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Exploring Cultural Parallels

Exploring Cultural Parallels

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Exploring Cultural Parallels

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  1. Exploring Cultural Parallels Comparing Eve and Pandora

  2. Creation stories reveal a great deal about a culture. • What is the nature of mankind? • What is the nature of God/the Gods? • How do men and women relate to each other? • How should mankind relate to God/the gods?

  3. Consider the Greek and Hebrew stories of Pandora and Eve

  4. We can find these similarities • Both stories describe a “first woman,” • Both women were created after the first man. • Both were created by a supreme male god. • Both women introduce death, woe, evil and toil into the world. • Both stories reveal man’s inability to resist temptation.

  5. But consider these differences

  6. Pandora was created in an atmosphere of robbery and deceit. Think about it--

  7. Prometheus was a god long before Zeus took the Throne on Olympus. In fact, he fought for Zeus against Cronos, but he never had true respect for Zeus • He felt that the new Olympian gods had no compassion for each other or the mortals on earth below.

  8. When Zeus took the throne, he had no interest in the mortal race of men. He intended for them to simply die off. He said that knowledge and divine gifts would only bring misery to mortals, and he insisted that Prometheus not interfere with his plans.

  9. Prometheus loved man more than the Olympian gods. After all they had banished his family to Tartarus. So when Zeus decreed that man must give the gods a portion of each animal they killed, Prometheus decided to trick Zeus. (He was afraid that men would starve.)

  10. This was Prometheus first trick. At a banquet, he prepared 2 sacrifices. He made one sacrifice of fat and bones (but he made it look good.) The other sacrifice was of the finest meat, hidden in the hide of the animal.

  11. Zeus was to pick the sacrifice he preferred. (This would be the kind of sacrifice men would offer him from then on.) • Fooled, Zeus picked the bones, AND since he had given his word, he had to accept that as his share for future sacrifices from men. • But boy was he was angry!

  12. In his anger, Zeus took fire away from man. But Prometheus lit a torch from the sun and brought it back to earth. Zeus was so enraged that he decided to inflict a terrible punishment on both man and Prometheus.

  13. To punish man, Zeus had Hephaestus create a creature of stunning beauty. The gods gave her many charms, but Zeus had Hermes give her a cheating heart and lying tongue. A final gift was a jar which Pandora was forbidden to open.

  14. So from the beginning, Pandora was intended to be a curse to man, one that he could not resist. Man was to yearn for her and to “long for and embrace the very source of his torment.”

  15. Now consider the Hebrew Eve. She was created in an atmosphere of love and compassion felt by God for his creation. God had observed Adam’s loneliness and felt that he needed a help meet.

  16. After creating the birds and the beasts, God saw that they were not enough for Adam. So God created Eve, not far away on Olympus or in heaven, but on earth. Since Eve was made from Adam’s rib, she couldn’t be evil. She was a part of him. Eve was not created to torment Adam, but to complete him.

  17. Now consider the WAY each woman brought evil into the world. First, Pandora brought evils with her in a box from the gods. Second, Pandora was completely alone when she opened the box. She was not fooled by a sly deceiver.

  18. Now look at Eve. Unlike Pandora, Eve was not alone. Adam was with her. He could have spoken up at any time before she ate the fruit. “She took of the fruit … and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.”Genesis 3: 6

  19. Second, Eve was tricked by Satan. She did not act entirely on her own. According to scripture, the false deceiver tricked her . . . as Adam stood by . . . saying nothing.

  20. Punishment Only the suffering of men is mentioned by Hesiod, who speaks very hatefully of women. According to Hesiod, since there is no good in women, their evil is a two-edged sword-- If men marry, they will live in torment; but if they do not, they will have no sons to care for them in their old age –and, when unmarried men die, their property will be divided up by distant relatives. No acknowledge- ment is made about the suffering of women.

  21. Now consider the Biblical Eve: The Hebrews were not so one-sided in their description. The Bible acknowledges the suffering of, not just men who must toil for their food, but women as well, who will bring forth children in pain.

  22. So what do these stories tell us about the cultures who created them? • To what extent does the Supreme God value man in each culture? • What happens to those who disobey the Supreme God in Greek and Hebrew literature? • How are women viewed in each culture? • Which genders are responsible for hardship and woe in each culture?

  23. The myths and stories told by a society reveal much about that culture’s values. Compare and/or contrast the myth of Pandora and the story of Eve and explain what each story reveals about its culture. Identify at least 3 major issues.

  24. Information gathered from the following sources: • Hesiod. Theogony. (Tr. 1914 by Hugh G. Evelyn-White) (l. 492-617) January 25, 2003) Available online at • Hesiod. Works and kDays. (Tr. 1914 by Hugh G. Evelyn-White) (l. 42-272) January 25, 2003) Available online at • Hunt, J. M. The Creation of Man by Prometheus. (n.d.) (January 22, 2003) • • Phipps, William E. Eve and Pandora Contrasted. Theology Today. April 1988 vol. 4 available online at

  25. Prometheus International, Inc. GREEK MYTHOLOGY OF PROMETHEUS. (2002) (January 25, 2002) • XAVR. Prometheus the Rebel. Greek Mythology. (1998) (January 254, 2003.)

  26. Created by Rosemary C. Perry January 26, 2003 for Myths And Legends