Know Your History!
This book has been reissued as of December, 2009. Same book different cover.
Infamous Eve is for those who are interested in history, religious history, and especially the religious history of women. It begins with the Paleolithic religions, builds up by examining the background of the various people connected with the Hebrew Tribes who wrote the Genesis creation story, and follows through with the current scientific knowledge of DNA referred to as Genetic Eve. Infamous Eve, A History contains many legends, stories, and folktales__even that of Eve also being the snake in the Garden of Eden and it delves into the genetically induced response that has been handed down as a physical, emotional, and psychological inheritance to modern people. The seams of the historical records are ripped open to see the weave of the religious, economic, and political threads that have endlessly rolled out the same pattern of notions about Eve and her daughters.
By May Sinclair, PhD
Infamous Eve, A History
There are uncounted numbers of books that discuss the story about Eve’s and especially Adam’s role in the paradise world found in any modern Bible. Most of those books rightfully give the impression that the story was written in two pieces. It is also generally reported that one portion of the tale was written around 1000-900 BCE (before the current era) and the other between 600-500 BCE. Often the authors suggest that the actual impact of the legend only occurred during the first century CE (current era) when Christianity and Gnosticism were contending with each other for the hearts and souls of mankind. This book goes much further back to describe how our ancestors were affected by the many physical and mental conditions they confronted in their world. And why they fashioned their many and varied religious beliefs that has been endowed as an emotional legacy to modern humanity.
Although we must begin by reading the modern biblical account of Eve, as it is written in the first three chapters of Genesis, it is mandatory that we understand many of the stories in the Hebrew Bible originated from periods occurring back into pre-history. They were woven together to become a literary piece between 950 BCE and 70 CE. Redactors or editors compiled the works of many authors or schools of authors by grouping together diverse traditions to form a past for the Hebrew people. Taking several separate and different heritages they cut, overlaid, joined, and stitched those stories to tailor a new history for their people.
The sanctioned manuscripts of those stories and histories were lost when the Babylonians destroyed the Jerusalem Temple in 586 BCE. Efforts were made to bring the history of the Israelite nation back together when the Persians liberated the people who had been exiled in Babylonia. Re-written during the Persian occupation of Palestine after 458 BCE, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, referred to as the Torah or the Law, was officially canonized. No part of the Davidic monarchy history was included for the obvious reason that it would not have supported the Persian’s military presence.
Many additional books, containing different perspectives of both the Hebrew religion and history, were in circulation for several hundred years. Only some of those books, that expand the history found in the Torah, were selected to be added to it. After the Persian, Greek, and Roman invasions, when Jerusalem was in complete ruins, the process of official canonization of the entire Hebrew Bible__all thirty-nine Books__took place as late as one hundred years into the current era.
Many people would be delighted by the discovery of a solid independent myth that would prove the entire paradisiacal story found in Genesis was based on some legend that allows for a happier circumstance for mankind’s parents. Until around 1600 CE it was not safe for the Bible to be critically examined. Then scholars of ancient civilization filled two camps: one group included those who tried to prove the Bible is correct and the other overflowed with those hoping to disprove it. Then the arena of the historical scholar was impacted by the inclusion of women, who brought to it a different perspective. Those groups were augmented again by many wanting to prove it was the Goddess that once reigned supreme, all together generating excellent scholarship and ideas. Still, there is no currently known tale that can be said is the absolute underpinning for the biblical story. Until that occurs, we can only continue to dig as deeply as possible into the written records of history as well as learn what we can from pre-history to determine the cause of the author’s attitude when writing and then publishing the story of Eve, Adam, the serpent, and the Tree of Knowledge. Before we can begin to recount Eve’s position, our excavation demands that we look at how our planet Earth affected the genetic imprint of the first humans. Next we can examine the influence the Sumerians, Egyptians, and a number of Semitic and Aryan people had on the various tribes that joined together to be called Hebrews.
