Representations of Eve: Forming Femininity

Vita Daphna Arbel

in Forming Femininity in Antiquity

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199837779
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932351 | DOI:
Representations of Eve: Forming Femininity

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Employing gender as a category of historical and literary analysis, chapter 2 examines how conflicting GLAE representations of Eve reveal certain underlying constructions of femininity: a number of scenes present Eve as a feminized image of heresy and sin while other scenes, in sharp contrast, subtly present her as a feminized model of orthodoxy and righteousness. With a focus on gender formation, it demonstrates that in these conflicting roles, Eve is also associated with different feminine characteristics and conduct: As a disobedient and heretical figure, Eve is typically characterized as irreverent of male authority and as sexually unbound, while as an orthodox and faithful figure, Eve is characterized as compliant and totally devoted to the familial duties of motherhood and wifehood. The chapter further suggests that, in large part, this representation functions culturally. It appears to ultimately promote and normalize a specific hegemonic perception of “accepted” and “rejected” femininity and stipulates and ascertains for the GLAE writers and audience what it means to be a “good” or “bad” woman.

Keywords: gender construction; heresy; orthodoxy; femininity; domesticity/reverence; unbound sexuality/nonconformity

Chapter.  6881 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Christianity

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