Rosemary Radford Ruether

in Goddesses and the Divine Feminine

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780520231467
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940413 | DOI:

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The powerful goddesses we find during the second and first millennia BCE in societies in Mesopotamia, Palestine, Egypt, and Greece—such as Inanna/Ishtar, Anat, Isis, and Demeter—do not appear to be survivals of some original, pro-woman, great goddess who goes back to Paleolithic times. Kingly and queenly gods and goddesses could be inventions reflecting the same process by which urban society, social hierarchy, and literacy were developing sometime in the fourth to third millennia BCE. The suppression of all female symbolism, not only for deity but even for the collective human, is the dominant agenda of patriarchal religion, which reached its climax in Puritan Protestantism. The truth about the original matricentric society and culture began to be discovered in nineteenth-century anthropology and archaeology. Now there is a full-fledged rediscovery of this earlier culture, together with its redevelopment, which must serve as a redemptive alternative to these long dark ages of violence and domination from which we currently suffer.

Keywords: goddesses; female symbolism; patriarchal religion; Protestantism; anthropology; archaeology; Inanna; Anat; Isis; Demeter

Chapter.  4570 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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