In case readers have been following comments to my earlier posts on this biblical paleobabble issue, I decided to make things convenient. Please note that they may not be any more decipherable, since the articles I link to below require at least a decent grasp of the Hebrew alphabet (and Syriac helps), transliteration of the same, and principles of morphology. I am posting them mainly so readers will at least have the sources and know I’m not making up my arguments.
Briefly, there are some commenters who believe that the Bible *really* teaches us that in the garden of Eden, Eve had sex with the serpent (aka, Satan or the Devil – never mind that Gen 3 does not use either of those terms) and fathered Cain. My contention is that the biblical text does not teach this nonsense. Rather, it is an idiosyncratic interpretation of the Eve narrative, projected into the text by misogynistic interpreters in the ancient Jewish community.
These ideas are ultimately based on two items (and then taken in different directions, depending on the interpreter: (1) the notion that Eve’s name can mean “serpent”; and (2) that the “deception” of Eve in Gen 3:13 has a sexual connotation. In regard to the first, the article linked to above refers to another article by Scott Layton. It is a technical discussion of Semitic morphology that shows the Semitic “Eve” is not the same as “serpent” (and so should not be understood that way, despite the fact that certain rabbis thought that way; NOTE: Just because a rabbi thought X doesn’t mean X is true or even sensible).
In regard to the second item, the graphic below. It is the search results for all forms of the lemma (root word) used in Gen 3:13. In no instance outside Gen 3:13 is there a sexual connotation to the deception — that therefore has to be invented and them superimposed on Gen 3:13.
But Mike, someone might say, what about 1 John 3:12 (“We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother”)? Being “of the evil one” here is the same metaphorical meaning as when Jesus told the Pharisees (note this comes from John’s gospel – same writer as 1 John) they were of “their father the devil” (John 8:44). So, was the serpent out screwing more women producing the Pharisees? (I can just sense the anti-Semitic “Jews are the spawn of Satan” answer for that one). Cain was “of the evil one” because he murdered his brother — he did evil. And let’s look at 1 John 3:12 in its context, shall we? If we take 1 John 3:12 as Cain being literally fathered by Satan, then *all of us* are also the spawn of Satan, since verse 8 of that same chapter says, “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil.” Since the same book (1 John 1:10) says that no one is without sin, I guess we were all spawned by Satan (even the people making the silly literal argument, unless they are somehow divine and not human [note: no “bloodlines” are mentioned in 1 John; its anyone who sins]). It’s obviously metaphorical.
Even thought the sources above are dense and for specialists, the one thought to take away in any event is simple enough: Just because a rabbi from antiquity said XYZ about Eve doesn’t mean what he says is true or coherent or at all grounded in sound philology (a word scholars use for nuts-and-bolts analysis of the morphology, grammar, and syntax of ancient texts). Arguments for interpreting ancient texts should always be about what’s actually in the text, not wordplays you can strike, ideas you can promote through such wordplays (like the Edenic fall is the woman’s fault), etc. While the apostle Paul says the woman was deceived (1 Tim 2:14), he places blame for humanity’s demise squarely on Adam (Romans 5; this is why Jesus is the “second Adam” – reversing the curse – not the “second Eve”). Frankly, it’s evil (not just paleobabble) to use the Bible to promote misogyny and anti-Semitic thinking.
Wow, now you claim it’s due to ancient misogynists. You’re still wrong. Cain has his own geneaology because he is not from Adam’s line. I suppose you subscribe to the belief that the “Sons of God” that procreated with the “Daughters of Men” were actually the sons of Seth? Who’s the misogynist in that scenario?
No, I’m the person objecting to the anti-semitism and misogyny of this idea. You must have gotten lost in the exchange (quite understandable).
It’s startling how much you don’t know about my views (I’m famous – or infamous – for rejecting the Sethite view). You couldn’t have put much effort into getting information about me and make that error.
When we look at the Old Testament are we looking at the same books as the Torah? I thought the Old Testament was a Greek rather interpretative account of the Books of the Torah. Is that correct or not? The Greeks saw all monsters as female and they may have written in their own views, so made Eve carry the blame.
I want to ask you another question and I don’t know where to put it but as it is about the old testament I’ll put it here. When I read the Greek version of the Old Testament that I have I don’t understand that God man humans “in his own image” but out of God’s idea or what God had in mind. Rather like if I build a chair “in my image” I don’t build one that looks like me but that looks like the idea I have in mind. What do you see in the Hebrew version (Torah)?
No, the OT as a whole and the Torah (the first five books of the OT) are not Greek in any way. You might be thinking of the fact that the Hebrew OT was translated into Greek (the Septuagint) between the third and first centuries BC.
On the image of God, see my video lecture here:
(the third video down)
I love your work Mr. Heiser. However i am looking for the Van Dyke Article pertaining to the Serpent, Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14.
Can’t seem to find it anywhere
the spelling is van dijk and it isn’t an article. It’s a book (Ezekiel’s Prophecy on Tyre…).