BA Politics and Modern History / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
All about Eve: Encountering the First Woman from Antiquity to Today

Unit code SALC21132
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Religions & Theology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


From the Bible to the billboard, Eve has been shaping Western thinking on sin, sexuality and gender for over three thousand years. This level 2 unit offers a wide-ranging examination of the evolution of Eve, the first woman of the Bible, from antiquity to modernity in Judaism, Christianity, and secular culture.

By the end of this course you will have a broad knowledge of the myriad afterlives of Eve in theology, literature, art, and popular culture and the implications these interpretations have had for the developments of concepts of “woman” and human nature in the West. Topics will include ‘Goddess in the Garden – Eve in the Ancient Near East’, ‘Pandora’s Pal: Eve’s Early Evolution to Femme Fatale’, ‘Tripping Up: Gnostic Interpretations of Eve’s Fall into Knowledge’, ‘Original Sinner: Gendering Sin in the Middle Ages’ ‘The First Woman Question: Eve and the Querelle des Femmes’, ‘Imagining Eve: Painting the Fall’ and ‘New World, New Woman: Eve at the Movies’ (subject to change each year).

Students on this module will have the opportunity to examine the interpretation of Genesis 1—4 in a considerable breadth of primary and secondary sources, examining theological and literary texts, as well as the visual arts and popular culture. 


  • To examine ways in which Eve has been constructed in a variety of Jewish, Christian and secular traditions, past and present;
  • To help students acquire the knowledge, analytical skills, and historical imagination essential for a critical understanding of Eve;
  • To develop interdisciplinary skills in critical evaluation of a range of sources from different historical periods and different disciplines.

Learning outcomes



Topics will include

  • ‘Goddess in the Garden – Eve in the ancient Near East
  • ‘Pandora’s Pal: Eve’s Early evolution to Femme Fatale’
  •  ‘Tripping Up: Gnostic Interpretations of Eve’s Fall into Knowledge’
  • ‘Original Sinner: Gendering Sin in the Middle Ages’
  •  ‘The First Woman Question: Eve and the Querelle des Femmes
  •  ‘Imagining Eve: Painting the Fall’
  •  ‘New World, New Woman: Eve at the Movies’.

Topics are subject to change and dependent on contributors to the course.

Teaching and learning methods

  • Interactive lectures;
  • Seminars on weekly topic: set reading from primary and/or secondary literature, and/or image, cultural object etc. for students to respond to. Questions will be provided to provoke and direct discussion;
  • Blackboard resource for module to encourage independent learning.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate an awareness of the complex and varied history of interpretation of Eve;
  • Demonstrate critical understanding of how texts, images and traditions can be used to interpret the significance of Eve;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the impact of Genesis 1-4 on Western conceptions of sin, sexuality and gender.

Intellectual skills

  • Construct an argument in written form and oral form;
  • Locate and retrieve relevant information from primary sources and secondary material;
  • Assimilate and summarise large quantities of evidence.

Practical skills

  • Present the results of their work in a professional manner with appropriate reference to sources and modern published scholarship;
  • Present the results of their work in an accessible way for the general public;
  • Conduct bibliographic searches;
  • Use e-resources and gain knowledge to research methods and resources.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Construct an argument in oral and written form;
  • Produce materials appropriate to specific audiences;
  • Conduct independent research;
  • Manage time and resources;
  • Engage in critical discussion.

Assessment methods

Assessment task

Formative or Summative


Weighting within unit (if summative)

Essay plan


250 words




2500 words


Artefact analysis


2500 words



Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Written feedback on essay plan


Written feedback on artefact analysis

Summative (also functions as formative feedback in preparation for essay)

Written feedback on essay


Additional one-to-one feedback available (during the consultation hour or by making an appointment).



Recommended reading

Various authors, ‘Eve’, in Christine Helmer et al. (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Bible Online (2014). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. Retrieved 14 Jan. 2017, from

Becking, Bob, and Susanne. Hennecke. Out of Paradise: Eve and Adam and Their Interpreters (Hebrew Bible Monographs; 30. Sheffield: Sheffied Phoenix Press, 2011).

Morris, Paul and Sawyer, Deborah (eds.) A Walk in the Garden: Biblical, Iconographical and Literary Images of Eden (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series, 136. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1992).

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
External visits 2
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 165

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Holly Morse Unit coordinator

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