Christians have shafted a claim by a biblical literature professor that tradition’s first woman, Eve, was created not out of Adam’s ribs but his penile bone.
The human penis lacks the baculum — a bone found in the phalluses of other mammals, including primates such as gorillas and chimpanzees. It helps animals to maintain stiffness during long periods of mating.
Several theories for this anatomical absence have been put forward over the years. One says that the tendency of humans to form long-term couple relationships rendered long-lasting bone-related rigidity redundant because sexual intercourse takes place frequently and for short periods only.
Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins suggested that females tested the physical and mental states of prospective suitors via the man’s ability to rise to the occasion without the need of a bone.
But Dr. Ziony Zevit, distinguished professor of Biblical Literature and Northwest Semitic Languages at the American Jewish University (University of Judaism), links the flight of the phallus bone to the creation of Eve, claiming that the correct way to understand the Hebrew word for “rib” — tsela — in the Book of Genesis is as “limbs lateral to the vertical axis of an erect human body: hands, feet, or, in the case of males, the penis.”
He asserts that this real meaning was subsequently lost in translation. Tsela was first translated as “rib” in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible dating to the mid-third century B.C.E.
Zevit’s argument, first presented in his 2013 book “What Really Happened in the Garden of Eden?” resurfaced recently in an article, “Was Eve Made from Adam’s Rib—or His Baculum?” published in the September/October 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, a top periodical for the quasi-scientific field attempting to reconcile the Bible to historical finds.
The Daily Express newspaper reported on Tuesday that the article has turned into a major bone of contention for some Christian readers.
“I write to express my disappointment with your magazine. I wish to cancel my subscription,” wrote Sue Glaze from Oakland, Maryland. “Come on now, Eve being created from Adam’s penis bone, rather than his rib? That is plainly not a Bible teaching. I do not need and will not read articles that damage my faith or attempts to cause me to doubt what I know is the truth from the Bible.”
The Rev. Randall L Krabill wrote: “How does Ziony Zevit’s article have anything to do with Biblical archaeology?
“I have never purchased a tabloid magazine in my life — and I have no intention of ever doing so. I certainly didn’t realize that was what I was doing when I subscribed to BAR.”
Rev Don Brubacher, from Canada, called the theory “laughable” and “outlandish”, the paper reported. Brubacher said: “As Jesus scathingly said: ‘You blind guides! You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.’ (Matthew 23:24).”