Flesh of My Flesh – Greek Patristic Exegeses of the Creation of Eve

Flesh of My Flesh – Greek Patristic Exegeses of the Creation of Eve

Karras, Valerie A.

St. Nina Quarterly, Volume 2, No. 1


Genesis contains two at times mutually contradictory accounts of creation. The first one, the so-called priestly (or P) narrative, extends from Gen. 1:1 to 2:4 and relates the progression of creation in a systematic, basically “evolutionary” manner which culminates with humanity. This is the account in which God makes humanity in His own image, male and female, and gives him dominion over the earth. In their exegesis of Gen. 1:27 – “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them” (NRSV) – the Greek Fathers stress the common divine inheritance of male and female created in God’s image. They interpret the phrase “male and female he created them” in an inclusive, not a descriptive or normative, sense. In other words, they do not understand gender to be an aspect of God’s image in humanity; rather, they interpret the verse to include both man and woman in the full reception of God’s image.The second (although chronologically older), or Yahwist, account, Gen. 2:4 to 2:25, places the creation of humanity, Adam, before that of any other life form, plant or animal. Woman, on the other hand, is created after all other beings, in the manner related by the colorful account quoted above.

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