Creation – Loneliness – Incest – Death


A Freudian/Derridean Reading of the Garden Story


In: Biblical Interpretation

The article proposes a new reading of the Garden Story, based on the Freudian concept of the Oedipus complex and the Derridean concept of the supplement. The Woman is considered as an Oedipal replacement of the mother-Earth in its fruit-bearing capacity. At the same time, she can be likened to a supplement in the Derridean sense, intended to compensate for the Man’s loneliness. However, created from a part of the Man’s body, she remains a (dangerous) supplement and not a real Other and cannot divert the Man from the encroachment on Father’s rights (eating of the fruit). The loneliness of the first Man is therefore not overcome but transformed into the loneliness of the whole human species.


  • AverintsevS. S.K istolkovaniju simvoliki mifa ob Edipe197290102MoskvaNaukaAntičnost’ i sovremennost’

  • BachelardGaston1964BostonBeacon PressThe Psychoanalysis of Fire (trans. Alan C. M. Ross

  • BalMieke1987Bloomington & IndianapolisIndiana University PressLethal Love: Feminist Literary Readings of Biblical Love Stories

  • BechtelLynnBrenerAthalyaRethinking the Interpretation of Genesis 2.4b - 3.24199377117SheffieldSheffield Academic Press A Feminist Companion to Genesis

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BechtelLynnGenesis 2.4b–3: 24: A Myth of Human Maturation199567326JSOT

  • BelkinSamuelHurvitzElazar1989Jersey CityKtavThe Midrash of Philo: the Oldest Recorded Midrash. Genesis II–XVII

  • ClinesDavid J. A.What Does Eve Do to Help? And Other Irredeemably Androcentric Orientations in Genesis 1–319902548SheffieldJSOT PressWhat Does Eve Do to Help? And Other Readerly Questions to the Old Testament

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CrockettChristine M.Bienstock AnolikRuth‘The Monster Vice’: Masturbation, Malady and Monstrosity in Frankenstein2010129141Jefferson, NCMcFarlandDemons of the Body and Mind: Essays on Disability in Gothic Literature

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • DaldianusArtemidorus1975Torrance, CAOriginal BooksThe Interpretation of Dreams (trans. Robert J. White

  • DerridaJacques1976Baltimore and LondonJohn Hopkins University PressOf Grammatology (trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

  • EliadeMircea1958New York, NYHarper and RowRites and Symbols of Initiation: the Mysteries of Birth and Rebirth (trans Willard R. Trask

  • FishbaneMichael1979New YorkSchockenText and Texture: Close Readings of Selected Biblical Texts

  • FodorA.The Fall of Man in the Book of Genesis195411201231American Imago

  • FreudSigmund1946New YorkVintage BooksTotem and Taboo : Resemblances Between the Psychic Lives of Savages and Neurotics (trans. A.A. Brill

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • FreudSigmund1955New YorkBasic BooksThe Interpretation of Dreams (trans. James Strachey

  • FreudSigmund1962New YorkBasic BooksThree Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (trans. James Strachey

  • FrommErich1991New YorkRinehartThe Forgotten Language: An Introduction to the Understanding of Dreams, Fairy Tales, and Myths

  • GarsielMoshe1991Ramat-GanBar-Ilan University PressBiblical Names: A Literary Study of Midrashic Derivations and Puns (trans. Phyllis Hackett

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GirardRené1977BaltimoreJohns Hopkins University PressViolence and the Sacred (trans. Patrick Gregory

  • GordisRobertThe Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Old Testament and the Qumran Scrolls195776123138JBL

  • GreensteinEdward L.ReventlowH. G.HoffmannY.God’s Golem: the Creation of the Human in Genesis 22002219239SheffieldSheffield Academic PressCreation in Jewish and Christian Tradition

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KettererDavid1979Victoria, BCUniversity of VictoriaFrankenstein’s Creation: The Book, the Monster, and Human Reality

  • MarcusDavidA Famous Analogy of Rib-Haddi19735281286Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society

  • MettingerTryggve N. D.2007Winona Lake, INEisenbraunsThe Eden Narrative. A Literary and Religio-Historical Study of Genesis 2–3

  • OsmanMarvin P.The Adam and Eve Story as Exemplar of an Early-Life Variant of the Oedipus Complex200048 (4)12951325Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • PardesIlana1992Cambridge, MAHarvard University PressCountertraditions in the Bible

  • RabkinEric S.WestfahlGarySlusserGeorgeRabkinEric S.Eat and Grow Strong: the Super-Natural Power of Forbidden Fruit19962138Athens, GAUniversity of Georgia PressFoods of the Gods: Eating and the Eaten in Fantasy and Science Fiction

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RankOtto1919Leipzig und WienInternational Psychoanalytic UniversityPsychoanalytische Beiträge zur Mythenforschung

  • ReikTheodor1957New YorkBrazillerMyth and Guilt. The Crime and Punishment of Mankind

  • ReikTheodor1960New YorkBrazillerThe Creation of Woman

  • RosenbergJoel1986Bloomington, INIndiana University PressKing and Kin: Political Allegory in the Hebrew Bible

  • RosenzweigEfraimHistorische und psychoanalytische Bemerkungen über Volk und Land Israel mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des Deuteronomiums1972185199MünchenChr. KaiserPsychoanalytische Interpretationen biblischer Texte

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RousseauJean-JacquesConfessions, Volume 1 (London: Privately Printed for the Members of the Aldus Society)1903Accessible at http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/3913.


    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ShellyMary Wollstonecraft1982Chicago and LondonThe University of Chicago PressFrankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus: The 1818 Text (ed. James Rieger

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SlivniakDmitri M.The Garden of Double Messages: Deconstructing Hierarchical Oppositions in the Garden Story200327439460JSOT

  • StordalenTerje2000LeuvenPeetersEchoes in Eden: Genesis 2–3 and the Symbolism of the Eden Garden in Biblical Hebrew Literature

  • SzaszThomas1988Syracuse, NYSyracuse University PressThe Myth of Psychotherapy. Mental Healing as Religion, Rhetoric, and Repression

  • TriblePhyllisDepatriarchalizing in Biblical Interpretation1973413048JAAR

  • TriblePhyllis1978Phila­del­phiaFortressGod and the Rhetoric of Sexuality: Overtures to Biblical Theology

  • WoldeEllen van1989AssenVan GorcumA Semiotic Analysis of Genesis 2–3

  • 6

    See Rabkin 1996: 11 and the literature quoted there.

  • 21

    See Greenstein 2002: 235–37, esp. p. 236 for possible explanations of the need to create a helpmate to the Man.

  • 23

    According to Clines (1990), it is precisely the childbirth that represents the main “helping” function of the Woman. At the same time, as it may follow from the juxtaposition of Gen. 3:19 and 3:20, the procreation is, in itself, a “supplement” to the immortality, which cannot be attained anymore after the eating of the fruit (Gordis 1957: 130, as cited in Mettinger 2007: 26).

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 103 58 4
Full Text Views 183 7 1
PDF Downloads 9 3 1