BA Comparative Religion and Social Anthropology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

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

Course unit fact file
Unit code SALC21132
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
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 may  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’. 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


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


Employability skills

Analytical skills
analyse and examine a large amount of often difficult information ¿ Retrieve information from complex sources; ¿ Write in accordance with specific guidance for a particular purpose.
develop independent and creative thinking
retrieve information from complex sources
Written communication
write in accordance with specific guidance for a particular purpose

Assessment methods

Essay plan 0%
Essay 50%
Artefact analysis 50%


Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Written feedback on essay plan


Written feedback on essay

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

Written feedback on artefact analysis


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
Lectures 22
Seminars 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Holly Morse Unit coordinator

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