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Eve (חַוָּה) was the legendary first female human and Adam's wife. She was brought into being some time during Creation Week and initially lived in the Garden of Eden with her husband. After "the fall" the two were exiled from the Garden and settled somewhere to the east of Eden.
Eve has taken most of the blame for the Fall of Man, since she gave Adam the forbidden fruit of sin, allegorically "tempting" Adam with her sexual presence. Historically, this has given a theological justification for the poor treatment of women in many Christian countries.
The myths of Eve and the entire Garden were and remain important to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and the myth itself provides foundation for the way the Western and middle Orient societies have viewed women.
 Biblical Myth
The story of Eve is recounted in the second of the two Biblical accounts of Creation, in Genesis 2-3. God, having created all the world, has crowned his achievement with Adam, the first man. Adam is perfect and happy, enjoying an idyllic but solitary existence. He had no problems, except perhaps the mystery of his testicles ("What are these even for?")
To help Adam in his solitude, God obligingly created all of the animals and crammed them into the Garden of Eden with the First Man. Adam gave them all names ("There are how many species of beetles?!"), but it was not enough to cure his growing loneliness.
God finally determined to make a companion for Adam, and so he caused him to fall asleep, plucked out a rib, and used it to create a new creature. Adam called it a "woman," and her name was Eve.
All was well in Eden for a time. Adam and Eve are said to have been naked and unashamed, which many have interpreted to mean "celibate." They ate of the fruit of the trees, and occupied themselves with whatever is done by people who neither have sex nor cook. Unfortunately, a serpent (typically seen as Satan) decided to interfere. There was a tree in the center of the garden that the couple had been instructed to leave alone - God had commanded them that they "must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
The serpent told eve that God had forbidden this fruit because if the First Couple ate it, they would become like gods, full of knowledge about good and evil. And because the fruit was "good to the eye," and she was tempted by wisdom, Eve ate of the fruit. It is not listed what type of fruit it was, although it is popularly associated with the apple and pomegranate.
|“||“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”||”|
Eve also gave some of the fruit to Adam, and he ate it without hesitating. When they had both eaten from the forbidden fruit, knowledge came upon them, and they realized that they were naked and that this was shameful. They sewed fig leaves together to form garments to hide their nakedness.
God, curiously uninformed for an omniscient deity, was unable to find the humans when he went for a stroll in the Garden at twilight. God still strolled back then, having only recently been elevated from typical Bronze Age polytheism. He deduced that Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, disobeying his express command.
Greatly wroth, God cast the couple out of the Garden and cursed both them and the serpent. Eve was cursed with painful childbirth, and demoted from equal companion to submissive subordinate, and both she and Adam would now be mortal, subject to death and pain. God cast them out of Eden, and set an angel with a flaming sword to guard the entrance.
“”“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."
Adam and Eve went out into the hard world, began farming and copulating, and founded the human race. And having discovered both sandwiches and oral sex, they probably didn't feel all that much regret.
In the both Jewish and Christian canonical scriptures, Eve's story ends without much fanfare. However, there are other references to her that have been written by Jewish and Christian authors perhaps as blatant fiction or supposed fact. The Book of Jubilees mentions two daughters Awan and Azura, who became the wives of Cain and Seth respectively in this explicitly incestuous variant of the story. In Genesis it is unexplained who their wives were or where they came from.
 Eve's possible roots
Like many of the Genesis stories, the story of the Garden of Eden, and specifically Eve's role in ticking off the god, possibly has its roots in the story of Ninhursag, a Sumerian myth that preceded the Biblical tale. In the Sumerian version, the goddess Ninhursag created a beautiful garden that she cherished. She told her husband, Enki, that it would be his duty to tend the garden. He got bored and assigned his lover, Adapa, to the task. Adapa tended the garden, but foolishly harvested some of Ninhursag's special forbidden fruit, to give to Enki. Ninhursag found out and punished them both. After calming down, Ninhursag took a rib from Enki and made him a new lover/guardian from the rib.
The parallels are obvious. It's also obvious that the Sumerians went forward in time and copied the divinely-inspired true story of the Jews. Crafty Sumerians!
 First woman?
Jews, Christians and Muslims maintain that Eve was the first woman created by God according to the Bible. However some Aprophyical writings have another version of the fable. In the Babylonian Talmud God first creates a woman named "Lilith". Babylonian myths seem to associate Lilith to a race of demons. However, there are arguments made (both from the "Women ruled the world once" crowd of Eisler's fame, and the more realistic arguments made by religion scholars that have documented the demonization of female figures throughout mythic and factual history) that women who held roles of power, either mythic or real world power were demonized as matriarchal cultures became more patriarchal. Nevertheless, the myth of Lilith exists in several non-Biblical, Abrahamic sources such as Song of the Sage a book found amonst the Dead Sea Scrolls , suggesting she might have been part of the mythic stories about Eve to explain the existence of people other than the Israelites.
 Eve as scapegoat
To many, the bibical story of Eve has had a single purpose: to blame woman for the fall of mankind. Eve caused original sin by acceding to temptation and eating the forbidden fruit, and then brought Adam into her sin by offering some to him. Eve was foolish and sinful, and by extension so are all women. Thus, a fanciful myth becomes the justification to subjugate an entire gender.
It is important to note two things about this scapegoating of poor Eve:
- In the actual story from Genesis, Eve is not a great temptress. In fact she does no tempting at all, just hands Adam the fruit. The idea that she is a "temptress" comes predominantly from oral tradition and later interpretation, which sought to put the greatest possible blame on the "inferior" woman.
- Despite this, God does blame Eve and specifically relegates her to secondary status. The injustice comes right from the top.
 Eve as a symbol
The figure of Eve has been long had connotations of temptation, in keeping with her traditional role in the story. In part, Eve represents the dark side of women and the sinful nature of man, as the first sinner. But even further, she is a dichotomy unto herself as the embodiment of both sides of a false duality that has been established for women: the choice between ingenue and fallen woman. For much of history, women were seen as virginal Eve in the Garden, a figure of virtue and innocence rivaled only by Jesus' mother Mary, or sinful Eve in the dust of the earth, a "used" woman whose own New Testament parallel would be Mary Magdalene. This duality is found throughout literature, but was also present in the social structure of Western and Middle Eastern society, justified by myth. A woman's value was defined by her sexual status.
 Mitochondrial Eve
There was a very real sort of "Eve," called the Mitochondrial Eve, who lived around 150,000 years ago. Every living human can trace their matrilineal ancestry to her, although this is more of an artifact of genetics than any mark of personal importance for this anonymous ancestor. She probably lived in Kenya in the Great Rift Valley.
 See also
- ↑ She is not actually given her official name until after they were cursed, but for ease of discussion this is generally ignored.
- ↑ World of Warcraft, we're guessing.
- ↑ Jubilees IV, online text at Sacred-Texts.com.
- ↑ http://www.gatewaystobabylon.com/gods/partnerships/enkininhur3.html
- ↑ Ah, for the days when women were the gods in charge!
- ↑ Generally believed to be written between 400BCE and 200 BCE, which can be compared to the dating of the Hebrew canon around 600 BCE, and the scrolls upon which the creation story was originally invented which might be as old as 1200 BCE.
- ↑ "Lilith in the Dead Sea Scrolls", Jewish Christian Literature
- ↑ Sex, Gender and religion. J. Butler. pg 104
- ↑ http://www.raceandhistory.com/cgi-bin/forum/webbbs_config.pl/noframes/read/665