Talk:Triple Goddess (Neopaganism)/Archive 8

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Archive 7 Archive 8 Archive 9

Karl Kerenyi on Triple Lunar Goddess

Kerenyi writes in "Athene: Virgin and Mother in Greek Religion", 1978, Spring Publications, translated from German by Murray Stein:

"With Hera the correspondences of the mythological and and cosmic transformation extended to all three phases in which the Greeks saw the moon: she corresponded to the waxing moon as maiden, to the full moon as fulfilled wife, to the waning moon as abandoned witdrawing women" (page 58) I haven't yet got a copy of his "Zeus and Hera" where there is more detail on Hera. Kerenyi last I heard was a respected scholar, and more modern than Harrison et al, and probably should be quoted in this article. I'm posting material here rather than just inserting quotes because I think the whole artilce will probably need to be rejigged.

Kerenyi also writes more generally "Wherever three mythological sisters appear, the cosmic background of the three lunar phases enters the picture, just as these played a part in Hera's three form sof manifestation". (page 40) He discusses Athene in similar terms but as the whole book is about her it is harder to find a short quote! Jeremy (talk) 01:01, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Very interesting! As it stands, this information belongs in the Hera and Athene articles. To put it in this article we'd first need to establish the relationship of Kerenyi to Neopaganism. If he is cited by neopagans or historians as a source for their beliefs, or if we can find citations that he has been influenced by Neopagan writers, then he definitely should get his own section here. --Davémon (talk) 12:44, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I think Jeremytrewindixon thinks it would be even more interesting if Kerenyi lacked links to neopaganism... AnonMoos (talk) 18:22, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
The article as it stands does actually refer to Kerenyi but gives the impression he was a Jungian psychologist rather than a major classical scholar. He was a friend and associate of Jung but one would not call Jung a classical scholar on that account; nor Kerenyi a psychologist. AnonMoos is quite right about my view on the siginficance of Kerenyi's views....I take his view as evidence that the Triple Goddess is there to be found in Greek mythology and is not some over-imaginative reading by Graves, or Harrison or anyone else. I think that has to be relevant to this article? Not denying, Davemon that it has relevance to the Hera and Athene articles.Jeremy (talk) 09:57, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

I've made some changes but ran out of time; have left article in I hope acceptable state for time being but will return for more deatilaed references etc. Jeremy (talk) 10:34, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

