IT’S A MISTAKE to believe that God created Eve from one of Adam’s ribs, according to some Bible experts.
Hold onto your hats, this is going to get a bit rank.
A new theory is that the Genesis writer intended his readers to understand that God made Eve from Adam’s penis bone.
The technical word for the body part is baculum, a bone found in the penis of many mammals born with placentas. But not in humans.
Gorillas have it. So do chimpanzees. Men do not.
I hesitate to write about this theory because it feels like a perfect topic for a “Saturday Night Live” routine about what goes on in Bible colleges and seminaries. There are so many jokes that pop up.
But it’s no joke to Bible scholars. You can read about this theory in the current issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April, 2016, in an article titled “Creating Women,” by Mary Joan Winn Leith, chair of religious studies at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts.
The problem Bible scholars say they have with the word “rib,” is that no one used that word to describe Adam’s body part until a group of Jews translated their Hebrew Bible into Greek, the international language of the day in Roman times.
In the original Hebrew language, the writer says God took “one of the man’s tselaot” (Genesis 2:21). Nowhere else in the Bible is the tesela (singular version of plural teslaot) a rib. Instead, it describes the “side” of a building or the “side” of a hill.
As the argument goes, “side” is a polite way of referring to a man’s whatchamacallit. In other words, it’s a euphemism. Most scholars agree there are several other euphemisms in the Bible that refer to a man’s youknowwhat.
The most common is the word “thigh.” Instead of swearing an oath on the Bible, which didn’t exist at the time, men would swear an oath on each other’s thingamajig.
That’s what many Old Testament Bible experts say Abraham required from his trusted servant, whom he sent on a mission to find a wife for his son Isaac:
“Abraham said to his oldest servant, the man in charge of his household, ‘Take an oath by putting your hand under my thigh’” (Genesis 24:2).
Students of the Bible who support this new theory argue that if God had created Eve from one of Adam’s ribs, men would have one rib less than the women do. But they don’t. Men are however missing a penis bone.
Now folks, you are probably not going to talk about this in your Sunday school class. But if you do, you won’t be quite as shocked then as you are now.
If it helps, New Testament writers played up the idea of creation from Adam’s rib. They said they saw a connection between Adam’s rib and Jesus’s side, which a Roman soldier pierced with a spear during the crucifixion (John 19:34).
Bishop John Chrysostom (AD 347-407) described the connection this way:
“As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to create a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to create the church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death” (Baptismal Instruction 3.17).
Throughout the New Testament, writers describe the church as a woman: “Husbands…love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
So it seems that some of these early scholars believed that just as Adam gave birth to a woman from his side, Jesus gave birth to a woman from his.
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