Eastern mysticism has intrigued the western mind whenever contact between those worlds has occurred. Perhaps that is a major reason why modern people often go from one extreme to the other when it comes to thinking of ancient people. We think they were ignorant and at the same time suspect they had secret knowledge well beyond our current abilities. Archeological evidence repeatedly proves the high level of sophistication of ancient people. Historians have shown that most of what we think we inherited from Greece was only reinvented or rediscovered by them. The Chinese invented the mechanical clock a thousand years before anyone else. Euclid’s geometry was a rediscovery. Pythagoras’ numbers were used by the Mesopotamians many hundreds of years earlier. Unlike the Babylonians, the Greeks considered 10,000 to be a large uncountable number. And yet, we do not actually grasp and understand what we could learn from the Greeks. Plato in his book Timaeus refers to four types of material from which all things are made. Each with its own shape or form. It is very recent indeed that we learned we have a genetic alphabet. Discovery of DNA has revealed there are four “letters” in it__each with its own shape and form. Even so, many remain in their belief that genetics only affects our physical selves and our emotions are a separate matter.
For us to understand why the folksy creation story, that included an inquisitive woman, a man, a wise serpent, the Tree of Life, the Tree of Knowledge, and an exacting God, was written we must first attempt to understand the beginnings of humankind. Right from the start of the human race there were different types of climatic conditions where various groups of people evolved. Those environments generated either a sense of security or the fear of survival. Fear, the negative sensation of unpleasant physical and mental experiences is one of humanities strongest emotions. Not having our needs or desires fulfilled or getting something not needed or desired by us generates fear. Every person on this planet has dealt with some form of mental, physical, or emotional experience causing their survival to be questioned. Difficult__even highly unacceptable__behaviors arise from survival fears. Our genetic make-up contains all the inner pharmacology to endure under the most adverse conditions. The chemicals created by our bodies, at the direction of our emotions, include adrenaline for fast action__to fight or take flight. We also produce endorphins, generating a sense of well-being.
Emotional impacts promoted various attitudes about the cosmology and theology of the people evolving in different parts of our globe. Some embraced the belief in loving deities, while others believed in divinities outside of themselves that were fickle and harsh. Those beliefs impacted the additional relative issue of matrilineal and patriarchal societies. Examination of all the beliefs and social customs are important to this book because the many tribes that merged together, forming Israel and Judah, included both sets of theological ideals from which they developed their society.
As you read this book you will see how less and less likely it is that the second part of the biblical creation story, or for that matter the first one, was written prior to its author being profoundly impressed by the Persians. And, of course, we do not know what the original story entailed because there were so many instances when those creation stories were over-written and edited. As the world-view of those with authority changed, the creation stories were altered to fit the latest notions of those in positions of power. That is why the actual stories about Eve are not told until Chapter Five. First we need to understand the who, how, why, and when of her story. Only then can we discover its initial purpose and force. Then finally can we understand the dynamics of Eve, along with those included in her story, that were and continue to be altered to fit into our ever changing world-view.
WHY WAS IT A SNAKE THAT ENTICED EVE?
“Now the serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild beasts that the Lord God Made.”
In the eleven English translations of the biblical Book of Genesis that I have used, there are six adjectives for the serpent or snake in the Garden of Eden: cunning, sly, crafty, subtle, smooth-tongued, and shrewd.
It was not until the 1st century of our current era that the snake was described as evil. Evil as a principle that was also depicted in the person of Satan. Yet, in numerous ancient myths the serpent was portrayed to be in opposition to the gods.
In the Book of Genesis were the authors of the story of Eve, Adam, and the serpent in Paradise describing a real snake? Some horrible creature that could walk and hear__perhaps speak__that was remembered from various race histories passed down through oral stories? Were they also using the serpent as a metaphor for the sensual, coiling, and undulating qualities of women? Women whom they believed used their innate characteristics of being cunning, crafty, sly, subtle, and shrewd, as well as sinuous, to wind their way around their victims for their own base and sensual purposes__misleading those innocents into sin?
