I sort of debated on where exactly to post this topic. While it isn’t something I’m doing for a class it is vaguely related to this whole topic of gender, women and feminism that I seem to be in the midst of. Technically I probably could have posted something at The Perpetual Student, but as I am on a one week break from course the post is going here.
So, what am I reading now since the epic of the Iliad is complete?
My bookshelf has sort of erupted with a modest selection all focused on feminism. Part of the reason was that I found some really good deals on used books while researching for my paper on gender and mothering. Knowing that I have two more classes focused on feminist thought coming up in the new year I figured they might come in handy. One that caught my eye and not particularly focused on feminism, however it did spark my interest in religious belief systems, is an old book (1976) by Merlin Stone (female) entitled “When God was a Woman.”
Apparently author Stone was big into art and art history and is pretty well-known for this book and her interest in the Goddess.
I have such an issue with patriarchy in general in our society and patriarchy as it defines most religious practice specifically that I wanted to read this book, even though it old. It was re-issued in 2009, however I have the original version.
As you can probably imagine, the book highlights civilizations foundational to our history and expresses the archaeological and scholarly evidence that suggests that from early Paleolithic clans up to the early Israelite communities, Goddess worship and the Supreme came in the form of She. Even in her introduction there’s a good bit of refuting of Biblical ideals but the core of her writing is not about Bible bashing. It is highly researched and written observations that indicate what is known but not always told, and that is that long, long before God came to be representative of a patriarchal civilization, matrilineal kin lines and the ability of women to birth children and grow food to feed their people took precedence and exerted power over men.
Stone places great emphasis on using academic research findings to back up her own opinions and weaves a chronological and highly detailed account of the evolution from the female Supreme to what we know today as the story of God and the creation of the Universe by this male deity.
I’m only a few chapters in at this point. Ironically I just read a segment detailing evidence of the Goddess in Mycenaean civilization, a connection to Hera (think Greece, our Iliad story, and Zeus), and an interesting aside to the very fact that Hera had big issues with and rebellion against her husband Zeus. If this is correct then it explains quite a bit of what I was missing regarding the conflict between Hera and Zeus in our reading of Homer.
**Trophos–any insight and comments would be great!
I’m excited to see what else Stone reveals, and what else research uncovers about many suspicions I have had regarding religious belief associated with patriarchy.