You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Biblical scholars are arguing about whether Eve was created from Adam’s penis bone.

Museum für Angewandte Kunst

Chapter two of Genesis describes God creating Eve out of Adam’s rib, but one scholar—Ziony Zevit, a professor of Hebrew Bible at American Jewish University in California—has offered an opposing theory. According to Zevit, the Hebrew word typically translated as “rib,” tsela, is used in the creation story to refer to a very different part of the male anatomy. 

Zevit’s philological theory didn’t get a lot of attention when it was first published in the Biblical Archeology Review’s September/October issue (title: “Was Eve Made from Adam’s Rib—or His Baculum?”), despite a press conference touting the claim. But a Haaretz article published this morning, in which its author argues that Zevit’s hypothesis is most likely wrong, made the story go viral.  

Zevit has actually been pushing this baculum theory for a long time: it’s in his 2014 book on the Garden of Eden, and back in 2001 he and a biologist co-wrote an article in the American Journal of Medical Genetics making the same case. (The crux of his argument is that the Biblical story was an etiological explanation for why human males, unlike most other mammals and primates, don’t have a penis bone.)

According to The Daily Mail, “Christians have reacted with fury” to Zevit’s theory, which is apparently Daily Mail code for three people writing angry internet comments.