Adam & Eve

Good evening.

I recently received the latest issue of Biblical Archeology Review. The cover story is in regards to Adam & Eve, and it’s very interesting.
The article starts on page 33, and its title is “Was Eve Made from Adam’s Rib-or His Baculum?”

Without delving into the entire article, I was curious to know if the Church has any thoughts or interpretation, or is even aware of this latest “theory” based on the Hebrew translations tsal’otav (his ribs) & tsela (rib).

The author made a statement in the article saying, "Hebrew tsela’ considered by itself, does not suggest the notion of “rib.”

Is this significant? Any thoughts or information would be greatly appreciated.

No one cares. :wink:

I cannot think of any Catholic doctrines that would rise or fall on this question. So I imagine it would be up for debate. The Catholic Church does not have an official position on every passage in the Bible.

I had to go and look up what a “baculum” was, though. :blush: Now that I know what it is, I’d be more inclined to disagree with the theory. :stuck_out_tongue: If that were the case, we’d kind of lose the connection between Eve being taken from the side of Adam while he was in a deep sleep and the Church (the Bride of Christ) being born from the pierced side of Christ while on the “deep sleep” of death on the Cross. That parallel doesn’t work so well if the bone came from a lower area. :o

I’m sure it’s an interesting article, though. :slight_smile: And even if the author were correct, it wouldn’t change anything fundamental about our Catholic faith.

In the Encyclical, Arcanum, Pope Leo XIII wrote:

“We record what is to all known, and cannot be doubted by any, that God, on the sixth day of creation, having made man from the slime of the earth, and having breathed into his face the breath of life, gave him a companion, whom He miraculously took from the side of Adam when he was locked in sleep. God thus, in His most far-reaching foresight, decreed that this husband and wife should be the natural beginning of the human race, from whom it might be propagated and preserved by an unfailing fruitfulness throughout all futurity of time. And this union of man and woman, that it might answer more fittingly to the infinite wise counsels of God, even from the beginning…”


Human males do not have a baculum.

The Catholic Church takes NO POSITION on the scientific explanations of human physical origin, unless it violates an article of faith.
(Typically the violated article is whether or not God infused a soul directly into two first humans as opposed to gradual development of a soul)

Not having read the article, I would guess that this theory posits an explanation of why that bone is missing (at least, from the perspective of the ancient author). Sort of like how serpents don’t have legs.

That is exactly what the author of this very interesting article said. And since males have all their ribs, but no longer have a baculum, it would make sense. But in any case, it is not unusual at all for words to have many definitions and also translation.

My apologies, I’m still trying to get used to navigating the forum and its tools.

Thanks for the replies, and I didn’t want to elaborate too much on the article.

I didn’t place much significance in the “theory,” I just wanted to gather some opinions and maybe get an idea of an approach to use in arguing against it if necessary.

Many thanks!

There was a thread here a little while back on this subject, when the article was announced. I can’t find that thread at the moment…

Here’s the thing: ‘tsela’ isn’t the only word that means ‘side’. The word in the Septuagint (πλευρῶν) as well as the word in the Latin (‘costa’) can both mean ‘side’ and not just ‘rib’. (For example, Greek texts on geometry talk about the πλευρῶν (that is, the ‘side’) of a triangle.) Therefore, his assertion that the Septuagint mistranslated ‘tsela’ doesn’t hold up well: both the Greek and Latin support the ‘side’ meaning… without requiring the connotation of ‘rib’.

On the other hand, in English, ‘rib’ is only ‘rib’, not ‘side’. So, it would seem that he’s taking a later English translation/connotation and trying to make it fit the earlier text. The argument just doesn’t work well (although, given the scandalous/shock value of his ‘baculum’ suggestion, I’m sure it’ll get quoted by somebody)…

Lets also keep in mind that God is also the author of all science as well. I personally take it literal and here are my reasons why. God made Adam. Adam was made with an entirely perfect DNA code. Now if Adam was put to sleep and an actual rib was taken from him, that would not change Adams DNA code to containing one less rib unless God willed it to change his DNA code to contain one less rib. Kind of like when someone has an amputated limb their DNA code still reads the same. Adam personally may have had the physical rib taken out however that as I said wouldn’t negate the actual DNA code of adam that has been handed down to us humans throughout time. With all our ribs…

Heh. Good point. :slight_smile:

In reality, unless you are a scholar with a working knowledge of Biblical languages and Latin, you really can’t present an argument that will be convincing. Taking someone else’s argument only works if one is thoroughly familiar with the subject, enough to be able to tell if that person knows their own stuff, and has the academic credentials to present it. And to oppose someone who has the correct knowledge base when one does not is foolishness and a waste of time.

I am not making a side one way or another, I don’t have sufficient knowledge to argue the point, but I am open to the possibility that in 2000 years since the Church has been around, the new discoveries in biblical archaeology and ancient manuscripts and languages have to be considered, rather than dismissed because it’s different or new. We have to wait and see where this goes among scholars. I don’t believe the Church is rigid about this, because it is not rigid about the origin of Creation, except to say that the universe, the earth, and humans were created by God, the process by which that was done is not explained.

Since “sixth day” has been allowed by Popes to have a non-literal translation, it is hard to say what Pope Leo is binding here about literalness. The message is about the origin of marriage, not (for example) whether God literally used “slime” (as opposed to dust) or something else

The article mentioned that tsela doesn’t mean rib, but something off center or lateral. Just speculating but perhaps Eve was a human from a lateral tree line to Adam’s family tree line. So that Adam and Eve would have pre human ancestors in common. Which God added to there nature a immortal soul, and any changes to their DNA. So Adam could truly recognize Eve as Bone of his Bone. :shrug:

I may be reading this wrong but what do you mean family tree line? What pre human ancestors are you talking about? And are you saying God added at a later time their immortal soul as well as changed their DNA?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit