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Enticed by Eden
How Western Culture Uses, Confuses, (and Sometimes Abuses) Adam and Eve
Sex, seduction, and the perfect marriage. Though it may not have been the intent of Genesis 1-3, the biblical first couple has been used for generations to sell consumable goods and strange ideologies— both salacious and holy—to willing western masses. And, Linda Schearing and Valarie Ziegler argue, Adam and Eve have become archetypal figures for secular and religious society alike as they are transplanted from their ancient garden to a more modern Eden, often with eyebrow-raising consequences.
Finding common ground between both religious and secular recastings of Adam and Eve, Schearing and Ziegler offer page-turning evidence of just how ubiquitous the first couple has become. From online dating services and promises of God-ordained romance to the advertising and selling of games, bathroom fixtures, and even risqué bloomers, Adam and Eve are a hot commodity in modern culture. These strange, confusing, often humorous, and sometimes shocking accounts testify to the myriad of ways in which Genesis 1-3 has been recycled and recreated in the popular imagination, and moreover, in promotion of the Western worldview.
1. Someday My Prince Will Come: When Eden Becomes Camelot
2. This One Shall Be Called Soul Mate (Or Will She?!: Adam, Eve, and Online Dating
3. Adam as Alpha Male: Christian Domestic Discipline and the Erotics of Wife Spanking
4. Laughing at Adam and Eve: Humor and Gender Stereotypes
5. And You Thought the Fruit Was Tempting?: Adam, Eve, and Advertising
6. Ecstasy in Eden: The Sexploitation of Adam and Eve
"From online dating to erotic wife spanking and from the advertising industry to the adult entertainment business, Schearing and Ziegler guide us on an entertaining romp through the intricate maze of pop culture’s use of the Garden of Eden story. The breadth of coverage is balanced by depth of insight, making it a treat for veteran and novice reader alike. Who thought there could be a fresh, engaging, and enlightening book on such a well worn text!"
—Mark Roncace, Associate Professor of Religion, Wingate University
“A fascinating look at how the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden still influences our culture, from the Christian wife-spanking movement and online dating to Madison Avenue advertising and the jokes we love to tell. Oh my!"
—Betty A. DeBerg, Professor of Religion and Director of National Study of Campus Minis tries, University of Northern Iowa
“Enticed by Eden presents the story of Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden in some new and surprising ways. Adam and Eve become the butt of jokes, the topic of ads, and the name of popular adult entertainment store; Eden becomes a land of romance. Whether it’s finding a Christian mate, selling tobacco, or even spanking your wife, Schearing and Ziegler have provided a lively discussion on the commodification of one of the Bible’s most familiar stories."
—Leslie Levin, Associate Professor of Business Management, Marymount Manhattan College
“A very engaging and readable book. Through their exploration of Christian and secular appropriations of the Eden narrative within the context of contemporary American advertising, dating websites, humor, and the sex industry, Schearing and Ziegler offer a thought-provoking contribution to ongoing studies of the Bible in popular culture."
—Caroline Blyth, Lecturer in Biblical Studies, School of Theology, University of Auckland
"... hilarious but always thoughtful, this is a wonderful read, a worthy addition to the literature of religion and culture."
—Publishers Weekly (February 2013)
“Reading Enticed by Eden is an enlightening experience.”
—Robert Comwall, Ponderings on a Faith Journey
"... a fastinating and insightful look at the roots of Western culture."
—Library Bookwatch (March 2013)
"an analytical, often hilarious and occasionally touching, look at the first couple's continuing influence in our culture."
— Greg Carey, Huffington Post, April 24, 2013
"One can wonder if Adam and Eve would be surprised that their names, and their legends, live on so many millennia later. Schearing and Ziegler, professors of religious studies at Gonzaga and DePauw Universities respectively, have crafted a fascinating survey for a popular audience of how our first parents have lived on in western culture. Reflected in the arts, in gender studies, in parenting models, and even in the adult film industry, the Edenic couple have been called to duty, sometimes in an authentic quest for meaning, but often in ways that would have made them blush. Beneath the authors' humor can be found serious commentary, not just on the biblical story, but on how modern society views itself through the creation metaphor. The authors do a masterful job of deconstructing the many layers of the legacy of Eden. At times hilarious but always thoughtful, this is a wonderful read, a worthy addition to the literature of religion and culture."
—Publishers Weekly (February 2013)
Linda S. Schearing is Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, Gonzaga University.
Valarie H. Ziegler is Professor of Religious Studies, DePauw University.