Eve: The First Feminist

Rashad Muhammad, Opinion Editor

Women: You can’t live with them, you can’t leave them unattended in a garden with a serpent. This idiom was inspired by a lecture given by professor Sondra Frisch in honor of Women’s History Month. The lecture was given in room H117/118 on March 19 and it was entitled “Eve: The First Feminist.”

During the lecture, Frisch discussed the first three chapters of the Tanakh, or the Hebrew scriptures, which is the main text Frisch teaches with in her Humanities 104 class.

People who attended were extremely active as they read along with Frisch during the readings of the Tanakh. After the readings, the first three chapters of Genesis were thoroughly analyzed and later discussed.

With her understanding of the Hebrew culture and language, Frisch expounded upon the many themes depicted within the Tanakh. Her explanations helped the audience understand meanings of unique phrases and unfamiliar words.

The themes of discussion ranged from prominent figures within the Torah to current thematic ideals of religion. A number of texts were mentioned and many subjects were deliberated, but the main focus was the first female known as “Eve.”

With her popular feministic approach, Frisch analyzed texts referring to Eve. She, in many ways, defended the much-criticized figure referred to as a disobedient seductress in many scholastic writings.

The actions of Eve were put on trial and Sondra Frisch played the role of Eve’s defense attorney. The audience played the jury and contemporary assumptions played the role of the prosecutor.

In modern times Eve is portrayed as the person who committed the first sin and is regarded as the one responsible for our mortality and women’s suffering, i.e. childbirth. Presumably, her defiant actions caused the damnation of the Earth. Although speculative, this premise is vastly accepted and believed, but Frisch and other defenders of Eve argue against this preconceived notion.

As Frisch has stated many times over the years, “Eve was framed and defamed!”

She defends this assertion with many theories and literary documents. Before the lecture began, she gave the engrossed spectators a bibliography with over 50 writings included. Many of the writings defended Eve and argued against her prevailing image.

What was most profound during the discourse was how Frisch challenged the audience to think for themselves without the influence of contemporary ideals. She listened to each response intently and thoroughly responded to all questions asked.

While some scholars argued that Eve was a temptress and a pernicious schemer, Frisch and her mountain of evidence argued that Eve was only a victim of her thirst for knowledge. No one can really argue against the thirst and desire for intelligence. The supposition that Eve’s creator wanted her to stay dumb, uninformed, and unaware of her surroundings is void of logic and rationality. Thus Eve is innocent of her alleged detriment to humanity.

The lecture sparked provocation of modern ideas about the first woman. Frisch led the charge against society’s misogynistic interpretation of Eve. She attacked the biblical opinions that reeked of male chauvinism and called on the audience to confront these conceptions in their own way.

In the trial of public opinion, Eve will always be either blamed or revered for her actions. The one thing people agree on is that she was the first to take action, but what are questioned are her motives.

The lecture proposed arguments favoring Eve’s innocence and her culpability. Was she Yoko Ono or Susan B. Anthony? Who really knows?

If Frisch is right, then Eve’s attentiveness and passion for wisdom would make her the first scholar, the first philanthropist, and indeed the first feminist.