The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image

Front Cover
Penguin, 1999 - Social Science - 475 pages
230 Reviews
This groundbreaking book proposes that the rise of alphabetic literacy reconfigured the human brain and brought about profound changes in history, religion, and gender relations. Making remarkable connections across brain function, myth, and anthropology, Dr. Shlain shows why pre-literate cultures were principally informed by holistic, right-brain modes that venerated the Goddess, images, and feminine values. Writing drove cultures toward linear left-brain thinking and this shift upset the balance between men and women, initiating the decline of the feminine and ushering in patriarchal rule. Examining the cultures of the Israelites, Greeks, Christians, and Muslims, Shlain reinterprets ancient myths and parables in light of his theory. Provocative and inspiring, this book is a paradigm-shattering work that will transform your view of history and the mind.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
97
4 stars
77
3 stars
33
2 stars
12
1 star
11

Yet--what a creative premise! - Goodreads
What beautiful scholarship! - Goodreads
His research is vast and quite stunning. - Goodreads
Slain's writing style is almost addicting. - Goodreads
But I think the premise is fascinating. - Goodreads

Review: The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image

User Review  - Kate Cary - Goodreads

I loved this book. It's thoughtfully written and thought-provoking. You won't agree with everything Mr Shlain posits, but it's a fascinating historical view written both intelligently and accessibly. Read full review

Review: The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image

User Review  - Laura Marinkovich - Goodreads

Really an overall wonderful book if you want to look at history from a feminist lens. The argument that introduction of literacy and left brain values demeans right brained image based values is an ... Read full review

Contents

IMAGEWORD l
3
HUNTERSGATHERERS
8
RIGHT BRAINLEFT BRAIN
17
DEATHFEMALES LIFE
28
NONVERBALVERBAL
40
CUNEIFORMMARDUK
45
HIEROGLYPHSISIS
53
ALEPHBET
64
BIRTHDEATH
168
YINYANG
179
B C A D
203
DEATHREBIRTH
222
PATRIARCHSHERETICS
237
REASONMADNESS
252
MUSLIN VEILSMUSLIM WORDS
278
MYSTICSCHOLASTIC 10001300
292

HEBREWSISRAELITES
72
ABRAHAMMOSES
87
U THERAMATZAH
103
ADAMEVE
112
CADMUSALPHA
120
SAPPHOGANYMEDE
132
DIONYSUSAPOLLO
136
ATHENSSPARTA
149
LINGAMYONI
159
HUMANISTEGOIST 13001500
309
PROTESTANTCATHOLIC
323
FAITHHATE
341
SORCERYSCIENCE
362
POSITIVENEGATIVE 16481899
378
PAGESCREEN 19452000
407
Epilogue
430
Bibliography
445
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1999)

Leonard Shlain is the author ofArt & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time & Light, and TheAlphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image. He is the chief of laparoscopic surgery at California Medical Center in San Francisco.

Bibliographic information