Maja Gimbutas The Goddess Movement Analysis

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The Goddess Movement When in 1974 respected archaeologist Marija Gimbutas published The Goddess and Gods of Old Europe (Berkeley: University of California Press), little did she know the effect it would have on feminism, religion and society. Her book was about the spiritual practices of people living in southeastern Europe 6000 to 8000 years ago. Her book presented a theory of matriarchal and matrilineal societies that in many ways were ideal. Men and women lived in harmony, women ran the temples where a “Great Mother Goddess” was worshipped, and in doing so held prominent positions, while men were more responsible for the physical chores such as hunting and building. Their values were nonviolence and reverence for nature. She then argued…show more content…
In the mind of a historian of art like Michael Dames, the process reached the point at which a hole in a stone signified her presence. Mr. Dames was doing no more than summing up a century of orthodox scholarship when he proclaimed that 'Great Goddess and Neolithic go together as naturally as mother and child' [The Silbury Treasure, London, 1976, p. 51].” (Ronald Hutton: The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles (1991) p. 37-42). In their article, Archaeology and The Goddess: Exploring the Contours of Feminist Archaeology, Margaret Conkey and Ruth Tringham also mention that the matriarchal Goddess worshipping society had previously been addressed by Johann Bachofen in his book Das Mutterrecht (1861); E. O. James’ The Cult of the Mother Goddess (1959); Rupert Grave’s The White Goddess (1966); and Mary Daly’s The Church and the Second Sex (1968). E.B. Renaud in 1929 had proclaimed that “the first God was a Goddess” (Nelson, 2004:122). Gimbutas’ use of archaeological material culture, such as the large quantity of “Venus” figurines and “feminine” symbols led her to the certainty of the existence of a benign society who worshiped a “Great Mother Goddess,” This captured both the attention of and criticism from the feminist movement.

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