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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. 4 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. 4 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."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    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.

  4. 5 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 4 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  9. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Comar

  12. 5 out of 5

    E_R E_R

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chelli

  14. 4 out of 5

    New user

  15. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

  17. 5 out of 5

    Molly

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emily Tsvilik

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael Fessler

  20. 5 out of 5

    some mushroom dude

  21. 4 out of 5

    CTB

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nofixedstars

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Loomis-Torvi

  24. 4 out of 5

    Charmilina

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jen

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alex Long

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Stewart

  30. 5 out of 5

    Harold

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