Goddesses and the Divine Feminine: A Western Religious History

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Joseph Campbell. The Church Against Itself. Rosemary Radford.

About the Book

Women and Redemption: A Theological History. From the Inside Flap "The scholarship in this book is superior, revealing a depth of insight and a scope of knowledge possible only from a scholar who has lived with the concerns of feminist theology for decades. Read more.

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Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase. I've read a few books about the Goddess history. This book is by Rosemary Raford Ruether, you have to read it even if you've read other books. It is complete, well done; just a bit academic. Loved it. Format: Paperback Verified Purchase. Works great. This is a remarkable book. Certainly, not politically correct, since it dares contradict the excesses of the feminist movement.

Everybody interested in the history of the gender war should read it. Format: Paperback. I had to read this for school, and while I do love learning about different deities and religion I was never originally interested in the gender aspect of it. However, Prof. Ruether changed that. Ruether analyzes and explains multiple religions and female divinities from ancient Sumer, to the Medieval Gnostic cults, to the Protestant's views of the Virgin Mary, and to the recent development of Goddess spirituality among feminist Neo-Pagans.

Her bountiful analysis between the female divinities and their relations within the religions of whatever cultures they were worshiped by, and how those relations affected women within said cultures is quite helpful and intriguing. She also presents some skepticism and critique at various theological teachings on women; this skepticism is not hateful or intended as an attack on any religion or spirituality but is nevertheless much needed.


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The only small, and brief, issue I took with is how Ruether used uppercase and lower case spellings of "god" and "goddess". It was somewhat confusing at first but I eventually got around it.

Table of Contents

I recommend this book for any feminist interested in women and religion, whether they be religious or secular themselves. Ruether has done a fine job in avoiding the radicalizing polemics of the feminist movement and providing a balanced perspective of how the feminine aspect of holiness has been marginalized by patriarchy. She does this without waxing nostalgic about a fancied halcyon day when women ruled peacefully. She convincingly argues that this thesis was never established on anything other than an ideological wannabe basis.

Her final chapter, on the modern Wicca movement, provides a good foundation for establishing a tolerant view of how the feminine aspects of divinity can be incorporated into a holistic view of spirituality. I would have liked to have seen a more in-depth analysis of why the early christian fathers were so determined to eliminate the emphasis on feminine Wisdom and replace it with Jesus , but overall she has given an interesting accounting of the process whereby Christianity especially the Protestant variety has become an almost exclusively male preserve.

This book is highly recommended for any student of early religion, the feminist movement or aboriginal spirituality. One of the best books I have read about goddesses, how they were worshipped in the ancient world, and what that all means. Well written, informative, fun to read. I highly recommend, especially to anyone interested in Goddess Worship. One person found this helpful. Format: Hardcover. This is an unusually well-balanced survey of goddesses in history and belief.

Compared with other books on the subject, it offers more substantive material and there is an obvious effort to represent each point of view.

Goddesses and the Divine Feminine by Rosemary Ruether - Read Online

The reader is given a full account of the manifold manifestations of goddesses throughout history as well as the various feminist viewpoints of today. Jeri L. I just love it. Here's another non-scientist accusing a world-renowned scientist Marija Gimbutas of being dogmatic not to mention dead wrong about half of what she - Marija -- has ever written. And then what does Ruether do? She dances out with dogmatic statements of her own. As my mother would say, "It's the pot calling the kettle black! How does Ruether - a theologian -- know with such certainty that "The major stimulus for this development came less from outside nomadic invaders and their horses and more from internal developments One wonders: does she know anything about the vast literature on this particular subject?

About the competing theories? Apparently not; she dismisses the entire area of research with one blithe paragraph bristling with certainty. And how is it that a theologian is so certain that these internal developments were "triggered by the accumulation of wealth"? Ruether doesn't seem to want to get to the truth in this book. It seems to me she wants to hide the truth.

9780520231467 - Goddesses and the Divine Feminine: a Western Religious History by Rosemary Ruether

One can affirm the validity of alternative Goddess spirituality in the contemporary context without insisting that everyone accept the thesis of a literal? Ruether adopts a roughly chronological approach, opening with an anthropological and archaeological look at what we know about gender in prehistory which, it turns out, is not a lot , and about goddesses in the ancient Mediterranean world.

She then examines gender and the divine feminine in Hebrew scriptures, ancient mystery cults, the New Testament and medieval Christianity before turning her attention to a particular case study of gender in the cultural contact between Aztec religion and Christianity in Mexico. The final chapters explore possible reasons for the popularity of the idea of matriarchy, with Ruether raising the overarching question: Do we need a myth of matriarchal prehistory today?

Scholars and educated lay readers who are looking for a fair, comprehensive assessment of what is at stake in the debates about the divine feminine will read this with great interest. Ruether is an informed and lively guide, and her book complete with nearly four dozen illustrations manages to be both opinionated and balanced. May Copyright Reed Business Information. This generally normative Christian survey combines generous quotations with explication and biographical notes.

Missing are, for example, Mary Baker Eddy, the development of the Shechinah, recuperations of Lilith, feminist fantasy writing, North American indigenous figures such as Spider Woman, and lesbian-separatist theologies. An opening dismissal of archaeologist Marija Gimbutas's argument for prehistoric goddess-worshiping matriarchies anticipates discussion of how similar 19th- and earlyth-century arguments Bushnell, Schopenhauer, Bachofen, Briffault, Engels, Gage, Stanton are equally ideologically driven.

Seeking the female-imaged divine, Ruether Graduate Theological Union reproduces familiar material: ancient Near East, Egypt, Greece, biblical traditions "Israel" and "Church" as bride, Sophia, Mariology, maternal imagery for God , and their Catholic-medieval and Protestant-millennial interpreters. On feminist goddess worship, Ruether marks US contributions by Z. Budapest and Starhawk, Carol Christ's combination of process and goddess theologies, and the development of neo-paganism. Theoretical remarks e.

McFague, E. Levine Vanderbilt University. In no area of study and thought has modern feminism engendered more heated debate than in religion. Since the beginning of time, the major religions of the world seem to have been predominantly under masculine control, with women's roles greatly marginalized. Ruether feminist theology, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA , who has been in the thick of the feminist debate for several years, here heeds the call of feminists wishing to reclaim the Goddess, drawing on religious movements dating from prehistoric to contemporary times to inform her text.

She challenges popular notions; considers notable myths and rituals from, among others, Sumerian and Babylonian cultures; and examines the relationship among gender, religion, and nature, thereby painting a cumulative portrait of the divine feminine in Western theory and practice. Clearly written, erudite, lavishly detailed, and with unbiased analysis, this work will appeal mainly to scholarly readers and is recommended for academic libraries.

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