The Book Of Eden! Fixing The Biggest Translation Error!


The Book of Eden: Genesis 2–3 by Bruce C. E. Fleming (based on the work of Joy Fleming, PhD, PsyD), is an excellent addition to the field of biblical gender studies.  Accustomed to 300+ page, in-depth works on the subject, I was happily  surprised to see that a work that is just over one hundred pages can  perfectly balance readability with a focused look at the original  Hebrew. The Book of Eden goes far beyond an overview of what  egalitarians already believe; it gives unique insights into aspects of Genesis 3:16 (the other life-changing 3:16 passage! [ John 3:16]) that I  had not encountered before this work.

One of the book’s greatest  strengths is that it welcomes readers from different backgrounds and  ties to the complementarian/egalitarian conversation. Firmly  egalitarian, Bruce (and Joy) refrain from attacking those who hold the complementarian view. Yet they never shy away from their belief that  gender equality in the Church and Christian marriage is a correct  understanding of the Bible’s original language. In their words, mistranslations are “word-pollution” that needs to be cleared away, in  the same way that muddy water must be purified for life to flow again. This was as refreshing as actual water, as I loved their direct views  (held with compassion) and clear presentation of ideas.

The Book of Eden, Genesis 2-3 is organized into eight chapters with a few  pages of study guide at the end of each. These serve as excellent summaries of each chapter and give the chance to answer a few  self-reflective questions. The familiar argument of what ‘ezer kenegdo really  means is presented alongside other far less-common discussions, such as  God’s mixture of curses and blessings in Genesis 2–3 (what exactly were  his curses and who was exempt from them).

I found no weaknesses in the  book’s narrative, other than wishing it was a longer work that included the seven key Bible passages on male-female relationships that the Flemings have highlighted. [Note: The seven passages are presented in depth on The Eden Podcast. You can find them here.] However, the 123 pages of The Book of Eden made it a quick, impactful, and easily accessible read without the  multi-hour commitment of a longer work (something difficult to do during  this landmark COVID-19 year). Below are sample passages from The Book of Eden, Genesis 2-3:

To summarize, God tells the woman, I will greatly multiply two things—a  bad thing and a good thing. First, the bad thing is you will have  sorrowful toil in cultivating with your hands the ground which is about  to be cursed. Second, the good thing is you’re going to have heron, multiplied pregnancies.

Mistranslations! But, if you look in your Bible you likely won’t read about these two things God tells the woman. Instead you’ll come across a very different thing,  a single idea that sounds almost like a curse! And a lot of people take  it that way. (19–20, italics and bold copied from original)

Satan was an equal opportunity tempter. He tempted both the woman and  the man. The Hebrew text in Genesis 3:1–5 shows him using plural  pronouns each time he says “you.” In other words, he wasn’t aiming his  words at just the woman. He was saying you-two, y’all, you-both. And the  man was right there listening to all he said. (57)

I highly recommend The Book of Eden, Genesis 2-3 to any interested reader. Its non-combative tone is perfectly balanced with an obviously  uncompromising search for the truth, so it can equally serve as a  foundational work to share with your staunch complementarian family  member or your adamantly egalitarian friend. The Flemings are well-qualified with years of experience in the fields of gender studies, theology, and Old Testament, and their approach to more academic topics  (sentence structure in Genesis) parallels their conversational tone. I  came away from The Book of Eden, Genesis 2-3 with fresh insight into God’s plan for female-male equality and partnership, and above all, the height  and depth of his redeeming love for our very first ancestors—both Adam  and Eve.

This book is based on the episodes of Season One of The Eden Podcast.

Review by Katie Patchell   | March 19, 2021
Book info.    Title:  The Book of Eden: Genesis 2-3. God Didn’t Curse Eve (or Adam) or Limit Woman in Any Way    Author: Bruce C.E.  Fleming  Publisher: Think Again Publishers          Year:2021  ISBN: 978-0972575911

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