chapter  1
27 Pages


The undoing of a woman

This chapter understands the significance of exile in Eve's life. The figure of Eve has mostly been read in the history of biblical interpretation as a fallen figure responsible for the downfall of man and the origin of the curse which was to befall the whole earth. God's role in woman's creation is much more pronounced and necessitates three action verbs on the part of God: "he took", "he made", and "he brought her". While Adam is commanded to take an active stance in the world, Eve retains the passive stance of dependence upon God's actions. Eve's position resembles the original subjective stance, which for Levinas constitutes the natural state of the self. Eve was created in confrontation with Adam in order to constantly remind him of his own limitations and humanity, thus reminding Adam of his own exilic condition and awakening him to intersubjectivity and ethics.