS article edited by the women you attempted to discredit with boyish humor? You would think a man wrote it.

  27. russellh18 says:

    Very interesting, isn’t it. I surmise that you are exercising your own hermeneutic approach from a sort of “primate evolutionist” perspective/lens. I, from my background ( degrees, and teaching in several colleges and U.C. Santa Cruz) use a human and cultural evolution (and associated paleontology and archeology) hermeneutic to interpret the original Hebrew Scriptures of the creation account of Gen 1 &2. We are, therefore, a very good exemplary of the essay thesis we are commenting on.
    I, by the way, actually believe the Scriptures describe an already fully evolved H. sapiens, and God, in a pattern and style he uses several times in the Bible, of choosing a man from the population before him to initiate and develop his next purpose. That is, from among the H. sapiens ( adam ) populations that have evolved (as He expected, having created both the creatures and laws of physics and biology by which life does develop) and imbuing him with His own image ( tselem )and ( demuwth ) likeness turns him into that ha-adam. In time, God then selects a female from that existing population as a mate and establishes the first family (model) he wishes the “ha-adamic” population to develop. THAT works for me, modern science, and the original Hebraic Scriptural language, as I understand all three.

  28. Paul Ballotta says:

    So basically you have this extinct species called “Adapiformes” that gave rise to these lemur-like prosimians; “Many prosimian species which had developed rodentlike adaptaions became extinct with the rise of rodents. However, other early prosimian forms probably gave rise to the more successful monkeys and apes. The monkeys and apes were better able to exploit the prosimian niches, causing the demise of the prosimians from which they developed” (“Physical Anthropology” by Stein and Rowe, p.330).
    We know the lemurs survived by being cut off from the African continent where the primates were evolving and adapting to changing climates and conditions brought about as a result of the movement of tectonic plates which brings to mind Russell’s comment about humanity being a work involving all of creation (Genesis 1:27).
    The earlier Genesis account of Adam form Genesis 2:5 also includes a ha-adam prototype; adam. “And every shrub of the field was not yet on the earth, and every herb of the field had not yet sprung up, for had not sent rain, Yahweh Elohim, on the earth, and a man (adam) was not to till the ground…” In this narrative it is in the cultural context that humanity is formed like a potter molding clay, and it is possible this this prototype of Adam is the civilization that existed in the Negev and Sinai deserts that disappeared in the middle of the 3rd millenium B.C.E. It wasn’t until the Israelite period of the first monarchy around 1000 B.C.E. that these sites were resettled and the Sinai included a network of fortresses with a distinct tradition of crude disposable pottery used by the soldiers, giving this ha-adam a sense of purpose as they guard the way along the routes to the copper mines, hence the image of the bellows that blow air into the copper smelter is used as He “blew into his nostrils the breath of life”

  29. Paul Ballotta says:

    I’m sorry but it wasn’t marsupials from Australia but Lemurs from Madagascar that are similar to the ancestors of primates and ultimately humans and are referred to as Prosimians.

  30. Paul Ballotta says:

    Thank you Russell, for I am clueless as to the significance of the prefix “ha” and now that you brought it up I noticed that “ha” is not affixed to the name “adam” in Genesis 2:5 as in “there was no man to till the ground” since humanity is still in the conceptualized state like the “design” of humanity in Genesis 1:26. This satisfies my own curiosity concerning the origin of primates who were our predecessors beginning 30 million years ago with a marsupial-like creature with large eyes (adapted to hunting insects) which to me signifies the “design” for humanity to envision God.

  31. russellh18 says:

    Whew, a lot of comments have posted since I began writing my own, intermittently with other demands. I was in position for number 5, and directed to Paul’s #3. I’ll have to catch up and see if what I had to say is even still relevant.

  32. russellh18 says:

