This book is a lively and provocative treatment of the Genesis stories, which are considered to be of central importance in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The author maintains that crucial points pertaining to gender have been overlooked in the Genesis stories because of faulty interpretations that have been accepted by society uncritically. Examining the history of biblical interpretations, the study focuses on both past impact and potential for human relationships in the future, and offers a broader concept in which the creation stories are seen not as attempts to disclose early history or doctrine but as reflections of male/female relationships as well as those between both genders and their Creator. The biblical God was neither masculine nor feminine, but transcended traits which various cultures have assigned to one gender or another. The Bible reaffirms the major theme that what the sexes share in common is more fundamental than what differentiates them, and Phipps contends that Judaism, Christianity and Islam have failed during most of their authoritative early traditions.
This volume is clearly a feminist treatment of biblical topics, and presents the view that, after cultural prejudices are removed, powerful insights for contemporary life are revealed. In addition, anthropological and psychological perceptions are brought to bear on the biblical literature, and some of the complexities are explored, such as the exclusion of the female image of God throughout Judeo-Christian history, interpretations of the Genesis rib story, and the myths of Eve and Pandora. A refreshing approach to an age old controversy, this work deals evenhandedly with both genders, and should prove of particular interest to scholars of women's studies and religious studies, historians, classicists, pastors, and the educated religious person.