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Comparative Religion

Goddesses and the divine feminine : a Western religious by Rosemary Ruether

By Rosemary Ruether

This landmark paintings offers the main illuminating portrait we need to date of goddesses and sacred woman imagery in Western culture—from prehistory to modern goddess events. fantastically written, lucidly conceived, and far-ranging in its implications, this paintings might help readers achieve a greater appreciation of the complexity of the social forces— ordinarily androcentric—that have formed the symbolism of the sacred female. even as, it charts a brand new path for locating a very egalitarian imaginative and prescient of God and human family via a feminist-ecological spirituality.

Rosemary Radford Ruether starts off her exploration of the divine female with an research of prehistoric archaeology that demanding situations the preferred concept that, until eventually their overthrow via male-dominated monotheism, many historic societies have been matriarchal in constitution, ruled via a female divinity and present in concord with nature. For Ruether, the ancient facts indicates the truth approximately those societies is far extra advanced. She is going directly to contemplate key myths and rituals from Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, and Anatolian cultures; to check the relationships between gender, deity, and nature within the Hebrew faith; and to debate the improvement of Mariology and feminine mysticism in medieval Catholicism, and the continuation of knowledge mysticism in Protestanism. She additionally provides a provocative research of the assembly of Aztec and Christian woman symbols in Mexico and of brand new neo-pagan events within the United States.

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Engels, however, drawing on patterns of Western thought that posited an original “Eden” followed by a “fall,” described original matriarchy as a time of “primitive communism,” contrasting it to the ascendance of patriarchy that followed, with its unjust domination of the male over the female. ”8 This, for Engels, was the cellular model of all subsequent oppressive class relations between owner and worker. He argued that civilization had been built on a series of unjust systems of exploitation, but that this history would culminate in a final transformation, in which women would be emancipated and communism would reappear as a higher and final stage.

This interpretation holds that the male is the dominant food provider, that from the dawn of human development he was the one who left the home base to secure food, primarily by hunting animals. ” This view assumes that the primary diet of early humans was meat and that the role of hunter was filled exclusively by males. 3 This view casts women as passive recipients of the food brought back to the home base by the males. Women's primary work was maternal, producing and raising babies. They also did secondary food processing, grinding and cooking grains or meat.

A major authority for the new matriarchalism and Goddess quest of the 1980s and 1990s has been Marija Gimbutas, archaeologist and cultural historian of Neolithic “Old Europe” and author of such treatises as Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe (1982) (originally Gods and Goddesses of Old Europe, 1974), The Language of the Goddess (1989), and The Civilization of the Goddess (1991). )30 In her successive books, which are copiously illustrated, Gimbutas not only describes the extraordinary pottery and figurines of Neolithic cultures in the Balkans from 7000 to 3000 BCE but also embeds these images and artifacts in a story of great mythic power.

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