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When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone

When God Was a Woman (original 1976; edition 2001)

by Merlin Stone

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1,26786,234 (3.62)14
Title:When God Was a Woman
Authors:Merlin Stone
Info:Harcourt Trade Publishers (2001), Edition: Harvest, Paperback
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:non-fiction, religion

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When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone (1976)



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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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 |
An overly feminist book to say the least, at the beginning and cropping up from time to time, but besides that I did enjoy it to a degree. There are many things which I definitely don't agree with her on and I can say I marked the book up pretty good while reading it. She tries to present goddess worshipping peoples as the pinnacle of achievement and present the Indo-European "invaders" as warmongers and the bringers of patriarchal society. She doesn't show you that these goddess worshippers were just as bloody and savage as the rest of the peoples yet any perusal of history books out there will verify it. She cries quite a bit about woman loosing their status and how the "evil patriarchs" crushed them down. Her thoughts on the origins of the tree from the Garden of Eden where interesting and I think possibly worthy of looking into as well as some of her thoughts on Indo-European religion and how it influenced Judaism and Christianity are very interesting and are worth thinking over, particularly the Levites and their possible origin. I will definitely re-read this book at a later date after going through some history books of the time to see how well it holds up. ( )
  Loptsson | Aug 19, 2010 |
It's obvious that a lot of research went into this book. Unfortunately, most of the time it feels like Stone is simply recounting stories rather than using them to pull together her own thesis. At times, I struggled to find the point she was making between the numerous examples and linguistic nuances that she provides. Basically, I got a lot of information out of this book but I didn't know what to do with that information.

As someone with only a passing interest in religion and women's studies, I wouldn't recommend this book. ( )
  N1na | Jun 16, 2010 |
  luckyemmie | Oct 17, 2009 |
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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
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.
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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Book description
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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 015696158X, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:02 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

From the Publisher: 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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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