Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Type



Religious Studies

Director of Thesis

Dr. Erin Roberts

First Reader

Dr. Stephanie Mitchem

Second Reader

Dr. Stephanie Mitchem


For centuries, the traditional Christian understanding of the Genesis narrative has relied heavily on the patriarchal biases of historic church figures to enforce a gendered hierarchy where women are deprived of authority, voice, and agency. My thesis deconstructs these misogynistic interpretations to provide liberating, alternative readings for the Garden of Eden as well as New Testament verses that utilize Eve’s transgression to justify women’s secondary status. As a former Christian, I have witnessed the persistence of this oppressive theology, often repackaged as a “complementary” relationship between sexes where women must dutifully submit to the headship of men. Therefore, by building off the wealth of feminist biblical literature, I analyze inaccuracies in English translations, re-examine Eve’s character with a strengths-based approach, place the New Testament texts within their proper cultural and linguistic contexts, and cross compare patriarchal verses with biblical indications of female leadership, piety and equality. My research bridges the gap between Christianity and feminism to prove that one can retain their faith while denying the existence of a divine mandate of patriarchy. Moreover, this eradication of misogyny in religion destroys one of the many bases upon which it stands in order to emancipate all women in the modern age, whether they are religious or secular.

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