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The Melammu Project

The Heritage of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East

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Creating the Woman in Antiquity: Gendered Aspects of Human Creation

Sixteenth Workshop of the Melammu Project
2-3 June 2022

Organisers: Stéphanie Anthonioz, Sebastian Fink, Kordula Schnegg

One of the most striking features of the account of human creation in Genesis is that it offers a separate account of woman’s creation. While many aspects of the Biblical story of creation have clear similarities with other Ancient Near Eastern creation texts, the separate creation of man and woman does not seem to have clear parallels in the creation accounts of the surrounding cultures, with the exception of Aristophanes’ humoristic account of the creation of man in Plato’s Symposium.
Therefore, one of the aims of the workshop is to reexamine different accounts of human creation with a clear focus on the creation of the different sexes. In particular, we hope to pursue the following questions through Ancient texts: When did the different sexes emerge?; Did the first human being have two sexes?; Was humanity created as a whole?; Is the first natural birth described?
As narratives seemingly differentiate human creation, they also provide information concerning their weltanschauung and the ways that humans, in their unity and diversity, are conceptualized and socialized. We also hope to scrutinize the theological question: do creation narratives infer a particular relation, physical or spiritual, between created humans and their creator(s)? The aim of the workshop is thus to bring together comparative evidence for the creation of humans, and to discuss how these narratives inform us about the place of man and woman as well as power relations in distinct visions of the world. Last but in no way least, our comparative approach will enable us to identify the emergence of certain motifs and ideas and to trace their transmissions in the Ancient World.

The provisional program can be found here.

Further information will follow in due time.