When God Was a Woman
|When God Was a Woman|
|Original title||The Paradise Papers: The Suppression of Women's Rites|
|Publisher||Barnes and Noble|
|LC Classification||BL458 .S76 1978|
When God Was a Woman is the U.S. title of a 1976 book by sculptor and art historian Merlin Stone. It was published earlier in the UK as The Paradise Papers: The Suppression of Women's Rites. It has been translated into French as Quand Dieu était femme (SCE-Services Complets d'Edition, Québec, Canada) in 1978 and into German as Als Gott eine Frau war in 1989.
Drawing upon the work of Margaret Murray and Robert Graves, Stone postulates a prehistoric matriarchal religion, painting ancient societies, including Ancient Egypt as matriarchal paradises, destroyed by the patriarchal Indo-Europeans. She concludes that the Hebrew Levites, because of their clearly patriarchal outlook "must have been Indo-Europeans", alleging misogyny and hatred of goddess worship within Israelite society, which she connects to the later development of Christianity. According to her the Bible was an attempt to change that symbolism and celebrate the victory of male oriented rites and gods.
The book reflects the rise of feminist theology in the 1970s to 1980s, along with authors such as Elizabeth Gould Davis, Riane Eisler and Marija Gimbutas. However, Murray's work, on which Stone based her own book, has been widely criticized by many historians who argue that Murray selectively cited data and deliberately distorted evidence.
- Feminist theology
- Marija Gimbutas
- Matriarchal religion
- Matriarchal Studies
- Minoan civilization
- Mother Goddess
- Potnia Theron
- Second-wave feminism
- The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory
- Venus figurines
- Ginzburg, Carlo (1990) Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath. London: Hutchinson Radius. pp. 8-9
- Simpson, Jacqueline (1994). "Margaret Murray: Who Believed Her and Why?". Folklore 105 pp. 89–96.
- Philip G. Davis, Goddess Unmasked, Spence Publishing, New York, 1998. ISBN 0-9653208-9-8; review: R. Sheaffer, Skeptical Inquirer (1999)