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When God Was a Woman

by Merlin Stone

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1,489118,724 (3.65)14
Here, archaeologically documented,is the story of the religion of the Goddess. Under her, women’s roles were far more prominent than in patriarchal Judeo-Christian cultures. Stone describes this ancient system and, with its disintegration, the decline in women’s status. Index; maps and illustrations.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
An important look into world religions and what that meant for women

This book was really in-depth and informative regarding the earliest religions, which have all but been forgotten in light of conquest. The amount of research needed to really give us a deeper look into what it means to be a woman in a religion which does not respect your autonomy was so well done that I didn't realize at first just how old this book is. It continues to hold up. I will definitely be reading several of the books and articles referenced in the bibliography. ( )
  Booksunknown23 | May 18, 2020 |
I wasn't terribly impressed, but there is some interesting historical information. ( )
  librisissimo | Dec 3, 2018 |
One of many books I read in my late twenties and early thirties as part of an exploration of feminist theologies and histories. ( )
  Kim_Sasso | Mar 14, 2018 |
Merlin Stone wrote about an interesting topic: how the goddess-centered religions of early peoples in the area from Egypt and Greece to India gave way to the male god-centered religions that came to predominate in these areas and what the change did to the status of women. This is a book first published in 1976 and has a definite feminist flavor. Also, if written today there would be later archaeological evidence for her to cite. Nevertheless, the author did hold my attention although occasionally I felt that she was pushing a bit too hard to make her points. The material on the origin of Biblical stories was very interesting, especially the Creation and events in the Garden of Eden.
  hailelib | Dec 20, 2012 |
I really enjoy Stone's approach to Goddess worship. The one problem I have with the book is that it provides a lot of information in a short amount of space, and I have a hard time keeping it all straight, especially as I am unfamiliar with many of the places she is describing. Her book, however, is wonderful, and it provides a different look at what people worshiped before the Judeo-Christian God took over. ( )
  kristennicole | Sep 28, 2011 |
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Epigraph
Man enjoys the great advantage of having a god endorse the code he writes;  and since man exercises a sovereign authority over women it is especially fortunate that this authority has been vested in him by the Supreme Being.  for the Jews, Mohammedans and Christians among others, man is master by divine right;  the fear of God will therefore repress any impulse towards revolt in the downtrodden female.
-Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, 1949
Dedication
To Jenny and Cynthia with love
First words
Though we live amid high-rise steel buildings, formica countertops and electronic television screens, there is something in all of us, women and men alike, that makes us feel deeply connected with the past.
Quotations
At the very dawn of religion, God was a woman. Do you remember?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Published as "When God Was a Woman" is the U.S. and "The Paradise Papers: Suppression of Women's Rites" in the U.K.
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Here, archaeologically documented,is the story of the religion of the Goddess. Under her, women’s roles were far more prominent than in patriarchal Judeo-Christian cultures. Stone describes this ancient system and, with its disintegration, the decline in women’s status. Index; maps and illustrations.

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Here, archaeologically documented, is the story of the religion of the Goddess. Known by many names--Astarte, Isis, Ishtar, among others--she reigned supreme in the Near and Middle East. Beyond being worshiped for fertility, she was revered as the wise creator and the one source of universal order. Under her, women's roles differed markedly from those in patriarchal Judeo-Christian cultures. Women bought and sold property, traded in the marketplace, and the inheritance of title and property was passed from mother to daughter.

How did the change come about? By documenting the wholesale rewriting of myth and religious dogmas, Merlin Stone details a most ancient conspiracy: the patriarchal re-imaging of the Goddess as a wanton, deprave figure. This is the portrait the laid the foundation for one of culture's greatest shams--the legend of Adam and fallen Eve.
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