The writers did mix those two components together, along with the element of re-birth anthropomorphically expressed in numerous mystical ideologies, to create a chilling tale of how excessive sensuality accompanied by a lack of morality caused woman to lose immortality and damn humanity. With a few well chosen words, the composers were able to minimize the cosmic issues by maximizing the genetically generated primal fears of their listeners__all the while metaphorically decrying the evil ways of women.
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The depiction of the snake, as related in Genesis, was not a reflection of the position of high esteem given to it in the Near Eastern cultures from the earliest oral histories throughout numbers of millennia. The serpent represented feminine Cosmic energy and wisdom. Some portion of the Levite priesthood did not want others to give out oracles and be considered wise, demanding that their version of religion be adhered to by all their brethren. But the question was: How to prevent them? The challenge was related and connected to women and the oracles of the serpent, so the answer was to make both immoral__sinful.
The emphasis on the serpent had to be moved from its positions of spiritual intimacy with the underworld and protective cosmic influence to become wickedness in order to achieve their purpose. Those who selected and redacted the paradisiacal story of creation hid the battles between those having secret esoteric knowledge and minimized the cosmic and chthonic. While especially championing the Median’s mythological notion that the serpent is an evil liar they strongly emphasized sexuality and the cellular memory fears of snakes held within human’s DNA.
The third chapter of Genesis certainly concerned Eve and Adam__common woman and man__who were not to become knowledgeable like the “gods”__the Elohim or Aleim. Thus the varying positions or perspectives of the different factions within the Gnostic movement were involved in selecting, if not actually writing, the story for inclusion in the canonized Bible. One underlying level of the story relates to a powerful Serpent, or Adept, offering Eve and Adam knowledge. But, rather than addressing the real issues that could get to the soul of the matter, the complaint was that humanity did not gradually learn esoteric knowledge through regular initiation. Instead, using its intuitional faculties prompted by the feminine serpent__depicted as woman and matter__they tasted and learned from the Tree of Knowledge. Humanity was able to freely gain its wisdom__ unlawfully.
WHAT ABOUT WIFE NUMBER ONE?
“And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
According to Genesis l:27-31 on the sixth day of creation, God made man and woman together. Humanity was His last action__after everything else was finished. Day l: Light; separation of night from day. Day 2: Separation of the waters creating earth and sky. Day 3: Separation of land from the water with the earth sprouting self-seeded vegetation. Day 4: Creation of sun, moon, stars, and planets. Day 5: Creation of animals, birds, and sea creatures. Day 6: And God created man in His image…male and female...
The timing of creating things varies in Genesis 2:5-22 where prior to man there was no vegetation or rain. First, God created man from the dust of the earth and then planted a garden where man was to be its caretaker. Only after man is in the garden does God create animals, fish, and birds__all to keep him company. Lastly, God creates the woman Eve, out of the side of the first man, Adam.
The first two chapters of Genesis contain distinct versions of creation. The second doublet written by “J”, having Aryan counterparts, states God first created man from the dust of the earth, breathing into him His own life’s breath. Seemingly a prelude to the second, longer, more detailed and homier version, it is in the majestic first creation doublet possibly written by the Mesopotamian and Canaanite influenced “P” group several hundred years after the second rendition that God simply created male and female in His image. Why stitch two versions, placed one right after the other, that still leave dangling important threads that could connect the God imaged couple to Adam, his wife Eve, the human soul, and also explain how his other wife Lilith fit into paradise?
Could it be a case of the redactors merging the customs of Judah and Israel? Was an addition made to concede to the scientific views at the time the Hebrew Bible was canonized? Does it concern the clashes of the different beliefs and politics of the Sadducees and Pharisees? All those factors were significant. But the political threads endlessly stitched onto economics still simply continued to roll out the same old pattern of notions that no matter their origin, women are inherently evil.
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Religion, like the cosmos, must grow and incorporate life as it is being lived by people or it will become inert, stagnate, and perish.
