Adam and Eve and the problem of pervasive myths about women…


Elaine Lawless did ‘ethnographic work’ with a number of women in a shelter for abused women. She writes:

“The religious and cultural significance of the biblical story of Adam and Eve and their behaviors in the Garden of Eden has serious repercussions even in the post-modern context of contemporary society. Both ‘religious’ and nonreligious citizens in the United States, and certainly many persons even globally, know this story and could recite a version of it without much trouble – whether it is part of their ‘creation myth’ or not.” (238)

Lawless takes a pretty strong stance, at times generalising from the specific without supporting these leaps in consequent argument. However, her points are worth considering… what relevance does the Garden of Eden story have? How is it used? How many ways is it told? How is it rewritten? What myths tell a different story (are they used to challenge the Garden of Eden story?)?

Ref: Elaine Lawless (2003) ‘Woman as Abject: resisting cultural and religious myths that condone violence.’ Western Folklore.  62(4)Fall; 237-269


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