I have suggested that Eve may be a Biblical transposition of a well-known Hittite deity, namely Hapantaliya (van Gessel 1998 [1]: 97-99). Decisive progress toward the understanding of this deity was possible through the contribution of V. Haas (2002 [2]), who connected the name to the Luwian hawa/i- "sheep," instead of Hittite hapa- "river" (Archi 1995 [3]) and documented all the religious and magic background related to the "Queen of remedies" – wassiyas MUNUS.LUGAL-as – (Güterbock 1986 [4]: 208, 211; Haas 2003 [5]: 5, 24; Archi 1995 [3]: 16). There are three main reasons to compare Eve and Hapantaliya: 1) Eve is "built" from a rib taken from Adam, who is asleep when the surgery is made (SLEEP). The Luwian deity is known for sedative potions she concocts for other gods in the Hittite pantheon (Haas 2003 [5]: 108-109, 135, 144, 199, 269, 293, 297, 326-327, 371); 2) Eve is punished with an increase of birth pangs (BIRTH), and this may have something to do with the childless woman taking magical implements from Hapantaliya’s temple (Haas 2003 [5]: 84-85, 532-533, 630, 705-706, 759); 3) Eve is the mother of the first shepherd, Abel, and Hapantaliya is the Sun God’s shepherdess (SHEPHERDESS) too (Haas 2003 [5]: 47, 439). It is a rebuttal of the great expectations coming from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, said to be desirable to "make one wise" (Gn 3, 6: לְהַשְׂכִּיל). The root שָׂכַל (śkl, TWAT 781–795) is a homograph of שָׁכֹל "being bereft of children," (škl, TWAT 1324–1327), so that the passage of Genesis may be reread as follows: "the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was to be desired to be bereft of children." As in the Zuwi ritual, the "woman without children" (wannummiya-, Hahn 1967 [6]; Pringle 1993 [7]: 293-294, HEG4 288-290; EDHIL 956-957) fetches materials from the temple of Hapantaliya (CTH 412; Giorgieri 1988/1989 [8]; Hutter 2000 [9]), we are allowed to think that Eve was meant to represent the confrontation with a Hittite model of woman that was not ideal at all for Genesis. The "childless woman", who is related to magic in the Zuwi ritual, might hazardously incline to warfare in other circumstances that I have tried to pinpoint about Adah and Zillah, wives of Lamech.

Last Updated: May 30, 2021

  1. van Gessel, B.H.L., Onomasticon of the Hittite pantheon. 1998, Leiden: Brill.
  2. Haas, V., Die Göttin Hapantali(ja) und die Schafe, P. Taracha, Editor. 2002, Agade: Warsaw. p. 143-146.
  3. Archi, A., Hapantali, O. Carruba, M. Giorgieri, and C. Mora, Editors. 1995, Gianni Iuculano Editore: Pavia. p. 13-18.
  4. Güterbock, H.G., A Religious Text From Maşat. Anadolu Arastirmalari, 1986. 10: p. 205-214.
  5. Haas, V., Materia Magica et Medica Hethitica: ein Beitrag zur Heilkunde im Alten Orient. 2003: Walter de Gruyter.