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Eden for Cyborgs: Ecocriticism and Genesis 2–3

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image of Biblical Interpretation

This article begins by introducing the work of a leading feminist theorist, Donna Haraway, especially her classic article, "A Manifesto for Cyborgs," and its relevance for ecocriticism of the Hebrew Bible. Building on the work of Hilary Klein, Haraway argues that Marxism, feminism and technoscience often work out of origin stories that reinscribe the dualisms that feminists seek to overcome. She refers to all contemporary origin stories as Eden stories. Her analysis of Jane Goodall's work at Gombe is an example. Haraway seeks myths or figures that blur the boundaries between the dualisms that structure oppression, and that may help imagine a more livable future. Much of her work is with "monsters" because they often define the limits of community in Western culture. For instance, although the cyborg has its origin in a horrible myth of patriarchal capitalism about destruction of Earth and escape into space, she suggests the cyborg has the potential to subvert its origin because it blurs the boundaries between humanity and nature and redefines both. The serpent in the Garden of Eden story is such a boundary transgressing monster. It blurs the boundaries between God and nature, and humanity and nature. With the help of the snake, the humans acquire the discernment to fulfill their preordained vocation to serve and protect Earth and choose reality and full humanity with all its ambiguities. An interpretation of the story that focuses on the serpent could decenter heterosexist and anthropocentric readings and serve as a subversive figure for the future of the Earth community.

Affiliations: 1: University of Winnipeg


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