Balancing the Scales: An Examination of the Manipulation and Transformation of Symbolic Concepts of Women

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Marie A. Conn, Therese McGuire
University Press of America, 2003 - Social Science - 134 pages
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Balancing the Scales, a book of essays by faculty members of Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, is an exploration of the manipulation and transformation of symbolic concepts of women. A multidisciplinary collection, representing Art History, English, Spanish Language and Literature, Psychology, and Theology, this book hopes to raise awareness of the historical perception of women before and after the so-called patriarchal revolution. In the eighth century BCE, the Greek poet Hesiod changed the character of Pandora, a manifestation of the Great Earth Mother, into Pandora, the bringer of evil. This fundamental change in the nature of the female archetype influenced the biblical writers and their depiction of Eve. In the medieval period, artistic renderings of the Whore of Babylon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun resulted in cultic images of women as either whore (Eve) or pure virgin (Mary). The apparitions and miraculous images of the Black Madonna at Montserrat and Guadalupe show the persistence of the divine feminine in popular culture even as institutional religion denies her existence. The story of Cleopatra breaks open the question of why strong women are seen as frightening. The essays conclude with psychological study of the imbalance induced by millennia of patriarchal domination, resulting in the loss of the sacred feminine.
 

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Contents

Pandora and Eve The Manipulation and Transformation of Female Archetypes
1
Symbolic Images of Women The Whore of Babylon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun
25
Am I Not Your Mother? Identity and Resistance at Tepeyac and Montserrat
51
Paler by Comparison Shadows of Cleopatra in NineteenthCentury Representations of the New Woman Vampire
71
The Return of the Goddess
103
Index
131
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About the author (2003)

Marie A. Conn is Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Therese McGuire is Professor of Art, Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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