Norton Simon Art Foundation

Still in Eden, Adam (shown here) and Eve (see next photo) consider the forbidden fruit in companion paintings by German painter Lucas Cranach, the Elder (1472–1553). At the serpent’s prompting, Eve ate the fruit and Adam followed her lead (Genesis 3:1–6). Was Eve cursed by God for her disobedience? Adrien Bledstein points out that even though only the serpent and the ground were cursed in the story (Genesis 3:14–19) the “curse of Eve” has been used as an excuse for centuries of oppression of women. Recently, scholars have cited Eve’s curse as proof the author of Genesis must have been male. In Bledstein’s interpretation, God does not curse Eve but warns her—and later, her son Cain—of some of the pitfalls of the human condition.