Chapter

The Prepatriarchal Hypothesis

Rita M. Gross

in A Garland of Feminist Reflections

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780520255852
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943667 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520255852.003.0010
The Prepatriarchal Hypothesis

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The prepatriarchal hypothesis is both a popular sacred history, the sacred history of the feminist spirituality movement, and a scholarly hypothesis, which argues that “the creation of patriarchy” is an historical event occurring in the relatively recent past due to certain causes and conditions. Many scholars and popularizers also speculate about what religion and society were like in the prepatriarchal world, frequently portraying it as a “feminist utopia.” Located at the interstices of several disciplines, including prehistory, archeology, anthropology, mythology, history, and the comparative study of religions, as well as being of considerable importance to feminist discourse, the prepatriarchal hypothesis has generated a great deal of controversy not only with nonfeminists, but also within the ranks of feminist thought and scholarship.

Keywords: prepatriarchal hypothesis; feminist spirituality movement; scholarly hypothesis; feminist utopia; nonfeminists

Chapter.  5892 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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