The Adam And Eve Theory That Caused A Stir

It is in the nature of theology to investigate unusual and unexpected claims. Miracles, visions, the work of deities, the beginning and end of the earth; you would think that by now, little could cause an uproar among those studying religious texts. But as one incident in the not-so-distant past indicated, some things just don't sit right with the religious community.

Let's start at the beginning. Well, not quite the beginning, when God created the heaven and the earth, but a little bit after, when He was getting to work populating his creation with a plethora of lifeforms. Plants, animals, birds, fishes — so far, religious scholars are all on the same page. But when it comes to the creation of the first humans, namely Adam and Eve, there has been some disagreement, the latest coming as recently as 2015.

That year saw the publication of a book, "What Really Happened in the Garden of Eden?" by Professor Ziony Zevit of the American Jewish University. In it, Zenit lays down his argument that Eve was not made from Adam's rib — as the story of her creation is typically told to Jewish and Christian schoolchildren — but rather from his ... er, well, the thing he kept hidden behind his fig leaf. But what was the evidence?

Was Eve really made from Adam's ...?

Professor Ziony Zevit's argument goes like this: When it comes to genitalia, the human male differs from the vast majority of his mammalian brethren in that he is missing a baculum, which, put bluntly, is a bone in the penis. Cats, dogs, rodents, and even other species of primates all typically have one, but human beings do not. According to Zevit, the passage in the Book of Genesis that tells the story of Eve being made from one of Adam's ribs is referring to this missing bone and therefore works to explain its absence. Zevit claims that somewhere along the way, there has been a mistranslation of the Hebrew word "tzela," which is used around 40 times in the Bible but is only ever used in Genesis when it's translated as the word for rib (per Haaretz).

Zevit's contention made waves and generated hot debate in forums such as the Biblical Archaeology Society. However, academics soon found a flaw in Zevit's reasoning. Writing in Haaretz, Elon Gilad noted: "While this makes an interesting hypothesis, it is very unlikely. For one, studying the verse in question, it is clear that God is taking something from Adam of which he has many: 'And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof' (Genesis 2:21)" (per HuffPost).