Gender and sexuality in the Garden of Eden

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Various attempts have been made to argue that the plain meaning of the story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2-3 supports a feminist, or at least a woman-friendly, understanding of the gender and sexual relationships between Adam and Eve. I counter that these arguments are not convincing and are hard to square with the biblical text, by considering four central elements in the story: (1) The sexual nature of ha'adam, Adam/the earthling at the start of our story; (2) God's 'curse' of Eve; (3) The meaning of the woman being a 'helper' to Adam; and (4) Adam's naming of the woman. I conclude that the most plausible meaning of these chapters is that Adam dominates Eve sexually and otherwise from the very moment of Eve's creation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJudaism and Islam
EditorsStephen Hunt
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781351924740, 9781315251332
ISBN (Print)9780754629214
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Adam
  • Eve
  • Feminist interpretation
  • Garden of Eden
  • Patriarchy in the Bible
  • Phyllis Bird
  • Phyllis Trible
  • Sexuality in the Bible

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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