    Regarding Paul’s comment:
    I think you, and Trible, have missed the point of the prefix “ha”, probably because you have only considered one instance of its appearance in the Hebrew texts. Once it appears it becomes increasingly used, and with many words other than “adam”, and in my opinion, signifies much – none of which actually supports your point at all. What it does signify is almost enough to write a book on, so to stay brief, I’, going to quote from a study in my own hermeneutic (modern science and creation theory) I did almost 15 years ago.
    “The word adam is translated variously as “man”, “mankind”, or “men”. Its not really a very particular or discriminating word in Hebrew. It could be that it originally meant, as implied in the “kind” (miyn of mankind, the human species…. Whatever … the more important points for us here [Gen 1:26] are: 1) that adam can mean just “human species” or human beings” and, 2) that the Hebrew Scripture uses exactly adam, here, with no additional modification…. In just one more verse that will no longer be true, adam will be replaced by ha-adam — a very significant change.
    (I point out, later, that “a very important point often overlooked by translators [is that] “ha” will attach to waters, heavens, beasts, soil, everything and anything (even men!) that God has touched, or is otherwise brought into sanctified standing by His use or concern.”)
    In Gen1:26 the creation verb, translated “let us make man”, is asah which is more of a “fashion” or “design” verb. He is declaring His plan. In Gen 1:27, the verb translated “create” (3 times repeated!) is bara, the most absolute, de novo, “from scratch” creating God does. And he adds something special to this created “adam”, which He told us in Gen1:26 was His plan, His image AND His likeness. And this is when the “ha” is attached, and will remain so, henceforth.
    One important exception, however: even after the 3 “baras”, no “ha” attaches to either the “male” or “female”. And in my own hermeneutic, I split Gen 1:27 into two verses, and interpret the last as “In His own image He created the males and the females” and see it as parenthetical, a sort of footnote.

  33. Paul Ballotta says:

    Chris, the author of this magazine article has suggested that Eve has been misrepresented since Greco-Roman times and that the information gleaned from archaeology pertaining to Iron Age Israel reveal a society consisting of mostly farming communities where people shared and that this selfless partnership society better reflected the utopian model presented in the Garden of Eden. It is therefore not a fallacy when the facts of archaeological evidence are staring us in the face and reminding us of how far we have fallen. Women’s contribution to society in ancient Israel was held in high regard, hence the first man’s naming of his wife as “the mother of the living” (Genesis 3:20). Jesus came to restore this partnership as it is written in the lost Gospel of Thomas:
    “Simon Peter said to them, ‘Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life.’ Jesus said, ‘I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make her self male will enter the kingdom of heaven.'”

  34. Ellen White says:

    Thank you for the lively discussion. Just to clarify I am not Ellen G. White, the founder of the Seventh-Day Adventists, as she died in 1915.

  35. Chris says:

    Hmm … will somebody please present material evidence proving Paul’s letters were corrupted? Maybe Ellen (G?) White can do that for us??

    When you go to court and offer your opinion, the opponent tramples you under foot. The only way to win your case is by properly presenting material facts and supporting evidence. If you bring “expert testimony”, it’s subject to examination for impeachment purposes.

    Thus far, nobody has impeached the text of Paul’s letters, nor his statements. Nobody has even attempted to address Paul statements occurring in the 2 texts above. The only ‘arguments’ in here are naked opinion based on speculation about ancient HUMAN CULTURE. Don’t you realize that’s the logical fallacy “consensus gentium” (= appeal to the masses)? Moreover, nobody has discredited any of the facts in my comments. In fact, nobody has even addressed them on-point. Moving on …

    Have any of you compared the LAWS in the books of Moses for men and for women, in order to see how BIASED GOD is about women? Where did Moses obtain “the Mosaic law”?:

    “Now the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law and the commandment which I have written for their instruction.” (Exo 24:12 NAS)

    How many times from Exodus through Deuteronomy do we read: “And the word of YHWH came to me saying …”?

    Either those statements are HISTORICALLY FACTUAL, or Moses was a CONMAN. You can’t have it both ways.

    “And it came about, when Moses finished writing the words of this law in a book until they were complete, 25 that Moses commanded the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, 26 “Take this book of the law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may remain there as a witness against you. 27 “For I know your rebellion and your stubbornness; behold, while I am still alive with you today, you have been rebellious against the LORD; how much more, then, after my death?” (Deu 31:24-27 NAS)

    Maybe it’s time you people return to God’s law and dispense with your frivolous emotional-cultural fantasies called “religion”? I believe the correct term for this is “REPENT” and “RETURN”. Historically and legally, it’s foundational to being “God’s people”.

    Incidentally … did I ever claim in any of my comments that the Apostles, Y’shuah and the OT “saints” debased the personhood and social role of women?

    Dang those pesky assumptions!

  36. Paul Ballotta says:

    In response to commentator Chris #6; it wasn’t the the verses from 1 Timothy 2:12-14 you quoted in your first comment that was altered (though commentator Helen #9 did a good job in explaining the disparity between Paul’s views), but rather it was a similar statement from 1 Corinthians 14:33-34 that was placed there out of context (compared with the verses before and after) that forbids women to speak at church, contrary to what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, confirming that women did in fact speak at church. Bart Ehrman writes that in the case of 1 Corinthians 14, there are 3 Greek manuscripts and 2 Latin witnesses in which these verses in question (33-34) were placed after verse 40 that was possibly inserted there by a scribe who was influenced by 1 Timothy 2 that was intended as a marginal note (apparently some men were afraid of women speaking publicly).

