Answer to Question 5

The traditional Jewish way of resolving this, cited by Rashi, is that man was originally created as one being, with one side female, one male, both genders living in one body – thus the original man, was in fact, both man and woman. The Torah verse tries to capture both the individuality and duality by describing the creation as being both of one man, and of man and woman. (Interestingly enough, a similar story, of a dual-gendered being giving way to a later humanity, in which being has one of those two original genders, is found in Plato’s Symposium.)

What is striking, however, is that this verse offers a vision a) of both man and woman being around since the dawn of humankind b) of being created as equal.

Gender relations in the Bible are a complicated story beyond the scope of this class, however, the unique vision of this verse is worth pointing out.


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