Eve’s Children

The Biblical Stories Retold and Interpreted in Jewish and Christian Traditions


This volume is devoted to the biblical stories about Eve’s children, Cain, Abel, and Seth, and to the rewritings and explanations of these stories in a variety of early Jewish and Christian sources (Old Testament Apocrypha, Philo of Alexandria, Targumim, the New Testament, Rabbinic and Kabbalistic texts, Christian-Gnostic and Patristic Literature). Attention is given also to post-biblical stories speaking about Eve’s daughters and to traditions in which Cain is viewed as the son of the Devil. Three essays examine how the biblical stories were re-used and evaluated in modern fiction, from Clemens Brentano and Lord Byron to John Steinbeck’s East of Eden.


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Biographical Note

Gerard P. Luttikhuizen, Ph.D. (1984), is Professor of Early Christian Literature and New Testament Studies, University of Groningen. He is editor of Paradise Interpreted (Brill, 1999) and The Creation of Man and Woman (Brill, 2000), which are previous volumes in the series Themes in Biblical Narratives.

Table of contents

Preface Abbreviations Contributors PART ONE: EVE'S SONS AND DAUGHTERS Eve's Pain in Childbearing? Interpretations of Gen 3:l6a in Biblical and Early Jewish Texts, Jacques van Ruiten Eve's Children in the Targumim, Florentino García Martínez The Twin Sisters of Cain and Abel: A Survey of the Rabbinic Sources, Lieve M. Teugels Eve's Demonic Offspring. A Jewish Motif in German Literature, Marcel Poorthuis PART TWO: CAIN AND ABEL Brothers and Fratricide in the Ancient Mediterranean: Israel, Greece and Rome, ]an N. Bremmer Gen 4:1-16. From Paradise to Reality: The Myth of Brotherhood, Ed Noort Cain and Abel as Character Traits: A Study in the Allegorical Typology of Philo of Alexandria, Hindy Najman Abel's Speaking in Hebrews 11:4 and 12:24, Ton Hilhorst Augustine on Cain and Abel, Rick Benjamins Milk and Blood, Heredity and Choice: Byron's Readings of Genesis, Bernard Beatty The Symbol Story of the Human Soul: Cain and Abel in Steinbeck's East of Eden, Barend Van Heusden PART THREE: SETH Seth in Sirach (Ben Sira 49:16), Eibert Tigchelaar Seth and the Sethites in Early Syriac Literature, Jürgen Tubach Gnostic Ideas about Eve's Children and the Salvation of Humanity, Gerard P. Luttikhuizen Bibliography of Recent Studies, Annemieke ter Brugge Index to Ancient Texts