Sexual difference in Genesis 1 and 2


Wow! Another brilliant reading along the way of studying sexual difference (that is, the fundamental irreconcilability of the genders, the idea that each gender is unique, and in Badiou, it’s the event of actually, fully experiencing the difference between the genders that opens up the possibility of love). The other day, we made this analysis and posted it on facebook:

Freud is to Irigaray as Newton is to Leibniz. Brilliant!

That is: Joe was explaining to me that Newton and Leibniz came up with Calculus at the same time, but each founded it in a completely different way. Newton argued that we needed one thing that was self-identical, where a=a, and then everything else derives from that. Leibniz said that we could have a system beginning from differences, a fundamental difference rather than a fundamental sameness. We are reading a book by Irigaray, who is responding to and criticizing Freud. She is pointing out that Freud wants things to start from a fundamental sameness of gender, rather than a fundamental difference in the genders. Hence Joe’s wonderful comparison, which I summarized as: Freud is to Irigaray as Newton is to Leibniz. I hope I was pretty close on that explanation.

This morning Joe was looking at Genesis 1 and 2, and made this observation:

In Genesis 1, there is a fundamental, original difference between the sexes: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

In Genesis 2, there is a fundamental, original sameness of genders: “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; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

So interesting!

And in addition, now we’ve seen that in chapter 2 of Genesis, Adam names his wife “woman.” In Hebrew, his name is ISH and her name is now ISHAH. He sees her as the feminine version of himself and gives her a name accordingly. It’s as if she is his mirror, just an opposite version of himself.

But in chapter 3, after the “fall,” and the laying out of their roles (he works to get food, she bears children), he now renames her as “Eve” the mother of all living. And his name still remains “Adam” (or “dirt.”)

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