Monday, January 04, 2016

More on Eve and Adam's penis-bone

MARGINALIA REVIEW OF BOOKS: A Flaccid Interpretation of Eden – By Joseph Ryan Kelly. This is a review of Ziony Zevit's book, What Really Happened in the Garden of Eden?, which has recently been receiving some media attention. The attention focuses on Zevit's theory that, according to the Garden of Eden story, Eve was created from Adam's penis-bone rather than his rib. This review was published last March, but I did not note it at the time. It covers a range of things in the book, but gives considerable space to the question of that bone and the reviewer is not convinced by the theory. Excerpt:
Has Zevit pulled back the curtain on these early chapters of Genesis? While his use of philology and historical criticism forces us to reconsider interpretations often taken for granted, his approach does not produce confident conclusions. Does God really create Hawwa, Eve, out of Adam’s penile bone? Genesis 2:21 describes God removing one of Adam’s ribs or ṣelaot. To incorporate this detail into his interpretation, Zevit translates the term ṣela as “lateral bone.” Imagining the baculum as belonging to a category of lateral bones strikes me as a specious argument. But perhaps more pressing is the way this proposed etiology differs from other etiologies involving humans in the Hebrew Bible. Elsewhere, biblical texts use past events to explain cultural institutions or customs.
Worth reading in full. Background here.