The second biblical creation doublet is most often said to be the earliest written. It is the Hebrew version of creation possibly taken from one of their, very likely Aryan, tribal groups. Or else it was borrowed from the Persians when the Hebrews were exiled to Babylonia. The word paradise is from the Persian language, the first male and female couple in a garden of Eden can be easily compared to Mashye and Mashyne, the first couple written about in the Persian Bundahishn, the serpent telling lies is seen in the Avesta, while the attitudes and beliefs about women that are often found in the biblical stories are reflections of the thoughts of the of patriarchal tribes of the Medes__specifically the Magi.
Although the first biblical creation doublet was inserted in front of the older story, it was written by a priestly group determined to hold the Hebrew or Jewish people together during, or perhaps, after their exile in Babylonia. They were offering solace, demanding cohesion, and using allegory to explain the esoteric principals of the cosmos__leaving yards of material for priestly and rabbinical interpretation.
When the Hebrew Bible was officially put together and canonized there were a number of ideas and ideals that may have required the first and second creation stories be included one after the other. The foremost position of those establishing the standard text came from the traditions of the tribe of Judah, the Davidic line, that proved the land belonged to the Jews. The second came from priestly factions__those spiritual and possibly genetic descendants of the same people who, like the Mesopotamians, Egyptian Sun-cults, and Medes, believed ritual was the way to obtain salvation. Another group ensured that knowledge about the atomic structure of the universe was imprinted yet concealed. All of the numerous points of view were included because of the various power bases of those who influenced the synod where the Hebrew Bible was canonized.
Without a doubt it was the Gnostic movement, primarily found in Alexandria, that brought Jewish beliefs into the western world. The cosmic story of Lilith was not intended to be understood by the masses so it was only implied in Genesis and given a different emphasis in Haggadah legend, making her relatively unknown. It was Eve who won the dubious honor of being the wife of Adam and mother of humanity__in an environment where many people believed they did not belong and made every effort to be released from this world.
Why did I write the book?
Two main reasons. The first was that I found several stories about Eve that I’d never heard of before and wanted everyone to know about them too. The second reason concerns the issue of free-will. Because I teach Dream Interpretation and Analysis I discover many of the inner conflicts people have that disturb their daily lives. Far too many people are plagued by an uneasy responsibility for exercising their free-will to experience life__wordly pleasures__rather than being good. Like Eve and Adam they do not choose to be ignorant. They willfully make choices that they believe are bad. I wrote the book to show that life can be good when fear is removed. A person’s idea of what is moral is a major part of her or his life. Choices are made on that basis. Should a person believe another’s existence or need is more important, life decisions are made that might be unhealthy for the people involved.
Women have been used by society to continue the status quo.
Women teach each other. Also, they are usually the ones who teach small children. As long as they believe the stories that are ever perpetuated they will continue to pass on that information. All people have a strong desire to be thought of as decent and respectable. As long as women believe they are too talkative, not very smart, are nosey, and that their ideas and interests are not as important as those of men, society remains the same.
How does the biblical story about Eve effect people today?
Without a doubt that story continues to impact modern society. Even today some Christians say there is no literature available to complement the biblical stories because everything was destroyed during religious wars. As we are shocked by that half-truth which has been refuted by historians for over four hundred years we are confronted by people who firmly believe that menstrual cramps and child-birth pains are the Will of God! While the Bible remains the best selling book of all it is impossible to gape in wonder, shake one’s head, and leave those stories alone so misinformation can be perpetuated for yet another generation.
How does the book educate?
It goes right back to when people started to evolve. I examine the influences on the people who wrote and then used the biblical story. I unravel the physical, emotional, psychological, scientific, political, and, economic threads to see how our culture has used and continues to use the story for the benefit of a few.
TRUE OR FALSE?
Eve has been considered the mother of everyone.
