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The woman (Genesis chap. 2, verse 22)

Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

When God created man Hebrew Bible uses the word yatsàr while when God creates the woman we find the word banàh. Only the first verb can be translated as “to form, to mold”, while the latter one means rather “to make”. What is the difference? In the first case God is like a “potter” that shapes the clay; in the second case it is a more concrete action.

It is difficult to think the way in which you can model a rib meat! And it is also difficult to think how God created man from the “dust”. In both cases, it is more important to think about the “materials” that are used. In the first case God uses the “dust of the earth”, in the second “the flesh and bone of the rib.”

The author wants to underline the deep relationship between man/women and the materials used to create them. The man is deeply attached to “mother earth”, from which it was derived. The woman is deeply tied to the man, from which she was taken. We can say that the woman is complementary to man. We could also say that man is the “earth” of the woman, because he is the guarantees safety and support that she always looks for. Finally, we could also say that man is far more related to “mother earth” than the woman that has a relationship with the earth mediated by man.

However, between earth, man and woman there is an inseparable relationship which none of the three terms can be eliminated without that you do not cause significant harm to one or the other. As he did with the animals, God brought the woman to the man to see his reaction …

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Simone Venturini

Writer and Researcher at Vatican Secret Archives, Professor of Bible at Pontifical University of the Holy Cross od Rome

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