The Cult of Divine Birth in Ancient Greece

Front Cover
Palgrave Macmillan, Mar 15, 2009 - History - 278 pages
0 Reviews
Greek religion is filled with strange sexual artifacts - stories of mortal women's couplings with gods; rituals like the basilinna's "marriage" to Dionysus; beliefs in the impregnating power of snakes and deities; the unusual birth stories of Pythagoras, Plato, and Alexander; and more. In this provocative study, Marguerite Rigoglioso suggests such details are remnants of an early Greek cult of divine birth, not unlike that of Egypt. Scouring myth, legend, and history from a female-oriented perspective, she argues that many in the highest echelons of Greek civilization believed non-ordinary conception was the only means possible of bringing forth individuals who could serve as leaders, and that special cadres of virgin priestesses were dedicated to this practice. Her book adds a unique perspective to our understanding of antiquity, and has significant implications for the study of Christianity and other religions in which divine birth claims are central. The book's stunning insights provide fascinating reading for those interested in female-inclusive approaches to ancient religion.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

About the author (2009)

Marguerite Rigoglioso, Ph.D., is a member of the faculties of Dominican University of California, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, where she teaches courses on women and religion. Her pioneering research on female deities and women's religious leadership in the ancient Mediterranean world and beyond has appeared in various anthologies and journals, including Feminist Theology, The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, Societies of Peace, She Is Everywhere, Trivia, and the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, where her paper on the cult of Demeter and Persephone in Sicily received an honorable mention for the New Scholar Award. She is also the editor of Where to Publish Articles on Women's Studies, Feminist Religious Studies, and Feminist/Womanist Topics.

Bibliographic information