(JTA) — Bible scholars are not generally known for producing viral or sexy content.
But American Jewish University professor Ziony Zevit is causing a stir with a new book suggesting that in Genesis, Eve was made from a bone in Adam’s penis — not his rib, as we have all been taught.
In “What Really Happened in the Garden of Eden,” Zevit, who is Distinguished Professor of Biblical Literature and Northwest Semitic Languages at the Bel-Air, California, university, makes the case for the baculum, which means penis bone.
The, ahem, thrust of his argument, which is also featured in a recent article in Biblical Archaeology Review, is that the account in the first book of the Bible is the only place where the Hebrew word “tzela” is translated as “rib.” Elsewhere, it is used to mean the side of something.
In addition, the thinking goes, men have the same number of ribs as do women — and the ribs are symmetrical — so how could one have been taken from the first man? Furthermore, while human penises have no bones, penises of many other mammals do.
Not everyone is convinced, however. Writing in Haaretz, journalist Elon Gilad says Zevit’s explanation is “even more unlikely than the original story.”
He notes that the biblical text indicates God is taking “something from Adam of which he has many,” and that there are many cognates of tzela meaning rib in other Semitic languages — as well as a Sumerian myth about life being created from a rib.
Whether the theory is a “phallus-y” or a penetrating insight, we’re guessing that classes taught by Zevit, who has been at American Jewish University since 1974, will see a rising enrollment next semester.