[b-hebrew] Gen. 1:27: inspired midrash on Gen. 3:23-4?

Douglas Galbi Douglas.Galbi at fcc.gov
Thu Nov 6 10:40:31 EST 2003

As many persons have recognized, the Hebrew word 
'adam in Genesis is not well understood as just 
the personal name for a particular male.  The word 
can also be understood as a generic term meaning 
the human.  This space for making sense of the sacred 
text is important.  First, proper names are not 
distinguished in written Hebrew, but they have a 
much different value than generic terms in the 
economy of language use in the ancient world 
(and today).  Knowing someone's proper name is 
highly valued knowledge.  Second, the relationship 
between female and male is a central aspect of the 
stories of creation in Genesis 1-3.  To Jews, 
Christians, and Muslims, Genesis is a sacred text 
describing the relationship between a particular 
male or a particular female and fundamental truth 
of human being.  The meaning of 'adam is an important 
part of this description.  

My study of sense in communication indicates that 
different sensory modes interact throughout the 
body in making sense. Jews from the time of David's 
monarchy to the return from the Babylonian exile 
read the second story of creation.  As James Kugel 
has emphasized in his books, Jews understood 
this story to be relevant, without mistakes, internally 
consistent, but cryptic and in need of interpretation.  
An important issue for interpretation is the expulsion 
of 'adam from Eden (Gen. 3:23-4).  In particular, how 
did Eve get out of Eden?  Was she expelled with 'adam?  
How does the text communicate this?  It seems to me 
that Gen. 1:27 explains the sense that Adam and Eve 
together were expelled from Eden.

You can access my work, "Sense in Communication," 
at www.galbithink.org  The analysis above is set 
out on pp. 51-4.  I welcome informed review and 

Douglas Galbi


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