Adam and Eve: Gender Representations in the Bible

4 April 2015
This paper compares gender asymmetry in the Bible and in a 16th-century engraving.

This paper compares engraver Albrecht Durer?s 16th-century visual representation of Adam and Eve as an example of of gender roles in the Bible with the text of the creation story as told in Genesis.
“Through its dual account of the creation of Eve, the Bible reflects the conflicting nature of society’s perception of woman. On one hand, she is man’s equal partner, his wife and the mother of his children. On the other, she is secondary to him, inferior in both mind and body. In addition to its occurrence in Biblical literature, evidence of this dual nature of womanhood can be found in our culture’s visual history. By studying various artists? renditions of scenes from Genesis, it is apparent that there are two perceptions of Eve that correspond to the double nature of women: equal and non-equal. Durer’s Adam and Eve is rife with these examples of dichotomy. In his engraving, Durer depicts the couple in the Garden of Eden the moment before Eve accepts the apple from the serpent. Whereas certain aspects of the composition point out the physical similarities between Adam and Eve, there are also hints at an implicit hierarchy between the genders. This mixture of equality and inequality underlines the conflict in Genesis: while the likeness between Adam and Eve is reminiscent of the first, simultaneous creation story, their differences reflect the gender asymmetry that characterizes the second creation myth.”
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