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In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth

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Traces the development of conceptions of nature, gender and sexuality from the goddesses of ancient Mesopotamian civilizations to the one God of biblical monotheism.


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Traces the development of conceptions of nature, gender and sexuality from the goddesses of ancient Mesopotamian civilizations to the one God of biblical monotheism.

30 review for In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture, and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    Provides an excellent overview of goddess worship from Sumerian times to the Hellenistic period, with particular emphasis upon understanding mythological narratives, polytheism in Ancient Israel, the status of women in the ancient Near East, and debunking certain myths about temple prostitution and Israelite idol worship. Her analysis is very helpful in understanding biblical culture. She suggests that the more misogynistic attitudes which developed in Judaism had more to do with later Hellenist Provides an excellent overview of goddess worship from Sumerian times to the Hellenistic period, with particular emphasis upon understanding mythological narratives, polytheism in Ancient Israel, the status of women in the ancient Near East, and debunking certain myths about temple prostitution and Israelite idol worship. Her analysis is very helpful in understanding biblical culture. She suggests that the more misogynistic attitudes which developed in Judaism had more to do with later Hellenistic influences than what is found in the Torah and earlier chronicles, though the status of women in Canaan and Mesopotamia was certainly subordinate and oppressive by today's standards. I came away with a more even-handed impression of how women were dealt with in biblical times, and admired the author's erudition. While this is an older work, I suspect that many of her observations are still timely and worth re-reading.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    As the man said, how much sand can you put in the sugar bowl before it isn't sugar anymore? There's a lot of sugar in this book, but I repeatedly found myself needing to rinse out my mouth. As the man said, how much sand can you put in the sugar bowl before it isn't sugar anymore? There's a lot of sugar in this book, but I repeatedly found myself needing to rinse out my mouth.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

    I'm not sure I entirely buy this author's premise, that the Greco-Roman image of woman as temptress and evil-doer corrupted the Israelites' original more positive ideas about women. I'm not sure I entirely buy this author's premise, that the Greco-Roman image of woman as temptress and evil-doer corrupted the Israelites' original more positive ideas about women.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Aurore

    In the Wake of the Goddesses porte sur la transformation et le remplacement de la mythologie païenne mésopotamienne par le monothéisme de la Bible hébraïque. Après avoir présenté dans la première partie la place des déesses au sein du panthéon mésopotamien, Tikva Frymer-Kensky expose comment le monothéisme biblique reprend et transforme le polythéisme de l'époque. Après plusieurs siècle de monothéisme, il est aujourd'hui difficile voir impossible de se rendre compte à quel point le monothéisme e In the Wake of the Goddesses porte sur la transformation et le remplacement de la mythologie païenne mésopotamienne par le monothéisme de la Bible hébraïque. Après avoir présenté dans la première partie la place des déesses au sein du panthéon mésopotamien, Tikva Frymer-Kensky expose comment le monothéisme biblique reprend et transforme le polythéisme de l'époque. Après plusieurs siècle de monothéisme, il est aujourd'hui difficile voir impossible de se rendre compte à quel point le monothéisme est éloigné du polythéisme. Pas seulement par le nombre de divinité, mais avant tout par les conséquences que cela opère sur les rapport de la société avec le cosmos, la terre, la fertilité, la présence du mal et des catastrophes, ainsi que sur les rapports entre êtres humains et notre responsabilité individuelle et collective. Les chapitres qui abordent ces sujets sont remarquables. Tikva Frymer-Kensky présente le fossé énorme entre deux conceptions du monde radicalement différentes et en conséquence, a quel point l'acceptation du monothéisme par les israélites a été difficile et coûteuse. Ce qui explique pourquoi les prophètes et réformateurs ont eu tant de mal à éradiquer le culte des autres divinités en Israël au cours des siècles. Concernant l'éradication des déesses païennes et le rapport à la culture, Tikva Frymer-Kensky note : A comparison with the Sumerian portrayal of culture reveals that when we look at the elements of culture that were arranged in Sumer along mal-female, god-goddes lines, an interesting pattern emerges. Politics, hierachy and law, long the province of the male gods in Mesopotamia, are still treated in the Bible as God's gift to humanity. The Bible considers the Davidic dynasty, the legal system, the temple and its priesthood – all male preserves- to be divinely granted. These state of institution are considered God's preserve on earth, and they take on aspects of dinivity. On the other hand, those elements of culture that were once goddess-linked, such as storage, administration, lamentation, song and wisdom-writing are entirely within the domain of humankind. They are neither divinely granted ot divinely supervised. Dans les chapitres 11 à 16, Tikva Frymer-Kensky analyse la façon dont le texte biblique présente les femmes ainsi que les rapports entre femmes et hommes. En l'absence des déesses, les femmes étaient-elles mieux traitées avec un seul dieu masculin ? Elle connait le texte parfaitement et ne se voile pas la face sur le contenu patriarcal du texte. Certains auteurs et chercheurs caricaturent le texte biblique le présentant comme un sorte de pamphlet misogyne, et à l'inverse d'autres auteurs font mine de ne pas voir les aspects problématiques du texte. Tikva Frymer-Kensky ne tombe dans aucun de ces extrêmes là, néanmoins j'ai ressentis une légère complaisance de sa part avec le texte. Son attachement au texte et à son contenu est évident et j'aurai apprécié une critique plus franche du texte. C'est là le point faible du livre, qui n'est pas seulement une recherche sur l'éradication des déesses mésopotamiennes par le monothéisme biblique mais aussi une défense du texte biblique face aux critiques, surtout celles venant du néopaganisme qui se languit du culte des déesses. Une défense passionnante mais un peu partiale.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Colvin

