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.

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  • 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).

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