True, but the scientific evidence of the late 19th century forced religious groups to say that Neanderthal man was the Adam created by God prior to being given a soul. They further suggested Adam was supernaturally produced through the womb of an ape, which would make Eve, the mother of all living, to be, rather than supernaturally created like Adam, just an ape.
The belief in Eve’s universal motherhood has been used to both honor women and to defame them, which is a testament of humankind’s paradoxical ability to hold and believe two completely separate and opposed, even contradictory, views in their minds at the same time. But since each one of those separate beliefs are often held in their conscious and sub-conscious parts, people are not inevitably experiencing emotional or mental health.
Eve has been used to constrain women.
True. Even today many religious groups teach that women are to be bound to men, especially, regarding marriage and children. That is a big problem for a very high percentage of women because it lessens their ability to achieve a higher level of self-worth.
The situation shows up in the fact that unmarried women are the largest demographic group in the United States that do not vote. Out of the one hundred and sixty countries that currently allow women the right to vote there were only five prior to 1907. It took an additional fifty years for another one hundred and fourteen countries to acknowledge women’s right to franchise and during the past fifty years there has been a 26% increase in women gaining the right to actually vote for the politicians who control much of their lives. Still, both married and unmarried women endure the same inequities in pay and promotions at work.
Women have been forced into monogamy ever since men discovered they had a part in procreation around 9000 BCE. The story of Eve perpetuates the on-going belief that women are responsible for their travails in life but especially concerning sex leading to procreation. That responsibility arose when Eve supposedly made a choice for knowledge and understanding rather than paradisiacal ignorance and acceptance. Of course that is intertwined with the belief that man must be held accountable for his acts of begetting children. The pattern fashioned is one that demands accountability for both parties based on what each brings to their sexual union. Woman is accountable for her sexual curiosity and man for succumbing to his own physical desire to participate__an endless cycle of creation that ultimately breeds itself.
There is a current psychological theory that life-lessons not resolved by a family in their past generations will continue to be passed down the line until someone in that group of genetic relatives finally understands and changes the pattern of prior behaviors. Illegitimate births are a major family secret that causes anxiety. The lesson is to stop being frightened and to refuse to keep secrets that prevent whole families from experiencing life freely. Especially secrets about females who have babies outside a marital relationship.
Most of the biblical history has been written about the men…heroes. Though, those heroes were mostly war mongers, taking land that belonged to others, murders to get or keep their heart’s desires, and without a doubt control freaks. Biblical women’s stories get little press, other than what supports the status quo.
In the biblical stories the women…even those important enough to be named…are rather silent. Not a circumstance commonly held about females. Although Eve has a rather short conversation with the serpent in the Book of Genesis, what she did say has been used by theologians throughout the ages to decry the chattiness of women. But since a great deal of her part in that story is implied rather than said it is likely Eve and her daughters would be condemned without her uttering a single word.
The biblical stories were edited often. The Egyptians believed that words were made up of cosmic material. So changing the written word actually changed the event. That belief was borrowed by the Hebrews creating a religiously approved and politically expedient perspective from which they could re-write and alter the history of their tribes.
The stories in the Bible were often based on dissimilar traditions that were cut apart and reassembled to represent and conform to a patriarchal life-style that had an exacting male god in charge of everyone. Those women__and men__who did not agree with the sentiments of that moral position where always denigrated and often killed. The word Qedeshah means a scared woman. Zonah can mean either prophetess or prostitute. The biblical prophets often described the women who worshipped a goddess with those terms; however, neither of those words was used until after 550 BCE.
In Plato’s book Timaeus there are four types of material from which all things are made. With the discovery of DNA and being able to use mitochondrial DNA sequences we know DNA is composed of only four letters.
Shamanism occurred in both hunting and agricultural societies. The hunter-gatherer’s interpretation of an experience while within a trance state was of their soul traveling to another realm of the cosmos. The more complex agricultural societies believed that the person experiencing the ecstasy within trance was being joined or replaced by a deity coming into their body. Both types of experience and theological perspective are found in biblical texts.