I'm happy to accept the idea that in the 20th Century Kerenyi wrote about a triple moon goddess concept in ancient Greek culture. What I'm having problems with is how this relates to the article topic. Is the article trying to suggest that the Neopagan Triple Goddess is a remnant of ancient Greek belief? If so, can someone explain (with citations to reliable sources) how this idea was transmitted down the ages from ancient Greek to the birth of Neopaganism in the early 20th century? Otherwise, while it is relevant to interpretations of the greek goddesses it's not demonstrably relevant to neopaganism. Also, taking long quotes out of context makes the article read like an essay and introduces selection-bias issues, it's better to just summarise, so I've cleaned that up. --Davémon (talk) 23:12, 18 March 2011 (UTC)
I think the idea is that that some version or basic core of the triple goddess could be considered to have some semi-mainstream scholarly legitimacy... AnonMoos (talk) 07:16, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Davemon, I'm gathering that you have "cleaned up" the extended quote I gave from Graves explaining his relationship to scholarship....someone has immediately banged in a citiation needed tag for my summary of his position!.....Now, OK, the quote probably belongs to the main article on Robert Graves, and too much repetition is to be avoided, but I think it belongs at least in a footnote here. (Where I will put it). As to the relevance of the historicity or otherwise of belief in the Triple Moon Goddess, it occurs to me that this is not something one can have both ways. If the claim that the Triple Moon Goddess is a modern invention is relevant then so is the claim that she wasn't. It is just plain wrong that for this to be relevant it needs to be proven if or how the "the idea was transmitted down the ages". The article as I found it said in effect that the Triple Moon Goddess was an invention of Robert Graves based on inventions of Jane Harrison. This seemed to be based simply on the opinions of Hutton, who though an important scholar in his own area is capable, out of that area, of howlers like denying the existence of Virgin Mother goddesses in antiquity. As I understand the matter, there is no single [ancient] citation describing the Triple Moon Goddess in 3 life stages. However various scholars have inferred her existence as an underlying form from the available evidence, and I stress "from the evidence", if you read Harrison for example at all you will see she worked closely from evidence whatever impression you get from Hutton. Some modern scholars believe this inference was prematurely drawn, some don't. If the first fact is relevant so is the second. And you can't avoid the issue; this is because of the neopagan Triple Goddess worshippers who believe they are worshipping a real goddess known in antiquity. Davemon we all have a POV. Of course. You have made yours quite obvious with the first sentence of your post above; because obviously it does not matter one bit if you are or are not "happy to accept the idea that in the 20th Century Kerenyi wrote about a triple moon goddess concept in ancient Greek culture". He did and there is an end of it. And in fact none doubts the existence of triple moon goddesses....it is the whole package that is under question. Jeremy (talk) 06:37, 20 March 2011 (UTC)
You missed the point. The problem is that the article doesn't establish how Kerenyi's 1952 work relates to the article topic. The article topic is Triple Goddess (Neopaganism), not Triple Goddess (Greek Myth), who says Kerenyi is an influence on neopaganism? Just assuming everyone who appears to repeat Graves ideas is to be included isn't encyclopaedic. Further to this the article needs to show how Kerenyi's views on Greek Myth and the Triple Goddess in particular are considered by the mainstream now, rather than simply repeat his views (this is the whole thorny primary / secondary / tertiary sources issue). --Davémon (talk) 11:01, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, but that's not the point -- the point is that Kerenyi might possibly provide partial limited support for certain resemblances between neopagan and ancient beliefs (I don't know whether such support is meaningful or not, but that has clearly been Jeremytrewindixon's intention from the very beginning). AnonMoos (talk) 21:43, 24 March 2011 (UTC)
Well I've restored the reference. The thing is Davemon is that if one is to record that some scholars dispute the actual worship of an ancient triple goddess you have to aslo record that other scholars disgree. This just can't be had both ways. And you can't avoid the issue of scholarship because goddess worshippers refer to it as legitimating. Kerenyi has the advantage of actually being a classical scholar, indeed an august one, unlike Hutton. There is no way apart from rampant POV you can justify exscluding reference to Kerenyi's view from the article. Jeremy (talk) 01:03, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't agree that Kerenyi should be included here. He's a classical scholar, to be sure, though I don't think his work has had much influence on recent classical scholarship—for instance, he is not cited in any of the pieces in the recent Companion to Greek Religion edited by Daniel Ogden (Wiley 2010). So calling him "august" repeatedly seems a bit off—I'd only call someone august if it were impossible to write on a particular subject without mentioning his/her ideas.
As AnonMoos put it, Kerenyi is being used to support a resemblance between neopagan and ancient belief. Unless Kerenyi himself made that connection, or some other source made that connection using Kerenyi's work, including this here is an instance of original research—that is, an argument made by a Wikipedia editor, but not in the cited sources. Unless such a source can be produced, the reference should be removed. --Akhilleus (talk) 02:04, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
