Bible Review 4:3, June 1988

Eve and Adam

Is a feminist reading possible?

By Pamela J. Milne

Scholars have identified two different creation stories at the beginning of Genesis, one in Genesis 1–2:4a and the other in Genesis 2:4b–3:24.

The first is attributed to the “P” source (the Priestly tradition) and the second is attributed to the “J” source (the Yahwist tradition).a The two accounts differ in many ways. Their language and style are very different: The P account is repetitive and uses set formulas (for example, “it was evening and morning, the first day”; “and God saw that it was good”). The J account, on the other hand, flows along like a good story. The P account begins with a lifeless watery chaos from which dry land must emerge for life to begin, while the J story moves in the opposite direction from a lifeless dry land to which water is added to permit life to begin. In the P account, God creates by speaking a word; in the J account God acts like a potter, a gardener and a builder.

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