Religion and Gender – A Reflection on the Biblical Creation Accounts

American Journal of Social Issues and Humanities 2 (1) (2012)
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It is the view of most people who claim the authoritative nature of the Bible that, women’s assigned secondary status in relation to men is ordained and supported in the Bible. Many have quoted different texts of the holy writ to support their culturally-biased position on issue of gender equality. Most often views in respect to gender issues are culturally-based and interpreted rather than divinely-based and interpreted. There is therefore the need to look back at Jesus’ words, “But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.” (Matt 19:4; Mark 10:6). The two accounts in the Book of Genesis by the Priestly and Yahwistic strands give a complimentary account of the creation of humankind (both male and female) in the image and likeness of God and their creation from a single stock (<d*aº*) who was not a male gender. At a cursory reading of the creation accounts, one will tend to see <d„`ah*³ as the male gender, but looking at the Hebrew text more closely it will be noticed that the Hebrew words hV*aÍ !and vya !were only introduced after the two genders have been separated. Note carefully that it was not vya! that was asked to tend the garden, who named the animals, was given instruction of what to eat or what not to eat, who fell into a deep sleep or whose ribs was used in the creation of hV*aÍ!, but it was <d„`ah*³ . It was after the creation or ‘separation’ of hVÍ*a ! (woman – the female <d„`ah*³) that the other part was called vya ! (man – the male <d„`ah*³) (see vv 23 & 24). It will therefore not be right to speak of the creation of hV*aÍ ! out of vya!, because as at the time of the creation of the former, the later was not in existence as vya ! To view these creation accounts with the sense of gender superiority (either male over female or vice versa) is to read the texts using lenses which have been obscured and tainted by patriarchal, matriarchal or cultural biases.


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