  37. Helen Spalding says:

    Chris — you may wish to invest in the Stagg’s book: Women in the World of Jesus. It may open your eyes as to how God sees women.

    Furthermore, Paul is addressing a disciple who was going to work the “Greek street” not the Roman or Galatian street. In places like Corinth where we read a similar condition, understand that women in the Greek world were sequestered. They were at home, not in the market. If they were in the market, they were “spoiled goods.”

    With that mindset in his forethoughts, Paul cautions that women are not the focus — Jesus crucified and risen is the focus. In other words, don’t get “crucified” over women’s freedom. Be persecuted for the sake of Christ Jesus.

    This is why Paul does not mention women’s silence to the Romans. In Rome, women were part of the scene as a whole and not sequestered as in Greece.

    Paul is first a Jewish rabbi, second a pastor trying to meet the needs of his flocks scattered over Asia Minor and Greece. To understand him, you need to understand the mindset of a first century Jewish rabbi as well as the various social customs of the ethnic groups to whom he preached, taught, and ministered.

    His pastoral epistles are NOT limited to Timothy and Titus. All of Paul is a pastoral epistle to someone somewhere in a cultural context.

  38. A F says:

    The idea that a society would arbitrarily structure itself around ideas of “male superiority” just isn’t plausible to me. Perhaps a term like “male dominated” or “male oriented” would have been a more accurate way of expressing that kind of theme…

    But even so the whole thing still echoes the broader academic, political, and popular obsession with searching out opportunities to vilify western culture based on mostly negative historical interpretations and seemingly endless delineations of demographic identity and experience.

    I agree with Barbara’s comment. Surely a lot of stuff related to “gender” in antiquity grew out of simple matters of survivability and expedience. We have the luxury of being able to think about the fairness of it all, but surely a society that coerced people to abandon ideas of gender differentiation and homogenize occupationally would have had a much tougher time surviving the rough and tumble of the ancient world

  39. Ben West says:

    Paul expressed the tone of the day, which involved generally despairing treatment of women. But he seemed to have no qualms with Priscilla teaching Apollos. He said that he would not have women to exercise authority over men within a church setting, but this in context seems to be his preference rather than a theological need. He possibly took this position because of the likelihood that a woman in a legitimate teaching role at that time would not have been heeded, and probably would have been rejected and condemned.

  40. Chris says:

    Very interesting replies to my initial comment on this feminist’s propaganda.

    Will someone please provide proof that Paul’s writings were changed after he wrote them?
    Please ensure that the evidence is material, not ‘theoretical’ … and not circumstantial.

    One of the primary principles of hermeneutics is not to inject one’s cultural bias into the primary source author. Which one of the feminist comments above does not violate that hermeneutical rule?

    Please note that Paul’s words relate to authority in social structure, not personhood. Those with adequate background in sociology and politics would know that. Apparently the new sociology has become corrupted, as everything else has in this Canaanite world.

    Why not take Paul and Peter at their words, and view their message in terms of politics and law, not psychology and emotionalized ‘religion’.

    In that vane, what would you feminists say now?

  41. Kurt says:

    Does God Really Care About Women?
    According to the Bible, find out how God views women and how Jesus treated women.

    “Sin began with a woman, and thanks to her we must all die.”—ECCLESIASTICUS, SECOND CENTURY B.C.E.

    “You are the devil’s gateway: you are the unsealer of that forbidden tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law . . . You destroyed so easily God’s image, man.”—TERTULLIAN, ON THE APPAREL OF WOMEN, SECOND CENTURY C.E.

    THOSE ancient verses are not from the Bible. For centuries, they have been used to justify discrimination against women. Even today, some extremists still cite religious texts to legitimize the domination of women, claiming that women are to blame for mankind’s ills. Did God really purpose for women to be scorned and abused by men? What does the Bible say? Let us see.
    Have women been cursed by God?
    No. Instead, it is “the original serpent, the one called Devil,” who has been “cursed” by God. (Revelation 12:9; Genesis 3:14) When God said that Adam would “dominate” his wife, God was not indicating his approval of the subjugation of woman by man. (Genesis 3:16) He was simply foretelling the sad consequences of sin on the first couple.
    Thus, the abuse of women is a direct outcome of the sinful nature of humans, not of God’s will. The Bible does not support the idea that women must be subjugated to men in order to atone for the original sin.—Romans 5:12.Read more:

  42. Barbara Kellam-Scott says:

    Actually (to the first 2 commenters), isn’t the article, and certainly Meyers’s work, mostly about women across the Hebrew Testament? I met Meyers in her book /i/Discovering Eve/-i/, where she proposed what for me was a watershed interpretation of God’s reported words to “Eve” as the couple left the garden.

