I was thinking about this whole St. Albert the Great Genesis thing. It occurred to me that the consequences section of Genesis is kinda interesting.
The serpent section is like this:
1. I’m going to do this bad thing to you – no legs and enmity.
2. And this is what else bad I’m doing to you – it’s a logical consequence of 1 to get stepped on.
3. But here’s the bright spot for you: you’ll still be able to bite.
All this of course has the Protoevangelium meaning, too. But that’s the basic thing.
The Adam section is like this:
1. You ate forbidden fruit and didn’t serve the garden earth, so now you have to eat fruit through a lot harder work and the earth is cursed to be almost totally unlike a garden.
2. The logical consequence is that you’ll die and return to the dust.
3. On the bright side, not living forever means getting to rest from work at some point.
So… if the Eve section works the same way, it would seem that:
1. Labor pains. Ouchie – a lot like sweating and hurting to grow food, or crawling to catch it. Instead of just going forth and multiplying, you’re going to have multiplied sorrows too.
2. But you won’t be able to just give up having sex to avoid #1, without going to a lot of trouble.
3. The bright spot would then be that the man will be your lord.
Is this the way this was seen in exegesis, usually? Or was #3 seen as more of an additional punishment? I think this would make a big difference to theology, especially since it would mean that Eve was more in trouble than the serpent, from a rhetorical/poetic structure way of looking at it.
Anyway, to a Latin writer, the word used here is the same word used for THE Lord. Which means that a Christian would see this as a commandment to the husband to be like the Lord.
And suddenly we’re back with Paul, and the mystery that man and wife are like Christ and the Church. In this case, the bright spot is that the Lord will be the Church’s man.
Heh. This Hebrew literal meaning stuff is interesting. Apparently the expression used in this Eve part of Genesis for “in pain” or “in toil” is literally “in an earthen vessel”. Ha! That’s a good one, Paul!
However, the Hebrew apparently just says that “he shall rule you”, or something like that.
Apparently, the Septuagint puts it as something like “Thou art turning away to thy husband, and he will rule over thee.” Which is interesting, because of course St. Albert is very positive about the Strong Woman turning to her husband and only to him, and goes into the Song of Songs where it’s also into “turning”. There seems to be something going on where the “will” is a simple future tense, making it a consequence and not a punishment; maybe logically the “turning” would then have to be the good consequence. (Even though it’s a pain, and even though he’s a pain, you’ll still want your husband.) But that does kinda change the sequence of the story elements, and that wouldn’t be what you’d expect in this kind of story genre.
There also seems to be some who think “turning” is just a matter of making an alliance with the man. Others seem to think that it means something like “is affectionate toward”. Shrug. Don’t know. You also get people who say that the Hebrew word is really one that means “craving” and is one letter away from the Hebrew word for “turning”. Shrug. Don’t know.
The other question is what the analogy is. The serpent goes around telling people bad stuff about eating, so he eats dust. Adam doesn’t do his job with the garden and does a bad thing with fruit, so he has to work to get fruit to eat from a rebelling garden. But what’s the deal with Eve? You made Adam obey you, so now you have to obey Adam? That’s a very traditional interpretation, but again it’s in the wrong place for the structure of the other verses. Another interpretation is that “you turned away from God, so now you’re forced to turn to your husband”. Well, yeah, but that’s not really in the text, is it? The best I can figure is “you fixated on eating the freakin’ fruit, so now you’ll fixate on your husband and work hard to produce fruit”. Which I suppose would make the bright spot “your husband will help you keep out of trouble and cheer you up”, or something like that. (And hey, if you’re going to reverse who listens to whom, I guess Adam has to be a fitting help to Eve in reversal, too. Or at least Adam has to quit letting snakes control the conversation.)
But anyway, the idea that the man rules Eve is still consonant with Paul’s Christ and the Church thing, because Christ rules the Church, but not like a jerk. He’s what keeps everything on track.
Sigh. If I actually paid attention to footnotes with itsy bitsy Bible references, probably I would know all this stuff. But it’s not like there’s any reason to look up this stuff unless you really need it to answer a question, and the number of times I have any question in my mind about some Bible passage is… well… about as often as I ask myself questions about anything else I read, actually. I’m not really a fan of close reading; I like books for themselves, not as components that can be pulled apart. But I suppose looking into this question a bit more won’t kill me. Turn me into a radical feminist, maybe, but not kill me. 🙂