Normalized misogyny and patriarchal rule are clear and consistent themes throughout biblical literature. The fact that the history of Western Civilization has traditionally reflected these same core values seems by no means coincidental. For so long as the template for social order in modern society involves a literal interpretation of the ancient myths of a male dominated culture, then we shall embrace the same bigotries which are recorded therein.
Indeed, the fundamental basis for patriarchal rule was introduced in the opening chapter of the Bible when God is identified as an exclusive and male entity. Despite the fact that the Creation Mythicist exposed the original generic perception of polytheism in Genesis 1.26 (“let us make man in our image”); nonetheless the later perception of a monotheistic deity prevails throughout both Creation myths as recorded in the Bible. And by identifying that God as exclusively male, the Creation Mythicists disenfranchised all women from any sense of equality with men, and relegated them to the status of second rate beings and insignificant consorts to their patriarchal rulers. Such was certainly the conclusion of the Garden Creation Myth, which may very well have been patched into the text immediately following the preceding Creation Myth to serve that very purpose.
For by blending these two Hebrew Creation Myths so as to read as one narrative, then such a reading leaves the false impression that the only reason the earth is not a blissful utopia is due to the fact that a woman named Eve ate an unidentified piece of fruit in a garden called Eden. In fact whereas the first Creation Myth concludes that all which God (the male figure) had made was good, the Garden Myth closes with Adam and his consort Eve banished from Eden, and cursed to a life of struggles and suffering due to Eve’s decision to partake of the forbidden fruit.
The degree of blame cast upon Eve was clearly irrational, and her punishment was likewise disproportionate to the deed, but such is commonplace throughout biblical literature. For whereas Eve became the scapegoat for all suffering and was sentenced to the lifelong rule of Adam simply because she ate a piece of fruit, Lot’s wife was killed simply because she looked back. For that matter, any newlywed wife who displeased her husband in bed was publicly shamed and stoned to death at her father’s doorstep, unless of course she could prove she was a virgin when she wed. Indeed, biblical literature reveals a male dominated culture in which women were subjected to double standards and were constantly vulnerable to the rash whims of the patriarchs in their lives.
In fact, the Hebrew culture was so male dominated, that patriarchal rule was regarded as natural for a woman to endure as were the pains she experienced while delivering children. This disturbing perspective derives from a literal interpretation of Eve’s punishment for eating the forbidden fruit as recorded in the Garden Myth. The case for a patriarchal order was ironically even further established as God punished Adam, for his indictment was that he listened to Eve, and thus partook of the forbidden fruit himself. The implication of course being that had he been a strong Patriarch and ignored the foolish woman that he would have remained blameless in the matter. It is somewhat ironic that Eve’s punishment was that she had to live under the rule of a man, even though that same man was chastised for his lack of leadership.
It is of course quite evident that these Myths merely reveal the culture and the worldviews of their respective writers, but therein lies the danger of interpreting these tales literally. For as hard as it is to conceive, even now in the 21st Century, there is still a sizeable demographic who maintain that the man is the natural head of the woman, and that the woman is therefore duty bound to subject herself to the rule of man. There is of course no natural basis for such a theory, which is why the Garden Myth is so significant to patriarchal thinkers. For without the Garden Myth to authorize patriarchal order, then there is no justification for male domination in any culture.
The manifestation of misogyny in the modern world ranges from the subtle conditioning of male dominance as a matter of church doctrine and personal faith, to celebrated males feeling entitled to verbally and sexually assault women, to the systemic oppression of double standards and intrusive dictates into the personal lives of women in general. Clearly, the influence of ancient male dominated Hebraic values as introduced into and forced upon modern society has lead to social discord in the way of defiant resistance from women who have chosen to become liberated from social convention and antiquated bigotry in our contemporary setting. And rightly so.
It is my personal view that until such time that Western society can mature past a dependency upon ancient Hebrew myths as a standard bearer for moral values and social order, that we will be doomed as a matter of our own making to live by the dictates of antiquated sexist values in the modern world.
(NEXT: “Misogyny In The Myth of Sodom and Gomorrah”)