Goddesses and the Divine Feminine A Western Religious History

ISBN-10: 0520250052

ISBN-13: 9780520250055

Edition: 2006

Authors: Rosemary Radford Ruether

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Description:

This landmark work presents the most illuminating portrait we have to date of goddesses and sacred female imagery in Western culture--from prehistory to contemporary goddess movements. Beautifully written, lucidly conceived, and far-ranging in its implications, this work will help readers gain a better appreciation of the complexity of the social forces-- mostly androcentric--that have shaped the symbolism of the sacred feminine. At the same time, it charts a new direction for finding a truly egalitarian vision of God and human relations through a feminist-ecological spirituality. Rosemary Radford Ruether begins her exploration of the divine feminine with an analysis of prehistoric archaeology that challenges the popular idea that, until their overthrow by male-dominated monotheism, many ancient societies were matriarchal in structure, governed by a feminine divinity and existing in harmony with nature. For Ruether, the historical evidence suggests the reality about these societies is much more complex. She goes on to consider key myths and rituals from Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, and Anatolian cultures; to examine the relationships among gender, deity, and nature in the Hebrew religion; and to discuss the development of Mariology and female mysticism in medieval Catholicism, and the continuation of Wisdom mysticism in Protestanism. She also gives a provocative analysis of the meeting of Aztec and Christian female symbols in Mexico and of today's neo-pagan movements in the United States.
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Book details

List price: $28.95
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 11/20/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 390
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.254

American feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. Ruether graduated from Scripps College in 1958 and received her doctorate in classics and patristics from Claremont Graduate School in 1956. In 1976 she became Georgia Harkness Professor of Theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, a position she continues to hold. An activist in the civil rights and peace movements of the 1960s, Ruether turned her energies to the emerging women's movement. During the 1970s and successive decades, feminist concerns impelled her to rethink historical theology, analyzing the patriarchal biases in both Christianity and Judaism that elevated male gender at the expense of women. Her rigorous scholarship has challenged many of the assumptions of traditionally male-dominated Christian theology. Recognized as one of the most prolific and readable Catholic writers, Ruether's work represents a significant contribution to contemporary theology, and her views have influenced a generation of scholars and theologians. Her imprint on feminist theology has been reinforced by her lectureships at a number of universities in the United States and abroad.

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Gender and the Problem of Prehistory
Goddesses and World Renewal in the Ancient Mediterranean
The Hebrew God and Gender
Savior Goddesses in the Mystery Religions and Gnosticism
The Spiritual Feminine in New Testament and Patristic Christianity
Feminine Symbols in Medieval Religious Literature
Tonantzin-Guadalupe: The Meeting of Aztec and Christian Female Symbols in Mexico
Mary and Wisdom in Protestant Mystical Millennialism
Contested Gender Status and Imagining Ancient Matriarchy
The Return of the Goddess
Conclusion
Notes
Index
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