The Visions of Eve, Conceptualizations of Women, and Parallel Discourses

Vita Daphna Arbel

in Forming Femininity in Antiquity

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199837779
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932351 | DOI:
The Visions of Eve, Conceptualizations of Women, and Parallel Discourses

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The chapter directs attention to the GLAE representation of Eve as a privileged visionary and explores its possible subversive purposes. The chapter demonstrates how several scenes characterize Eve as beholding visions of God and his chariot, gazing at celestial angelic rituals, and witnessing divine mysteries. It further shows that this unique depiction employs three formulaic themes and tropes embedded in a variety of sources from the Second Temple period onward that are typically associated with a series of “ideal figures” normally males such as scribes, priests, and seers—utilized to emphasize their worthiness, authoritative status, and high position. The chapter posits that the GLAE representation of a visionary Eve is not value neutral. Rather, by employing these stock themes and tropes, it implicitly casts Eve as one of these ideal figures and associates her with their virtues and standing. Moreover, this representation seems to subvert established traditions concerning Eve’s inferiority, carnality, and limitations as well as women’s inability to access realms of holiness. It thus epitomizes a sophisticated method of asserting an ideological stance about Eve’s/women’s high spiritual status and capabilities in the context of competing Jewish and Christian traditions.

Keywords: tropes; visions of God; visions of the chariot-throne; celestial rituals; divine secrets; ideal figures; subversive traditions

Chapter.  7708 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Christianity

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