In Forming Femininity in Antiquity, Vita Daphna Arbel investigates depictions of the emblematic Eve that are embedded in one of the most influential accounts of Adam and Eve after the Hebrew Bible, namely the apocryphal Greek Life of Adam and Eve (GLAE) from antiquity. Treating the figure of Eve as a culturally constructed representation of ''woman,'' Arbel examines a crucial transformative stage in the literary and conceptual discourse of Eve, with a focus on several pivotal issues that have not been looked at in previous scholarship. She offers a nuanced analysis of the GLAE's multifaceted and at times contradictory portrayals of Eve and, by extension, women. She also situates these depictions in the hybrid Greco-Roman cultural world in which they emerged, and discusses the extent to which they both reflect and construct contemporaneous overlapping and competing concepts and norms regarding Eve/women's standing, role, authority, and realms of experiences. Finally, Arbel examines how the GLAE's representations of Eve/women resonate with later Jewish and Christian traditions, which often characterize the figure of Eve in accordance with views that are embedded in the GLAE, rather than in Genesis.
Vita Daphna Arbel is Associate Professor of Biblical and Early Jewish Literature and Mysticism at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
"Vita Daphna Arbel's methodologically sophisticated study of the figure of Eve breaks new ground by bringing cultural questions to bear on the Life of Adam and Eve.
It shows an impressive mastery of traditional scholarship, but also brings the material into interdisciplinary study of the humanities. This should prove to be a landmark study."
--John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament, Yale University
"This fascinating book brings a multidisciplinary feminist perspective to the critical study of the Greek Life of Adam and Eve,
to show how this text engages with the biblical figure of Eve, with other ancient images of Eve, and with the notions of gender and femininity in the early centuries CE. This book is a major contribution to the study of GLAE,
and to our understanding of women in antiquity."
--Adele Reinhartz, author of Why Ask My Name? Anonymity and Identity in Biblical Narrative
"Thought-provoking and erudite...Arbel's documentation and analysis of the myriad dynamic and fluid cultural traditions, conventions, ideologies, and gender conceptions surrounding and emerging out of the GLAE
narrative is fascinating and the move beyond purely theological implications long overdue."--H-Judaic
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