The Interpretive Tradition of Eve and the Fall of Humanity in Sirach and Other Jewish and Christian Writings

The Interpretive Tradition of Eve and the Fall of Humanity in Sirach and Other Jewish and Christian Writings

Abstract

For Ben Sira, a scribe passes on Israel’s interpretive traditions to successive generations, often transmitting the tradition in his own words or even creating it himself. Ben Sira exhibits this latter phenomenon with his interpretation of the fall in Genesis 3 and his resounding condemnation of Eve. This article proposes he inherits a particular view of women from his Hellenistic culture and then creates an interpretive tradition that reads the Genesis narrative through misogynistic lenses. Ben Sira—true to his profession as a scribe—passes on his original interpretation to future generations of interpreters, including the author of Life of Adam and Eve, the Apostle Paul, Philo, and Irenaeus, each of whom transmit the tradition uniquely.