Revista Studii Teologice


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"Femeia în referatul creaţiei – elemente de antropologie"

The Woman in the Biblical Account of Creation: Elements of Anthropology

Autor(i): Daniela BOLOZAN

Abstract: The Woman in the Biblical Account of Creation: Elements of Anthropology
Starting from an exegesis of the Hebrew text of the biblical account of the creation – as literal, objective and especially freed from outdated notions rooted in the Jewish tradition as possible – I have endeavoured to answer questions posed throughout the times, concerning the feminine anthropology. Is woman anthropologically equal or inferior to man, does she rank second within the creation? Is she equally made in the image of God? Is the text of Genesis 3, 16 an argument for subjecting her, in the sense and ways she has been humiliated, oppressed, deprived of the rights due to her as a being created in the image of God?
In order to answer this question, we must first settle a great confusion over the term אָדָם, a confusion maintained by faulty translations, as I am convinced that the correct interpretation of this term may provide the key to many anthropological issues.
According to the Hebrew-English dictionary, אָדָם signifies „the human being”, „mankind”, thus having a collective, generic meaning. The term אָדָם is not actually a proper name, but the generic name given to the human race. Up to the text of Genesis 4, 25, where Adam is first employed as a proper noun, the term אָדָם has an exclusively collective meaning, which implies that both man and woman were created in the image of God. They both received the blessing to breed, they were both, equally and indiscriminately, commanded to have dominion, not one over the other, but together over the rest of God’s creation. Imago Dei is not a masculine privilege, but concerns the human being, man and woman. Thus, an ontological equality of man and woman is clearly postulated in the first chapter of the Genesis and, as we shall see, in the second chapter as well. The traditional notion, shared by the vast majority of Christian commentators and theologians before the 20th century, is that, according to the second chapter of the Genesis, the woman was created with inferior nature to man’s, due to the fact that she was made out of his rib and brought to life later, hence her exclusion from any type of leadership or authority within the family, Church, or society. Traditional interpretations of this account suggest that the woman, called „helper” in verse 2, 18, is merely an assistant or a subordinate helping her master or superior. However, they ignore the fact that Hebrew language does not imply such a connotation. Being a „helper” is not an unimportant role, as God Himself is called a „helper” in several Old Testament texts. The term עֵזֶר – „helper”, frequently appears in biblical accounts next to the name of God, as the one who helps and saves the Jewish people (Exodus 18, 1; Deuteronomy 33, 7, 26; Psalms 33, 20; 70, 5; 115, 9, 10, 11). As this term is most often associated with God, it cannot designate inferiority. And if we accepted the notion of an ambivalent connotation of the term „helper”, as expressing both equality and inferiority, associating this term with the adverbial preceded by the preposition כְּ, כְּנֶגְדּוֹ, which is translated as „suitable/meet for him”, establishes a non-hierarchical relationship between man and woman, and implies the notion of equality.
The woman was not subordinate to man upon creation, but only after the fall, when God announced her punishment, by which her husband rules over her (Genesis 3, 16).
It is only in Christ that woman may be truly honoured as a being created in the image of God. It is in the perspective of mankind’s recapitulation in Christ, as God and Man, that we must understand the antinomic words of the Holy Apostle Paul: „There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3, 28) and „...woman is not independent of man, or man of woman, in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 11, 11).

Pagini: pp. 81-100