The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Won't Give Women a Future
"Fascinating. . . . Eller carefully clips every thread from which this matriarchal myth is woven." -Natalie Angier, The New York Times Book Review According to the myth of matriarchal prehistory, men and women lived together peacefully before recorded history. Society was centered around women, with their mysterious life-giving powers, and they were honored as incarnations and priestesses of the Great Goddess. Then a transformation occurred, and men thereafter dominated society. Given the universality of patriarchy in recorded history, this vision is understandably appealing for many women. But does it have any basis in fact? And as a myth, does it work for the good of women? Cynthia Eller traces the emergence of the feminist matriarchal myth, explicates its functions, and examines the evidence for and against a matriarchal prehistory. Finally, she explains why this vision of peaceful, woman-centered prehistory is something feminists should be wary of. "Passionately argued, engagingly written, this vital book is certain to inspire wide-and much-needed-debate." -Publishers Weekly (starred review) "[An] engaging critique of a popular but perhaps self-defeating belief." -Mark Odegard, Utne Reader "In unraveling the pretensions of matriarchalists, Eller seeks to show that wider matters are at stake. . . . Matriarchal myth, [she] argues, is actively harmful at worst and at best unnecessary." -Lawrence Osborne, Salon.com Cynthia Eller is the author of Living in the Lap of the Goddess: The Feminist Spirituality Movement in America, a Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 1994, and of Conscientious Objectors and the Second World War. She is assistant professor of women and religion at Montclair State University.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - phoenixseventh - LibraryThing
A clear and rigorous criticism of unfounded belief in a prehistoric "golden age" when women wielded power and authority, Eller approaches the issue thoroughly. She begins with the modern (19th century ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - gwernin - LibraryThing
In the early 1970s I read a lot of feminist books. Working for a while in macho Puerto Rico in my first job out of college, and subsequently doing graduate work in a traditionally masculine field ... Read full review
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