Chapter

Eve and the Account of Adam’s Demise: Social Performances of Death

Vita Daphna Arbel

in Forming Femininity in Antiquity

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199837779
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932351 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199837779.003.0004
Eve and the Account of Adam’s Demise: Social Performances of Death

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The chapter shows how several scenes, paralleling prevalent early Jewish and Christian exegetical traditions, depict Eve as accountable for inflicting death on Adam and all humanity. Simultaneously, other scenes subtly portray Eve as playing a beneficial role in the context of Adam’s death, such as caring for his body, mourning his decease, pleading for his soul, and witnessing his final ascent to heaven. The chapter demonstrates how these later portrayals resonate with a broad range of culturally esteemed funerary practices and conceptions associated with women, well established in the multicultural landscape in which the GLAE emerged. With attention to relations between social practices and narrativation, the chapter further suggests that, by associating Eve with valued funerary practices, the GLAE representations undermine traditions of Eve’s liability, emphasize countertraditions about her positive role in the aftermath of Adam’s death, and ultimately assert an ideological stance concerning the valued standing of Eve in the context of contrasting views.

Keywords: Adam’s death; Eve’s liability; women’s funerary practices; traditions and countertraditions

Chapter.  8818 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Christianity

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