    Erudite and entertainingly written, but unfortunately vitiated by the author’s feminist conspiracy-theory view of Israel’s history: she blames Israel’s patriarchy on Hellenism, and claims, with tendentious and selective misreadings of the Hebrew Bible’s laws and narratives, that the Tanakh is a millennia-old promissory note of sexual egalitarianism that can only now be fulfilled thanks to technological modernity.

  6. 5 out of 5

    jt

    Some impressive revisionist-feminist scholarship, giving its own picture of ancient Near Eastern religious practices/beliefs and how they relate to "gender." Some impressive revisionist-feminist scholarship, giving its own picture of ancient Near Eastern religious practices/beliefs and how they relate to "gender."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Byers

    Am currently reading this book, bought during Thanksgiving trip to Chicago, found at the Seminary Bookstore. Surprisingly easy to understand, for a laywoman. Reading again about the Sumerians it has sparked me to do additional research at the same time as I am reading this. The book is now into the Old Testament discussion on the aspects of women in the Pentateuch. One of the biggest realizations I have so far is the agelessness of the subservient role of women, how it has been that way across c Am currently reading this book, bought during Thanksgiving trip to Chicago, found at the Seminary Bookstore. Surprisingly easy to understand, for a laywoman. Reading again about the Sumerians it has sparked me to do additional research at the same time as I am reading this. The book is now into the Old Testament discussion on the aspects of women in the Pentateuch. One of the biggest realizations I have so far is the agelessness of the subservient role of women, how it has been that way across cultures and time. This made me see how revolutionary the women's movement is/was- especially when one looks at the very beginnings of the rise of women fighting for equal rights. Talk about overturning the social and cultural structure of human relationships! Finished. Once she gets away from Sumerian analysis her level of detail diminishes. She goes through the monotheism of early Judaism and then the changes under Hellenist and Roman influences. but these are not fully explored. Most likely left to many other writers, but this is the only book on the subject I have read. I would appreciate more of a specific look at the effects on women in our culture due to the changes in monotheism she talks about.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    This is one of my all-time favorite books about the goddesses of the Ancient Near East. Frymer-Kensky, a Jew and a scholar of Ancient Near Eastern history and literature, is able to avoid both the wishful thinking of many goddess-worshippers and the patriarchal biases of earlier male scholars, to create a compelling look at the actual role of the goddesses of ancient Sumer and the transformations recorded by the Hebrew Bible. Her scholarship is easily accessible to lay readers, and she has a gre This is one of my all-time favorite books about the goddesses of the Ancient Near East. Frymer-Kensky, a Jew and a scholar of Ancient Near Eastern history and literature, is able to avoid both the wishful thinking of many goddess-worshippers and the patriarchal biases of earlier male scholars, to create a compelling look at the actual role of the goddesses of ancient Sumer and the transformations recorded by the Hebrew Bible. Her scholarship is easily accessible to lay readers, and she has a great deal of respect for her ancient sources, even though they lie outside her own faith tradition.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    The first part of the book contains very good and provable history about the Goddesses of Sumer. The second part contains the transition from Goddesses to monotheism. The history is the YHWH of Israel and how he made the old gods into mortal and then killed them off. Then the author follows the progression through the Israel/Judaic, Greek and Roman cultural that degrades the value of women. The ending points back to following the Christian "one" God. I was impressed with the information, but not The first part of the book contains very good and provable history about the Goddesses of Sumer. The second part contains the transition from Goddesses to monotheism. The history is the YHWH of Israel and how he made the old gods into mortal and then killed them off. Then the author follows the progression through the Israel/Judaic, Greek and Roman cultural that degrades the value of women. The ending points back to following the Christian "one" God. I was impressed with the information, but not the conclusion. There is no metaphysical or spiritual direction in this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  11. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Comar

  14. 5 out of 5

    E_R E_R

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chelli

  16. 4 out of 5

    New user

  17. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

  19. 4 out of 5

    Molly

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emily Tsvilik

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael Fessler

  22. 4 out of 5

    some mushroom dude

  23. 5 out of 5

    CTB

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nofixedstars

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Loomis-Torvi

  26. 4 out of 5

    Charmilina

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jen

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alex Long

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

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