The Guilty Pair | CBE International

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The Guilty Pair

Couple walking trees
On March 08, 2014

In a recent blog at newlife.id.au/christian-theology/blaming-eve-alone, The CBE Scroll’s own Margaret Mowczko has written a piece titled, “Blaming Eve Alone,” in which she summarizes an article by Julie Faith Parker (“Blaming Eve Alone: Translation, Omission, and Implications of עמה in Genesis 3:6b,”Journal of Biblical Literature, winter 2013; see here). I found Margaret’s blog especially interesting and helpful, and I’ve therefore chosen to build on it here.

Genesis 3:6 is quite clear that Adam was with Eve when the serpent confronted her and that the two of them ate the forbidden fruit together: “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it” (NIV 1984 & 2011, italics added). The Hebrew word in question is emáh (pronounced eeMAH). This word combines the preposition “with” and a third person feminine suffix, hence “with her.” Parker has shown that the Latin Vulgate and an alarming number of English translations omit emáh altogether. As a result, many English readers miss Genesis’s clear refutation of the ever-present tendency of “blaming Eve alone.”

My intention here is to add some New Testament data in support of the point already made by Julie Parker and Margaret Mowczko. As most readers of The Scroll well know, 1 Timothy 2:13-14 associates Eve with The Fall. A similar statement is found in 2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (NIV 1984 & 2011). It is important to note that Paul here uses the plural form of “your” in the phrase “your minds.” Thus Paul is not comparing Eve’s deception to women being led astray from devotion; rather he is comparing Eve’s deception to men and women being led astray. In contrast, Romans 5:12-19 repeatedly associates Adam with The Fall, yet never mentions Eve. In the end, these three texts taken together make it clear that Paul is not “blaming Eve alone.”

Frederick Lehman, in his 1917 hymn “The Love of God,” joins company with Paul, as well as with Julie Parker and Margaret Mowczko. He refers to “The guilty pair, bowed down with care,” whom “God gave His Son to win.”

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