I think I only called him "august" once, Akhilleus. The article as I found it cited Hutton to the effect that Graves invented the Triple Goddess (as it still does) and said that the relationship of scholaship to the Triple goddess was "contentious". So I did not raise the issue of the scholarly basis of the triple goddess, other editors did. They thought it was relevant. I agree. It odesn't cease to be relevant just because a cource from the other side of the debate is cited. If no sources supporting the actual worship of the triple goddess are to be allowed then no sources opposing it can be allowed either, that would appear to be clear. Which would pretty much mean that the article had to be wiped. Davemon and Akhilleus, you seem to want one side of ana rgument without the other. That doesn't fly. Jeremy (talk) 05:35, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
And....the wikipedia article on him seems to think he was a major figure, even a foundational figure, in the study of Greek myth. And just scratching the surface, keying his name into JSTOR to see what comes up I notice that in 1995 in a book review in the Classical Review he is decribed as a major figure. Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Classical Association Article StableURL:http://www.jstor.org/stable/710438 Review of MOtte's Bibliographical Survey of Greek Religion. The context is that reviewer Dillon of Trinity College Dublin praises Motte for the thoroughness with which major figures like Kerenyi et al are covered......So if I think the views of Hutton are relevant, Hutton not being what anyone would call a major figure or even a figure in the study of Greek myth then I think it is stretching credibility to say that the views of Kerenyi are not. He doesn't beoome more or less important according to whether you like what he has to say....Jeremy (talk) 05:59, 30 March 2011 (UTC) In a 2004 article in Hesperia Published by: American School of Classical Studies at Athens Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4134897, Susan Sheriit's "Feasting in Homeric Epic" Kerenyi is cited 10 times......look I don't think I have to proceed with this. Kerenyi continues to be a significant figure in the scholarship of greek myth and no-one would have suggested otherwise if he hadn't come up with an inconvenient opinion. Jeremy (talk) 06:10, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
You seem to misunderstand Wikipedia's no original research policy, particularly the prohibition against original synthesis. Again, does Kerenyi make a connection between ancient Greece and modern ideas of a triple goddess? Does any published source use Kerenyi to make this connection? If not—if it's only Wikipedia editors who use Kerenyi's work to make a connection between ancient Greece and modern ideas of the triple goddess—then this is original research, and shouldn't be in this article. (However, Kerenyi would still be quite appropriate at an article about triple goddesses in antiquity, if his argument has been reported accurately here.)
Whether Kerenyi is 'august', 'foundational' or 'major' is less important than whether using him as a source in this article meets Wikipedia's policies. However, you are still overestimating his importance to the study of Greek myth and religion—and it seems that your estimate of Kerenyi's eminence in the field is part of why you think he belongs in this article. (You're right that you only called him 'august' once, so I'm sorry for saying otherwise.) Finding a few articles on JSTOR doesn't establish someone as a central figure in an academic field; evaluating this requires more than a passing familiarity with the relevant scholarship. But numbers can perhaps provide a rough indication of how popular someone's work is over a given time period. So, if you search JSTOR for "kerenyi" within classics journals for the period 1970-2011, you get 265 results. If you search for "fritz graf", an important and still living scholar of ancient religion, you get 349 results. If you search for "vernant" (Meaning Jean-Pierre Vernant) with the same parameters, you get 1450 results. If you search for "burkert" (i.e., Walter Burkert), you get 2378 results. Now admittedly, this is perhaps not fair since Graf and Burkert are still alive and very productive, and Vernant published a great deal between 1970 and his death in 2007, whereas Kerenyi died in 1973. But if one searches for some eminent scholars of Greek religion from past generations in JSTOR's classical journals over the time period 1970-2011, there are still more results than there are for Kerenyi:
Obviously Google searches are imperfect instruments and included false positives, etc. You'll notice too that some of the results for Kerenyi call his ideas unconvincing and outlandish (this is almost certainly true for the other figures listed above as well), so the quantity of the results has a limited meaning. Still, it suggests that published scholarship draws upon Burkert, Vernant, Graf, Harrison, and Otto more often than upon Kerenyi.
Another way to gauge Kerenyi's importance is to look in historical surveys of classical scholarship. In Classical Scholarship: a Biographical Encyclopedia ed. W. Briggs and W. Calder III (Garland 1990), Kerenyi receives no biography, whereas contemporary figures do, and such scholars of classical religion and myth as F. M. Cornford, J. G. Frazer, Jane Ellen Harrison, Karl Otfried Müller, Martin Nilsson, and Erwin Rohde. (Note, though, that Walter F. Otto is not included either.). Eric Csapo's Theories of Mythology, which surveys 19th-20th century approaches to the interpretation of classical myth, has a great deal to say about Frazer, Harrison, Burkert, and Vernant (as well as Freud, Levi-Strauss, and other scholars from outside the discipline of classics)—but nothing about Kerenyi. All of this makes it hard to see him as 'foundational'—but of course the most relevant consideration for this article is whether his work is specifically related to the Neopagan concept of the triple goddess. --Akhilleus (talk) 16:31, 30 March 2011 (UTC)