    It also seems to me, from my training as a sociologist, highly unlikely that women could have been nearly as neglected, let alone repressed, in the everyday societies of Bible times because subsistence is too difficult to waste half the energy of your household or waste your own energy on repressing them.

    Because I understand the women of the times depicted in the Hebrew Bible as the primary tellers of stories and preservers of cultural history, I figure that the women’s stories that did make it into the canon are probably those that the women would have kept on telling, even if the men attempted to cut them out.

  43. Paul Ballotta says:

    The verses that commentator Chris quoted from 1 Timothy contradicts another statement attributed to the apostle Paul from Galatians 3:27-28, which states that there is no longer male and female for all are equal in Christ. Bart Ehrman in “Misquoting Jesus” (pp. 178-186), exposes how alterations were made to scripture regarding women’s status in the 2nd century.
    The above article makes reference to the October 1992 issue of Bible Review, but Phyllis Trible’s interpretation about Adam comes from another article from the same issue, “Feminist Interpretations of the Bible: Then and Now,” by Pamela J.Milne, and on page 42 she writes:
    “Thus, Trible translates ha-‘adam not as ‘Adam’ or even ‘man,’ but as ‘earth creature.’ ‘Ha-‘adam should be translated, she says, in relation to ha-‘adamah (the earth) from which he was taken. ‘Earth creature,’ Trible concludes, is neither male nor female when first created by God. Only after the woman is created in Genesis 2:22-23 can ha-‘adam be thought of as male.”
    When I read this passage it reminded me of what Carlos Suarez wrote in “Genesis Cipher,” in that the “adamah” which is translated as “ground” (Genesis 2:7), contains the remains of previous cultures (which is odd since this author was writing about the numerical letter-code of the kabbalah, not archaeology). Now we have this insightful article in the current issue of BAR by Carol Meyers which discusses how early archaeological excavations centered on major cities dominated by male elites and not the surrounding settlements like the small farming communities where women lived and worked. The dust of the adamah is the archaeological record, that in the words of Meyers is “the kind of data necessary to reconstruct household life and thus women’s daily lives” (BAR, Nov./Dec. 2014, p.52).

  44. Terri says:

    Ah yes, now we must fire all the female teachers at all levels and not allow them to participate in the church service in anything that lets them talk out loud. For this is the literal Biblical reading. Or, you could actually read the passage, the surrounding chapters, and indeed the entire book, and see easily that this same author gives guidance to women in prophesying publicly and praises women for teaching men (Priscilla and Aquila teaching Paul himself). When we try to prove a point with this verse, it proves too much.

    I note three things in the Bible: One, that Jesus Christ spent his 33 years on this earth raising up women and enlarging their lives. Two, that spiritual gifts are never listed with a gender requirement–nor is the Great Commission. Three, that while we have a number of verses telling wives to submit and respect their husbands, we have exactly zero verses commanding men (or even advising them) to take headship, authority, or any type of position *over* their wives. Look at the commands to husbands. They are consistently about love, sacrifice and understanding.

    Amazing how we’ve built a whole theology of marital headship around zero direct commands to husbands to be “over” their wives in any way. If we give weight to the direct commands to women to submit and respect, then we must give *equal weight*–EQUAL–to the commands to husbands. And those say nothing, ever, about taking charge. They say plenty about unselfishness and giving oneself for one’s wife.

  45. Chris says:

    Maybe feminist Ellen (G?) White should read Rabbi Saul’s “hermeneutic” on the matter … even in the English translation:

    “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.” (1Timothy 2:12-14 NAS)

    Doesn’t appear to be any room for equivocation there!

    The 2nd Temple Jew, Simon/Peter, has this to say about people who attempt to redefine words to the end of redefining Biblical morality and social institutions:

    “… in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. … speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.” (2 Peter 2:3, 18-19 NAS)

    Peddling a PhD is not reason to “Trust Us, We’re the Experts” …

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend