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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Forming Femininity in Antiquity: Eve, Gender, and Ideologies in the Greek Life of Adam and Eve
Arbel, Vita Daphna

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012 pp. xvii + 232. $74.00


Description: 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.

Subjects: Bible, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Pseudepigrapha, Literature, Methods, Ideological Critique, Feminist Approaches

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Review by F. Scott Spencer
Published 6/20/2014
Citation: F. Scott Spencer, review of Vita Daphna Arbel, Forming Femininity in Antiquity: Eve, Gender, and Ideologies in the Greek Life of Adam and Eve, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2014).


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