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REL 320

Genesis and Gender: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Readings

This course considers ways that interpretations of sacred texts influence religious perceptions of gender and social order. Christian readings of Genesis 1-3 are the main focus; yet attention is also given to understandings of Eve and Adam in Judaism and Islam. Interpretations of Genesis that historically and presently argue for the subordination of women to men forms a central theme of the course. A counter theme emerges as we consider alternative readings that have traditionally used Genesis 1-3 to argue for gender equality. We will also reflect on the ways in which a hierarchical reading of the text has served to legitimate the domination of groups such as African-American slaves. Texts range from the Gnostic gospels, Philo, the Qur'an, The Maelleus Maleficarum, Paradise Lost, The Bible Defense of Slavery, The Woman's Bible and "The Coming of Lilith."

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course