Akhilleus; it seems to me that it is you who are missing the point here. Please take the time to see what I am getting at so we don't waste more time talking past each other. The article has the section on the origins of the "neopagan" triple goddess. That section was here when I came and looked at it. It noted that relationship of the neopagan triple goddess to scholarship was "contentious". It then referenced Ronald Hutton, repeatedly, to the effect that the triple goddess was invented by Robert Graves on the basis of material supplied by Harrison et al. So the article, quite rightly as I see it, had already acknowledge that the existence or otherwise of the "triple goddess" in antiquity was relevant. Ron Hutton is not classical scholar but I imagine a classical scholar could have been found to serve as an example of that side of the controversy. Kerenyi was classical scholar and I gave his opinion as an example of the otherside. It was the one that came to hand. In calling for that opinion to be concealed it is you who are calling for the article to the article to promote a particular point of view by selective use of quotation. I'm just trying to improve the article. I gather it has suffered from POV wars in the past and it shows. If quotes from scholars who support the ancient worship of the triple goddess are to be censored then the only way to avoid violation of WP:SYNTH would be to cut the whole origin section. That would be ridiculous and severely damage the article's value as an encyclopedia. Many neopagans regard the historical worship of the triple goddess as a relevant matter, and Graves himself emphasised that. So the issue has to be addressed....as the article as I found it recognised alsready. But as it stood it violated the WP:SYNTH policy.
As to the status of Kerenyi, it is the current wikipedia article which gives the impression that Kerenyi is "foundational" as I noted. If you think it overrates his importance maybe you should edit that article. My sole interest in checking references on him on JSTOR was to establish that his reputation as a scholar of Greek mythology persists in relevant journals. It does. The fact that he has his detractors is only to be expected and not much to the point. But since you have raised the issue of the number of Kerenyi citations, I think you will have noticed that his reputation appears to be higher outside of the english-speaking world. (Motte's "Bibliographical Survey of Greek Religion" being an example, you will ahve noticed) He was Hungarian, his works are translated out of the German. That probably bears on his representation in english-language focuused sources of all kinds. But that is very little to the point. The question of his relation to neopaganism is a slightly tangled one because the wikipedia article as it stands, and stood before I edited, already mentions him. I suppose then that it is difficult to argue that he has no relation to neopaganism. This means little to me because his connection or otherwise to neopaganism was not part of my argument. It does seem however to undermine your point a bit.
The point is that Kerenyi is not a fringe figure, he is a scholar of Greek myth of continued reputation and so therefore his opinion that the triple goddess was actually worshipped in ancient Greece is usable as an example of the other side of the "contentious" issue of the relation of the origins of the triple goddess to scholarship. If that other side is not represented, and the origin section is not deleted, then the article would violate the WP:SYNTH policy. You calling for Kerenyi's view to be deleted is as mistaken as it would be to call for Hutton's view to be deleted. The alternative of deleting the whole origins section would severely limit the articles usefullness as an encyclopedia article. This argument has not been addressed by you or Davemon, at the moment I am thinking that this is because it is unanswerable Jeremy (talk) 00:20, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I still think you're misunderstanding WP:SYNTH. Maybe the simplest way to say it is that a Wikipedia article shouldn't make arguments that aren't already found in a reliable secondary source. You've made it explicit that you're trying to use him to counter Hutton's arguments—that is, you are trying to use Kerenyi to say that the neopagan triple goddess is based on Greek religious practice. But unless Kerenyi himself said that, or some other reliable source has said that, Kerenyi should not be used to make that claim. As far as I know Kerenyi makes no connection to neopaganism, and if the article gave you that impression when you began editing here, that's probably because a previous editor made a mistake.
On the other hand, it is not WP:SYNTH to report Hutton's argument (as long as it is reported accurately), because he explicitly addresses the issue of modern neopaganism's relation to ancient religion.
As for Kerenyi's reputation, I don't think I disagree with your last post all that much (except that British, Canadian, and US scholars of classics are expected, indeed, required, to have at least reading fluency in French and German, so they should be able to read his books in German--and in any case many have been translated into English). He is certainly a source worth using on many Wikipedia articles about ancient Greek religion; but that's not the topic of this article, really. --Akhilleus (talk) 02:56, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
