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Lilith

Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception

Volume 16
Editor(s): Christine Helmer, Steven L. McKenzie, Thomas Römer, Jens Schröter, Barry Dov Walfish, Eric J. Ziolkowski
De Gruyter (Berlin, Boston) 2018

Ancient Near East and Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

Thomas Römer

In Jewish, but also Christian folklore, Lilith is Adam’s first and disobedient wife. This idea, though not attested at all in the HB/OT, was developed due to a rabbinic understanding of the two creation accounts in Gen 1:1–2:3 and 2:4–3:24. According to the priestly account in Gen 1:1–2:3, God creates man and woman simultaneously, both in his “image,” whereas in Gen 2:21–23 YHWH creates the woman out of the “rib” or “side” of the first human (ʾādām). The juxtaposition of these accounts led to t…

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