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Enticed by Eden: How Western Culture Uses, Confuses, (and Sometimes Abuses) Adam and Eve Paperback – January 18, 2013
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"One can wonder if Adam and Eve would be surprised that their names, and their legends, live on so many millennia later. Schearing and Ziegler, professors of religious studies at Gonzaga and DePauw Universities respectively, have crafted a fascinating survey for a popular audience of how our first parents have lived on in western culture. Reflected in the arts, in gender studies, in parenting models, and even in the adult film industry, the Edenic couple have been called to duty, sometimes in an authentic quest for meaning, but often in ways that would have made them blush. Beneath the authors' humor can be found serious commentary, not just on the biblical story, but on how modern society views itself through the creation metaphor. The authors do a masterful job of deconstructing the many layers of the legacy of Eden. At times hilarious but always thoughtful, this is a wonderful read, a worthy addition to the literature of religion and culture."―Publishers Weekly
"... hilarious but always thoughtful, this is a wonderful read, a worthy addition to the literature of religion and culture."―Publishers Weekly
"A very engaging and readable book. Through their exploration of Christian and secular appropriations of the Eden narrative within the context of contemporary American advertising, dating websites, humor, and the sex industry, Schearing and Ziegler offer a thought-provoking contribution to ongoing studies of the Bible in popular culture."―Caroline Blyth, Lecturer in Biblical Studies, School of Theology, University of Auckland
"A fascinating look at how the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden still influences our culture, from the Christian wife-spanking movement and online dating to Madison Avenue advertising and the jokes we love to tell. Oh my!"―Betty A. DeBerg, Professor of Religion and Director of National Study of Campus Ministries, University of Northern Iowa
"From online dating to erotic wife spanking and from the advertising industry to the adult entertainment business, Schearing and Ziegler guide us on an entertaining romp through deftly the intricate maze of pop culture's use of the Garden of Eden story. The breadth of coverage is balanced by depth of insight, making it a treat for veteran and novice reader alike. Who thought there could be a fresh, engaging, and enlightening book on such a well worn text!"―Mark Roncace, Associate Professor of Religion, Wingate University
"Written in a clear, engaging style straddling academic and popular readership, this book is a welcome addition to all collections."―Choice
"an analytical, often hilarious and occasionally touching, look at the first couple's continuing influence in our culture."―Greg Carey, Huffington Post
"... a fastinating and insightful look at the roots of Western culture."―Library Bookwatch
"Reading Enticed by Eden is an enlightening experience."―Robert Comwall, Ponderings on a Faith Journey
"Enticed by Eden presents the story of Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden in some new and surprising ways. Adam and Eve become the butt of jokes, the topic of ads, and the name of popular adult entertainment store; Eden becomes a land of romance. Whether it's finding a Christian mate, selling tobacco, or even spanking your wife, Schearing and Ziegler have provided a lively discussion on the commodification of one of the Bible's most familiar stories."―Leslie Levin, Associate Professor of Business Management, Marymount Manhattan College
About the Author
Linda S. Schearing is Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, Gonzaga University.
Valarie H. Ziegler is Professor of Religious Studies, DePauw University.
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I believed that if I spent any more time reading, it would not be worthy of my time/interest.
The book is organized into two halves, with three comically-named chapters in each half. The first half, termed "Recreating Eden," analyzes the ways that contemporary Christians find in Genesis 1-3 prescriptions for gender roles, sexual norms, and proper Christian dating or courtship practices, and attempt to impose those ideals on contemporary society. These chapters focus specifically on what the authors consistently refer to as "conservative evangelical Christians," but I would I would identify these groups as "fundamentalist" or "extremely conservative."
...read the full review on my blog ryanwesleyweber.wordpress...
The second half, termed "Recycling Eden," deals with the use of the themes and characters in the Eden story in popular culture, including jokes, advertising, and the entire adult industry. These chapters focus on the ways that gender stereotypes are reinforced or challenged through the use of Adam and Eve in jokes, as well as the way that advertisers co-opt themes such as taboo, forbidden fruit, and persuasion to sell their products to contemporary consumers.
Overall, this book is a very good investigation into the ways that contemporary Christian and secular culture uses and misuses the symbols, characters, and themes of the Genesis 1-3 story. I noticed a constant tension throughout the book regarding depictions of females and sexuality: on one hand, the authors criticize ultra-conservative Christian subjugation of female sexuality to the control of her father or husband; on the other hand, when presented with a popular culture advertisement of a woman clearly in control of her own sexuality, the authors denounce it as another incarnation of the "tired cliché of Eve as temptress and Adam as victim" (120). Regardless of this apparent indecision on the part of the authors (which I think is symptomatic of contemporary feminism at large), this book provides an enlightening and much needed look at depictions of Adam, Eve, and the Garden in contemporary culture. Biblical scholars will be disappointed by the lack of textual engagement but will be otherwise pleased, while students of gender and popular culture will thoroughly enjoy this book.