From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed."
Eve is viewed as a femme fatale because she brought about the fall of humankind and in turn introduced sin and death into the world. She succumbs to the temptation of the serpent in the Garden of Eden and is responsible for Adam's fall. She tempts him with her beauty and sexuality to eat the forbidden fruit
"It was not at first clear to me exactly what I was, except that I was someone who was being made to do certain things by someone else who was really the same person as myself—I have always called her Lilith. And yet the acts were mine, not Lilith’s."—“Eve's Side of It” (1935) by Laura Riding
Eve (Hebrew: חַוָּה, Ḥawwāh (Modern Hebrew: "Ḥavah", Arabic:حواء) was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the first woman and the second person created by God, and an important figure in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Her husband was Adam, from whose rib God created her to be his companion. She succumbs to the serpent's temptation via the suggestion that to eat the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would improve on the way God had made her, and that she would not die, and she, believing the Serpent rather than the earlier instruction from God, shares the fruit with Adam. As a result, the first humans are expelled from the Garden of Eden and are cursed.
Eve in Christianity
In Christian tradition Eve is often used as the exemplar of sexual temptation, a tendency not found in Judaism where Lilith plays that role. Furthermore, the serpent that tempted Eve was interpreted within most Christian traditions to have been Satan, although there is no mention of this identification in the Torah. In fact, Genesis does not even hint at any of these readings, although it is found in some of the Jewish apocrypha but their adoption by many Christians has marked the religion's radical break from its Judaic parent. Writings dealing with this subject are extant in Greek, Latin, Slavonic, Syriac, Armenian and Arabic. They go back undoubtedly to a Jewish basis, but in some of the forms in which they appear at present they are Christianized throughout. The oldest and for the most part Jewish portion of this literature is said Primary Adam Literature (see Life of Adam and Eve). Before we discuss this Primary Adam Literature we shall mention other members of this literature, which, though derivable ultimately from Jewish sources, are Christian in their present form; The Book of Adam and Eve, also called the Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan and a Syriac work entitled Cave of Treasures. This work has close affinities to the Conflict, but is said by Dillmann to be more original.
Drawing upon the statement in II Cor., xi, 3, where reference is made to her seduction by the serpent, and in I Tim., ii, 13, where the Apostle enjoins submission and silence upon women, arguing that "Adam was first formed; then Eve. And Adam was not seduced, but the woman being seduced, was in the transgression", because Eve had tempted Adam to eat of the fatal fruit, some early Fathers of the Church held her and all subsequent women to be the first sinners, and especially responsible for the Fall because of the sin of Eve. She was also called "the lance of the demon", "the road of iniquity" "the sting of the scorpion", "a daughter of falsehood, the sentinel of Hell", "the enemy of peace" and "of the wild beast, the most dangerous." "You are the devil's gateway," Tertullian told his female listeners in the early 2nd century, and went on to explain that all women were responsible for the death of Christ: "On account of your desert _ that is, death - even the Son of God had to die." In this way Eve is equated with the Greco-Roman myth of Pandora who was responsible for bringing evil into the world.
In 1486 the Renaissance Dominicans Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger took this further as one of their justifications in the Malleus Maleficarum ("Hammer of the Witches") a central text in three centuries of persecution of "witches". Such "Eve bashing" is much more common in Christianity than in Judaism or Islam, though major differences in women status does not seem to have been the result. This is often balanced by the typology of the Madonna, much as "Old Adam" is balanced by Christ - this is even the case in the "Mallus" whose authors were capable of writings things such as "Justly we may say with Cato of Utica: If the world could be rid of women, we should not be without God in our intercourse. For truly, without the wickedness of women, to say nothing of witchcraft, the world would still remain proof against innumerable dangers" but were perhaps aware that (tragically) a large percentage of those accusing witches were female as well, and feared losing their support: "There are also others who bring forward yet other reasons, of which preachers should be very careful how they make use. For it is true that in the Old Testament the Scriptures have much that is evil to say about women, and this because of the first temptress, Eve, and her imitators; yet afterwards in the New Testament we find a change of name, as from Eva to Ave (as S. Jerome says), and the whole sin of Eve taken away by the benediction of Mary. Therefore preachers should always say as much praise of them as possible." It is interesting to note that in pre - industrial times, misogynic authorities were often (such as in "The Romance of the Rose" feminist debate) just called "The Roman Books", due to the perceived paternalistic attitude of both Pagan & Christian Romans to gender problems. Another example often given of this, Gregory of Tours report of how, in the 585CE Council of Macon, attended by 43 bishops that one bishop maintained that woman could not be included under the term "man", and as being responsible for Adam's sin, had a deficient soul. However, he accepted the reasoning of the other bishops and did not press his case for the holy book of the Old Testament tells us that in the beginning, when God created man, "Male and female he created them and called their name Adam," which means earthly man; even so, he called the woman Eve, yet of both he used the word "man."
Some Christians claim monogamy is implied in the story of Adam and Eve as one woman is created for one man. Eve's being taken from his side implies not only her secondary role in the conjugal state (1 Corinthians 11:9), but also emphasizes the intimate union between husband and wife, and the dependence of the latter on the former "Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh."