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Goddesses and the Divine FeminineA Western Religious History$
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Rosemary Ruether

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520231467

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520231467.001.0001

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Contested Gender Status and Imagining Ancient Matriarchy

Contested Gender Status and Imagining Ancient Matriarchy

Chapter:
(p.249) Nine Contested Gender Status and Imagining Ancient Matriarchy
Source:
Goddesses and the Divine Feminine
Author(s):

Rosemary Radford Ruether

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520231467.003.0010

This chapter focuses on nineteenth-century western Europe and America, where contested gender identities take a more strident form with the emergence of feminism. Waves of male historians and archaeologists who studied the ancient Mediterranean world sought to reread the roots of European society as a story of the rise of patriarchy from an earlier matriarchy. This theme was taken up by socialism and early feminism and reinterpreted to affirm liberative hopes for an emerging socialist and/or feminist society. This chapter also looks at three nineteenth-century thinkers who employed both the idealization and the denigration of women's nature to enforce the reigning views of women's necessarily limited sphere: August Comte, Horace Bushnell, and Arthur Schopenhauer.

Keywords:   Europe, America, feminism, patriarchy, matriarchy, August Comte, Horace Bushnell, Arthur Schopenhauer, socialism

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