Christians have reacted with fury after a religious academic suggested that Eve was not made from Adam’s rib – but his penis.
The theory suggests that God made Eve from Adam’s baculum – which explains why man has no penis bone, unlike most mammals.
Ziony Zevit says the Hebrew word ‘tsela’, in the Old Testament, does not translate as ‘rib’, as has been the accepted meaning for millennia.
Instead, he claims the word refers to limbs sticking out sideways from an upright human body – the hands or feet, and – for men – the penis.
Distinguished professor Zevit, of the American Jewish University in Maryland, said: “Of these appendages, the only one lacking a bone is the penis.”
He adds that most of the episodes in the Garden of Eden story intend to explain how a natural feature originated.
The ‘rib’ story explains why man has no penile bone, he says.
A review of Zevit’s book, ‘What really happened in the Garden of Eden?’ was published in a religious magazine – and predictably angered readers.
The Biblical Archaeological Review also gave Zevit, of the American Jewish University, a chance to defend his position.
Sue Glaze from Oakland, Maryland, said: “I write to express my disappointment with your magazine. I wish to cancel my subscription.
“Come on now, Eve being created from Adam’s penis bone, rather than his rib?
“That is plainly not a Bible teaching. I do not need and will not read articles that damage my faith or attempts to cause me to doubt what I know is the truth from the Bible.”
Another reader, Rev Randall L Krabill, wrote: “How does Ziony Zevit’s article have anything to do with Biblical archaeology?
“I have never purchased a tabloid magazine in my life – and I have no intention of ever doing so.
“I certainly didn’t realize that was what I was doing when I subscribed to BAR.”
And Rev Don Brubacher, from Canada, dismissed the theory as “totally unconvincing”, “laughable” and “outlandish”.
He said: “As Jesus scathingly said: ‘You blind guides! You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.’ (Matthew 23:24).”
Zevit also claims that Genesis 2:21, about God closing the flesh beneath the ‘tsela’, refers to the flesh that exists on the underside of the penis.
Defending his theory, he wrote that his understanding of how Eve wsa formed is based on analysis of the use of Hebrew in the Garden story.
Other correspondents were less critical of the theory.
Peter Bentley, from Hong Kong, said: “Zevit transports one ‘literally’ into the garden of Eden.
“A totally extraordinary literary – and, dare I say, ‘religious’