TOWARDS A NEW UNDERSTADING OF THE CURSE OF EVE: FEMALE SEXUAL PAIN IN GENESIS 3:16 AND OTHER ANCIENT TEXTS

Renate Marian Van Dijk-Coombes

Abstract


Painful sexual intercourse is the lived experience of many women, but little research has been done on the condition, and it is seldom discussed, either in private conversations or in the media. This appears to also have been true in ancient society, where few texts mention pain associated with sexual intercourse. Three ancient sources may reference or address the condition, these being Ramesseum Medical Papyrus IV, dating from the 13th Dynasty of Egypt during the 18th century BCE, Enki and Ninh̬ursaĝa, a Sumerian mythical narrative, and Gen 3:16, the so-called Curse of Eve. This article will examine these three sources, analysing the translations of specific words and how these affect the understanding of the relevant passages. The paper will further investigate specifically the message which Gen 3:16 gives to women suffering from painful sexual intercourse, and how religious orthodoxy and a strict upbringing can be both a factor in the development of painful sexual intercourse, as well as an inhibiting factor in the treatment thereof.


Keywords


Sexual pain; Genesis 3:16; Ramesseum Medical Papyrus IV; Enki and Ninh̬ursaga; Hermeneutics

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/119-1-1699

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

Attribution CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


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