What does it mean to be male and female? Do women and men have different intellectual, spiritual, moral, or emotional capacities? Are women especially suited for serving and men for leading? Are women and men equal?

While these may seem like relatively recent questions, they have been a topic of conversation throughout Christian history. At the center of this conversation is the biblical character Eve, the archetypal woman of Genesis 1-3. Not simply one woman among many, Eve comes to represent all women, defining the very essence of what it is to be female. As Eve was a woman, so all women were Eve, the conditions of her creation and her involvement in the Fall often serving as a justification for limitations placed on women and for their subordination to men.

Over the centuries, women themselves have read and interpreted the story of Eve, scrutinizing the details of the text to discern God's word for them. Often their investigations led them to insights and interpretations that differed from dominant views, shaped as they were by men. The Gospel According to Eve traces the history of women's interpretation of Genesis 1-3, readings of Scripture that affirmed women's full humanity and equal worth. Biblical scholar Amanda Benckhuysen allows the voices of women from the past to speak of Eve's story and its implications for marriage, motherhood, preaching, ministry, education, work, voting, and more.

"We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses—and most of them are women. In this welcomed book, Amanda W. Benckhuysen gives us the privilege of learning from these faithful predecessors as they contemplate the mother of all living. Not only is The Gospel According to Eve a brilliant work of historical recovery but it also helps Christians today to reflect on issues such as media representations of women, the education of girls, marriage, childrearing, social reform, and public ministry. This book is good news for believers, whether they are men or women."

Timothy Larsen, McManis Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College, author of George MacDonald in the Age of Miracles

"At a time when women and men alike are reassessing the role of women in Christian tradition, Amanda Benckhuysen offers an invaluable resource. For two thousand years, interpreters have been looking to the biblical Eve to discern God's will for women. By bringing to light long-forgotten women's voices, Benckhuysen recovers a fascinating history of female biblical interpretation—one that reveals complex, creative, and often empowering visions of Christian womanhood. The Gospel According to Eve is a gift to scholars, pastors, and laypeople and perhaps especially to Christian women."

Kristin Kobes Du Mez, professor of history at Calvin College, author of A New Gospel for Women


1. In the Beginning
2. Defending the Worth of Women
3. Advancing Virtue
4. Varying Perspectives on Being a Wife and a Mother
5. Women as Preachers, Teachers, and Religious Leaders
6. Children's Bibles, Bible Histories, and Devotionals
7. Socially Conscious Readings of Adam and Eve
8. The Ongoing Journey Toward the Inclusion of Women
9. The Legacy of Eve—Reflections and Conclusions
Discussion Questions
Quick Reference Biographies
Author Index
Scripture Index


Amanda W. Benckhuysen (PhD, University of St. Michael's College, Toronto) is Johanna K. And Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior professor of Old Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary and a researcher in biblical interpretation and reception history.

BY Amanda W. Benckhuysen

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