Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Some Heavy Reading For Your Wednesday Night

This article by Irvin A. Busenitz was just brought to my attention in the comments on my post Thoughts On "A (Somewhat) Scholarly Analysis Of Genesis 3:16"*. It features some rather dense, scholarly reading exploring the Hebrew words and use of context at play in Genesis 3:16.

If you're still in doubt about how to correctly interpret this passage, I would encourage you to read the whole article. I feel very confident after reading it that the new interpretation that developed during second-wave feminism-- that women desire to dominate men because of the curse-- is not the correct one.

If you're not up for reading all eleven pages, here's an excerpt from the conclusion:

"The central consideration in the interpretation of Gen 3:16b is context; the meaning of "desire" is best determined in the light of its immediate contextual setting. The context bespeaks procreation and the continuation of life, not the desire to dominate. Furthermore, to appeal to Gen 4:7 with its manifold obscurities to unlock the interpretive door of Gen 3:16 is to throw exegetical caution to the wind. It is much safer to apply the meaning of [Hebrew word] in Cont 7:10** to Gen 3:16, for while it does not enjoy the near proximity of Gen 4:7, its meaning is plain and its interpretation is vitually unquestioned. Consequently, it should be granted preeminence over Gen 4:7 and become the primary cross-reference in ascertaining the meaning of "desire.""
"The text does not sustain the interpretation that one aspect of the woman's judgment is that she will desire to dominate and control the man. The last phrase of Gen 3:16 is not a part of the judgment; it is an explanatino and description of conditions which will exist after the fall. Thus, the last phrase could be translated: "you you will still desire [as you did before the Fall, though now tainted by sin] your husband, and he will still rule [as he did before the Fall, though now tainted by sin] over you."

*I think Busenitz's article is more cautious with the text than article by Alsup which I originally posted. Both posit an alternative meaning for "her desire shall be for her husband" but I think Busenitz's requires less stretching of the text. At any rate, neither support the idea of female domination as part of the curse.
**That's Song of Solomon. Took me forever to figure that out so I'm letting you know now. Or maybe I'm the only one who might've been confused.

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