Was Eve made from Adam’s rib or some other part?
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gene Weingarten has discovered the true origin of the story of Eve. In his latest weekly humor column “Below the Beltway” featured in the Washington Post Magazine and newspapers around the country, Weingarten discusses Ziony Zevit’s article “Was Eve Made from Adam’s Rib—or His Baculum?” from the September/October 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
According to the Bible’s creation account, after making the heavens and the earth, God created humankind. The story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2 states that God formed Adam out of the dust of the ground, and then Eve was created from one of Adam’s ribs. But was it really his rib? Ziony Zevit, Distinguished Professor of Biblical Literature and Northwest Semitic Languages at American Jewish University in Bel-Air, California, examines this question in his BAR article. And the answer is “No.”
The Hebrew word traditionally translated “rib” is tsela‘. Biblical scholar Ziony Zevit says that this translation is clearly wrong, and many scholars agree. It was first translated as “rib” in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible from the mid-third century B.C.E. However, a more careful reading of the supposed Hebrew word for “rib” in the Adam and Eve story indicates that Eve was created from another, very different, part of Adam’s anatomy—his os baculum (penis bone).
“Instantly, I knew this article was important,” writes Weingarten. “That is because it finally explained the origin of a common fallacy, a spectacularly stupid bit of scientific misinformation under which I had labored for the first 16 years of my life until a high school bio class set me straight: Men are not short one rib, as the creation myth implies. Men and women have the same number.”
Cain and Abel in the Bible
Bible Review’s Supporting Roles by Elie Wiesel
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update.