The Woman and the Snake (Genesis chap. 3, verse 2)

And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden

This is the answer to the question of the woman who had placed the snake, “but is it really true that God commanded not to eat anything?” The snake had crept into the first woman the image of a God unjust and insensitive to the appetites of man. The woman, in the first part of his answer, refers to the serpent the truth.

She is still the true companion of man, because it is in tune with him because she exactly relates  what God had told him. But how can women know what God said to the man if, when God spoke to the man, she was not even created? Evidently, the man must have told something, he must have communicated what God said to him alone. However, the text does not say anything about the background – the “narrative background” – of this text, what you should know before you read it. And still I see no other possibility, if not this.

The problem is that the woman is not talking with God, but with the snake. And the snake must have had a good reason to talk to her and not to the man. I have dealt at length with this issue in my book La Bibbia riscritta e commentata (Arachne Editrice). In the History of Religions, the woman often appears as an ally of the snake. Indeed, often the woman is portrayed as the “lover” of snake that tries to get from her a generation. Is it also present here this mythological background? Did the snake speak with the woman because it wanted to have a line of men rebel against God? Also in this case the text says nothing, at least directly.

It is sure that the woman does not know the cunning of the serpent that had turned in the tone of one who has been falsifying the testimony of someone else – in this case God – pointing itself as the true ally. (To be continued)

Simone Venturini


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