Andrew Cort explains how most current translations of the story of Adam and Eve get it wrong.
A NEW LOOK AT ADAM & EVE: Part 1 – “The Rib”
The story of Adam and Eve is the foundational story of western civilization, and I believe it has been terribly misinterpreted with devastating results for us all. Let’s take a fresh look:
The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘Adam’ is actually a gender-neutral word that means ‘a creature of earth’. In other words, Adam was initially created neither Male nor Female.
The creature was placed in the Garden and given only one restriction – not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Adam lived a quiet, comfortable, and all but purposeless life in the Garden, tending the flora and distributing names to the animals. But God saw that Adam was alone with no emotional life, no tension, hardship or struggle. So God decided to put Adam to sleep and separate it into Male and Female in order to provide an emotionally meaningful life for humanity.
Here is an extremely important point: The Hebrew word tsela appears many times in the Bible. With one exception it is translated as ‘side’, typically referring to the side walls of important structures such as the Tabernacle. On one occasion only, here in Genesis, tsela is translated as ‘rib’.
This unique translation has had horrendous repercussions.
But if we give the word the same meaning that it has on every other occasion, the story makes more sense. God took one side of the creature and out of this he made Eve, the woman, and the other side became Adam, the man – where neither had existed before. The ‘One’ has become ‘Two’, and there is nothing in this description to indicate anything other than perfect equality.
The isolation of one human creature can now be replaced with a new form of wholeness that is attainable through love and erotic longing between two individuals.
One possible reason for the early translator’s choice of the word ‘rib’ in this one place is that by taking a rib God revealed the Heart of the creature, analogous to opening Pandora’s Box, thus bringing emotions (which are universally symbolized by the Feminine) into the realm of human life. Like Pandora’s story, this is where pain and difficulty enter the world, but also happiness and meaning, and only then do mortal beings become moral beings with the ability to make choices and mistakes, and thus to evolve and grow.
Even if we retain the word ‘rib’ as the translation of tsela, we see that this rib did not come from a previously created male, thereby suggesting some sort of primacy for the ‘man’. On the contrary, the rib came from a previously created earth creature of no gender.
And in fact, the Woman, Eve, in the story, was created before the Man!
Don’t miss Andrew’s previous features on the blog:
About Andrew Cort
Andrew Cort is an expert on the inner message of Spiritual Awakening that is always ready to be found in the wonderful stories of the Bible and Greek Mythology. To receive several FREE GIFTS from Dr. Cort(a copy of Chapter One, ‘Making the Decision’, from his new book, THE DOOR IS OPEN; a copy of his article on RECONCILING SCIENCE AND RELIGION; and a complete version of the Bible’s erotic masterpiece, SONG OF SONGS , adapted as a Poetic Dialogue to be read out loud by lovers; as well as a subscription to his SPIRITUAL GROWTH NEWSLETTER) click here http://www.andrewcort.com/Gifts . You can also learn more on his blog, Spirituality and Religion.
A native of Boston (and life-long Red Sox fan) who came of age in the turbulent 1960’s, Dr. Andrew Cort has followed a uniquely versatile path through life. He received his Bachelor’s Degree (in English) and Master’s in Teaching (Science Education) from Colgate University. He then went on to receive a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree from New York Chiropractic College (he practiced in New York City for ten years, focusing on nutrition, exercise, applied kinesiology, and the mind’s impact on physical health), as well as a Law Degree from Boston College Law School (he is a member of the Massachusetts Bar). During his years in New York, Dr. Cort served on the Executive Board of H.E.A.L., Inc. (“Health Education AIDS Liaison”) and wrote his first book, on issues of health care and the environment,Our Healing Birthright: Taking Responsibility for Ourselves and Our Planet (Inner Traditions, 1990, currently out of print)
Deeply committed to education, spirituality, and activism, Dr. Cort has taught in a variety of colleges and schools, private and public, including The State University of New York in Morrisville, NY; Bay State College, in Boston, MA; The Desisto School, in Stockbridge, MA (a private school for troubled youth); Berkshire Community College, in Pittsfield, MA; and the Springfield Public School System, in Springfield, MA. Dr. Cort has taught courses in Mathematics, Physics, English, Mythology, Business Law, General Science, and English.
In addition to academic studies in literature, science, law and mathematics, he has studied the work of many spiritual traditions — from the Bible, Plato, the Qur’an, Dante, etc., to contemporary teachers including G.I. Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, Rudolf Steiner, Paul Brunton, Anthony Damiani, Sri Aurobindo, Mme. Blavatsky, Oscar Ichazo, and others.
Dr. Cort is the author of numerous books and articles on religion, spirituality, mythology, politics, history, science, education and healing, and how these all relate to contemporary American culture. Following in the tradition of Socrates, he considers himself a student, and not a teacher, of these extraordinary thinkers, philosophers, mystics, and writers. His work invites readers to study along with him.
He is also the Host of Spirit of the Berkshires on CTSB-TV, and available worldwide on Vimeo.com and on http://www.andrewcort.com. Also on there (and on YouTube) is his series of short videos on The Sacred Feminine: Women in the Bible.
Andrew Cort lives in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, and can be reached at Andrew@AndrewCort.com. He is an accomplished, energetic, and articulate public speaker, and is available for interviews and speaking engagements.
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About The Door Is Open
The door is always open. The light is always ready to receive us. But we have to learn how to tread the path.
Fortunately for us, all of the wonderful myths and legends of ancient Greece, as well as all the sacred and beautiful stories of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, have the common aim of showing us, through symbols and allegories, a practical method for reaching spiritual enlightenment, for returning ‘home’.
THE DOOR IS OPEN describes the seven precise steps that are revealed in all great mythology and scripture, along with enjoyable and effective spiritual exercises and activities that are suitable for individual seekers or groups of friends working together.
This is a story that has been lost and forgotten, even though the entire tale has been right before our eyes the whole time. Buy it from Amazon for your Kindle here or get the print copy here. Or, check it out on Goodreads.
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