Episode 163

Celene Lillie - The Rape of Eve: Reclaiming Our Divinity From Patriarchy


April 19th, 2023

1 hr 28 mins 5 secs

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About this Episode

We live in and by the stories we have internalized, and the biblical story of Adam and Eve, as it has been told, has caused emotional and psychological damage to women over the ages. The story has also played a massive role in relegating women to disempowering stations, gender roles, and ideas for centuries.

In this episode, The Rape of Eve, my guest, Celene Lillie, reveals how the archetypal story of Eve was interpreted by people 2000 years ago as a story vastly different from ones we’ve heard.
Rather than the traditional story of a sinful woman who disobeys God, tempts Adam with the fruit from the tree of knowledge, and then curses humanity, Celene offers new interpretations of a divine woman who reclaims her sovereignty and power after being violated by those who meant to separate her from them.

In recent decades, scholars of New Testament and early Christian traditions have given new attention to the relationships between gender and imperial power in the Roman world. In this incredible interview, Celene Lillie shares her process and what she gleaned as she examined core passages from three texts from Nag Hammadi, On the Origin of the World, The Reality of the Rulers, and the Secret Revelation of John, in which Eve is portrayed in a vastly different light and how even now, we are influenced by the violence done in the name of the Roman empire and the implications of rape culture pervasive within it.

These re-interpretations of Eve’s story have the potential to disrupt and challenge traditional patriarchal narratives while offering women a trance-disrupting and empowering new story for ourselves and for future generations.

In this episode:

  • How traditional patriarchal interpretations of Eve have damaged women.
  • How violence and trauma have played a role in the subjugation of women since the beginning.
  • Why new interpretations of the story of Eve offer valuable insights into why the Patriarchal “rulers” did not want them told
  • How our disassociation from destructive and violent acts play a part in our survival.
  • Why are these interpretations relevant for women today?
  • How can both men and women benefit from these new interpretations?
  • How does the Eve story challenge traditional patriarchal views of women in society?
  • What is the significance of Eve becoming the Tree of Knowledge, and how does it relate to IFS or parts work?
  • Why does THUNDER Perfect Mind capture our attention and why is it important that we know about this divine feminine work?

Celene Lillie is Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder; an Adjunct Professor at the University of Oklahoma and The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology; and the Dean of the Westar Institute’s forthcoming Academy (launching this Fall). Her scholarly work focuses the New Testament, the Nag Hammadi Codices, and other early literature of the Jesus movement, with a particular interest in gender and violence. She is the author
of The Rape of Eve: The Transformation of Roman Ideology in Three Early Retellings of Genesis; co-author (with Jaeda Calloway, Maia Kotrosits, Justin Lasser, and Hal Taussig) of The Thunder: Perfect Mind: A New Translation and Introduction; and Director of Translations for A New New Testament(edited by Hal Taussig).

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