Famous Feminist Works: The Woman's Bible by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

An excerpt from the feminist book The Woman's Bible by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a book which reexamines the Old and New Testaments from a feminist perspective.

THE WOMAN'S BIBLE. By Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Revising Committee. 4759 15th Ave. N.E., Seattle, Wash.: Seattle Task Force on Women and Religion, 1974.

About the book: First released in 1895, this feminist commentary on the Old and New Testaments attacks the way that women are portrayed in the Holy Book. When some women denounced her book, Stanton wrote that "the only difference between us is, we say that these degrading ideas of woman emanated from the brain of man, while the church says that they came from God."

From the book: Here are excerpts from "Comments on Genesis" (3:1-24-wherein Eve eats the Forbidden Fruit):

Reading this narrative carefully, it is amazing that any set of men ever claimed that the dogma of the inferiority of woman is here set forth. The conduct of Eve from the beginning to the end is so superior to that of Adam. The command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge was given to the man alone before woman was formed (Gen. 2:17). Therefore the injunction was not brought to Eve with the impressive solemnity of a Divine Voice, but whispered to her by her husband and equal. It was a serpent supernaturally endowed, a seraphim as Scott and other commentators have claimed, who talked with Eve and whose words might reasonably seem superior to the secondhand story of her companion--nor does the woman yield up at once...

Then the woman fearless of death if she can gain wisdom takes of the Fruit, and all this time Adam standing beside her interposes no word of objection. "Her husband with her" are the words of v.6. Had he been the representative of the divinely appointed head in married life, he assuredly would have taken upon himself the burden of the discussion with the serpent, but no, he is silent in this crisis of their fate. Having had the command from God himself he interposes no word of warning or remonstrance, but takes the fruit from the hand of his wife without a protest. It takes 6 verses to describe the "fall" of woman; the fall of man is contemptuously dismissed in a line and a half.

The subsequent conduct of Adam was to the last degree dastardly. When the awful time of reckoning comes, and the Jehovah God appears to demand why his command has been disobeyed, Adam endeavors to shield himself behind the gentle being he has declared to be so dear. "The woman thou gavest to be with me, she gave me and I did eat," he whines-trying to shield himself at his wife's expense! Again we are amazed that upon such a story men have built up a theory of their superiority!

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