Today’s first reading was the story of the serpent and Eve, who decided to eat fruit from the forbidden tree and offer it to Adam. This passage has long been used to justify the “natural” subordination of women, as well as their naivety, wickedness and seductiveness. There are some really interesting alternate interpretations of this passage by feminist scripture scholars. I offer you one such interpretation by Phyllis Trible:
[T]he woman is more appealing than her husband. Throughout the myth she is the more intelligent one, the more aggressive one, and the one with greater sensibilities…. [She is] both theologian and translator. She contemplates the tree, taking into account all the possibilities. The tree is good for food … [and] is esthetically and emotionally desirable. Above all, it is coveted as the source of wisdom…. Thus the woman is fully aware when she acts…. The initiative and the decision are hers alone. There is no consultation with her husband…. By contrast, the man is a silent, passive and bland recipient…. His one act is belly oriented, and it is an act of quiescence, not of initiative.
Phyllis Trible, “Eve and Adam: Genesis 2-3 Reread,” Judith Plaskow and Carol P. Christ, eds., Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1979) 79.
An interesting way to look at this story, no?