Eve and the Punishment of Heterosexuality

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In his reading of Genesis 2–3, Chris Greenough examines the biblical text alongside critiques of heterosexuality outlined in sociology and in feminist, gender, and queer theories. He argues that the social construction of heterosexuality which currently dominates the contemporary world is a punishment given to Eve, and thus to all women. Greenough explores the cumulative impact of this punishment with reference to Jane Ward’s book The Tragedy of Heterosexuality (2020), connecting Eve’s biblical punishment to Ward’s notion of heterosexuality as tragedy. Drawing on interdisciplinary methods in studies of gender and sexuality, he observes how women’s bodies are persistently regulated through ritual and rule, both in the biblical texts and in today’s world. Genesis 3:16 hints that being a mother and a wife are part of God’s punishment for Eve’s transgression. In turn, this problematizes heterosexuality as it is understood today. With this in mind, Greenough explores what happens when readers move from a feminist reading of Eve within a heterosexual framework to a genderqueer hermeneutic.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Eve
EditorsCaroline Blyth, Emily Colgan
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781003132332
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2023


  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences


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