Ten Reasons: The Naming of Woman

It looks like I’ll have to break my pattern to get to the heart of this argument, but it’s the only way. The author believes that because the man gave the name woman to her it proves his headship relationship over her. His first argument points to … the original readers.

Perhaps I should ask him: “Who do you mean by the original readers?” Moses is said to have written Genesis and instructed it to be read aloud to the people. Odds are the priests would be given this responsibility as a fresh off of the presses version of this book is too few, too precious, and too rare to let it be passed around to just anyone. At any rate, they lived 2400 years after the events of Genesis. Were we talking about any other subject, the ‘window’ of creation would be considered closed and all teachings resulting from this time-frame would be clearly marked as cultural. So what the original readers, who were representing the Israelite culture as they left their Egyptian culture behind, would have thought wouldn’t have any real bearing on the subject. After all, they might have been exposed to Egyptian myths about naming and that would influence their own interpretation. Besides the Israelite’s own cultural beliefs aren’t all useful to the author, take, for example their belief that the reason why Genesis has two creation accounts is that Adam’s first wife was named Lilith and she did something wrong that made it necessary for God to create she who would named Eve to replace her. Yet you don’t see the author using the mythology of Lilith to explain why Male Headship existed before the fall even though he points to other beliefs the original readers would have as legitimate proof of his claims. At least he’s consistent, choosing to believe only in parts of of mythology that helps his cause and only in the Bible verses that helps his cause – everything else is cultural and not-important.

Naming mythology is one tool that he’s comfortable pointing to – well, parts of it anyway. He totally misunderstands the point. Yes, the ancient people all over the world had dozens of myths about knowing something’s secret name. If you know a name, you could steal it’s power or control it. When a person’s name is changed, their old one ceases to have any power or meaning over them. But such a thing only happens between the namer in the superior position and the named in the inferior position. If the inferior were to discover the superior’s name, then the tables would be turned and they would take control. This relationship never extends to their respective descendants. Adam Jr. would never have ‘headship’ over Evita because Adam named Eve ‘woman’ and then ‘Eve’ later on. That would break the established rules of Naming mythology – when the rules are broken it ceases to be Naming Mythology and then the original readers would not have recognized it to be true or biding. This is, of course, assuming that ‘Woman’ is a name; if it’s not a name then Adam categorized the woman as a woman, but that doesn’t suggest him having authority over her as it’s not called Category mythology in which case Naming mythology and the authority suggested by it doesn’t apply. Which leaves us simply with a guy-meets-girl story.

Naming mythology never equates to headship – looking at the instances in the Bible where a person’s name was changed, that person was under no obligation to obey the person that changed their name and submit to their authority over them on account of the name change. Daniel (God is my Judge), whose name was changed Belteshazzar (possibly meaning Prince of the King) famously declined to eat meat from the King’s table, disobeyed the edict to not pray to anyone other than the king, and served God first and foremost. Naomi (Pleasant) changed her own name to Mara (Bitter) when she felt that she couldn’t live up to her original name. Hagar gave God a name, saying, “You are the God who sees me.” Naming mythology and headship might have elements of authority in common, but not nearly enough to say that one points to the other.
Keep in mind also that ‘headship’ would not have existed in the time-frame of the original readers, Christ had not reversed the curses and restored the relationship. They would have read the account of the original sin and firmly laid the blame at the feet of Eve as all of the verses that point to Adam being responsible for sin haven’t been written yet and won’t be written for several more centuries. If the original readers didn’t get ‘headship’ then it probably didn’t exist in their time. It would be awkward to imagine a scenario where Adam had headship over Eve, Moses didn’t have headship (he didn’t name his wife, either), and then Paul taught headship minus naming mythology. Perhaps the more accurate timeline is this: “Headship didn’t exist before Paul taught it.” Which meant that Adam certainly didn’t have it before the fall.

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