Author: OU Zhenhua, Ph.D. Candidate, Center of Judaic and Inter-Religious Studies, Shandong University
When was Eve created? Did God create Adam and Eve at the same time according to God’s own image, or did God create Adam first and then Eve out of Adam’s rib? These are essential questions for feminist scholars. In this paper, the author hopes to explore these questions by introducing the Jewish feminist Judith Baskin’s criticism of rabbinic midrashim in late antiquity through study of Eve’s creation narratives in Genesis 1-2. Baskin puts forward two arguments in this work: firstly, that most rabbinic opinion agreed that the “first Eve” was created from Adam’s rib, and secondly, the rabbinic vision of the first human being as a primal androgyne belongs to a decided minority. After studying the biblical texts and Baskin’s interpretation closely, the author argues that Baskin’s arguments are not persuasive. On the contrary, the rabbinic texts used by Baskin demonstrate that (1) the text does not offer a final word on whether the first Adam is male or bisexual; (2) most rabbis in the midrashim might be inclined to think that the first human being created by God integrates both male and female genders. What then is the contribution and significance of Baskin’s feminist interpretation? The paper offers a summary and interpretation.
Judith Baskin, Rabbinic Midrash, Eve's Creation, Feminist Criticism
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