Thing is Akhilleus, I'm not really making an argument. I'm giving an instance of one side of a disputed point. When people go to an encyclopedia that is the sort of thing they want. If we gave only one side of a disputed point then that would be making an argument by stealth and as I understand it that is the "mischief" (to use a concept from legal interpretation) towards which the synth rule is directed. I don't think you are understanding it properly. And I can't see why Hutton is regarded as a "reliable" source here btw. In a rush.Jeremy (talk) 04:24, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't mean to be rude, Jeremy, but you're really not understanding the problem here. The text in question makes an argument—as you've just put it, it uses Kerenyi as support for one side of a dispute. The article says that Kerenyi thought there were triple moon goddesses of the maiden-mother-crone type in ancient Greece, and this text has obviously been added in to contract Hutton's argument that the neopagan triple goddess is a modern creation. But this is a violation of WP:SYNTH because Kerenyi says nothing about modern neopaganism, and because no other source has used Kerenyi to make this argument. Look carefully at the example at the end of WP:SYNTH regarding a hypothetical dispute about plagiarism—in that example, a definition of plagiarism is cited from the Harvard Writing with Sources manual, but the policy calls this an instance of SYNTH because there's no reliable source that specifically comments upon the dispute and mentions the Harvard guide—"In other words, that precise analysis must have been published by a reliable source in relation to the topic before it can be published on Wikipedia." For our topic, there is no reliable source that comments specifically upon the Neopagan triple goddess and mentions Kerenyi. Unless someone has a source that hasn't been mentioned yet...
A further indication that you're not understanding WP:SYNTH is your comment that leaving Kerenyi out would somehow violate the policy. This isn't the case—the whole point of the WP:OR policy is that Wikipedia articles are based on what is already said in reliable sources. Hutton's book is a reliable source because it's published by a reputable scholarly press and because it's by an author who is a recognized expert on the topic. Reporting his argument is exactly what the content policies ask us to do; making it seem as if Kerenyi argued against him is synthesis, and is arguably "mischief" since Kerenyi was in no way responding to arguments about the origin of neopagan concepts. --Akhilleus (talk) 15:42, 31 March 2011 (UTC)
I personally am not at all concerned if you are rude or not Akhilleus. I'm concerned to rescue an article which is currently in a very bad way. The "plagiarism" example you mention is not to the point, it refers to analysis not to a question of fact. The synth rule is meant to work in "harmony" with the NPOV rule, so where they appear to clash that would seem to mean that one or another of the rules has been misunderstood. Now one thing to grasp here is that Hutton is not a classical scholar. So his book not probably be quoted to support points of classical scholarship however "reputable" his publisher is. The article says the relationship of the triple goddess as MMC/ moon to scholarship is disputed (originally "contentious"). It then states an opinion that she was invented by Robert Graves. I have added an opinion from someone who actually was a classical scholar and is of continuing repute as such to the contrary. Do you see? The point is that the quote refers to the original sentence that the relation of a triple moon-as-MMF goddess to scholarship is contentious. Someone, maybe you, has inserted an opinion on that from someone without qualifications in classical scholarship, I have inserted an opinion from someone who does have qualifications in classical scholarship. But I'm not arguing the Hutton reference should be deleted, at the moment; though I must say it would be better to find an actual classical scholar to represent that view. Giving only one view of a disputed fact very clearly POV, I imagine looking through the history pages would tell me that it is your POV. If you take the time to read the Jung section you will see, incidentally, that Kerenyi is at least an indirect influence on neopaganism.
Incidentally the article as it stands has even managed to get Hutton's view wrong, he defines Graves contribution as a positive reaction to the Crone person of the triad, all the rest Hutton shows to predate Graves' work. Hutton shows no sign of having read Kerenyi, and indeed little of having read Graves's White Goddess beyond the first couple of chapters. Ben Whitmore's crtique of "Triumph of the Moon" is online, I'll link it. Jeremy (talk) 02:03, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
You don't "rescue" an article by committing SYNTH violations; you don't balance an article by using sources to make arguments they don't make. Does Kerenyi ever say anything about the relationship of an ancient Greek triple goddess to the modern concept? No, he doesn't. Therefore, he shouldn't be used here. Accusations of POV violations are off-point and rude. --Akhilleus (talk) 02:21, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

Well no Akhilleus you are wrong and you have done the wrong thing by reverting the article without the issue being addressed. The pointing out POV is not off point at all. I haven't read your amendment yet but from the sound of I will have to revert it. It is NOT synth to give two sides of a factual point. It IS POV to give only one side. However there is away forward. the Origin introduction could be scrapped or completely rewritten. The article is a complete mess, surely you want to improve the article not start an edit war? What's the story? Jeremy (talk) 10:14, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

It's unfortunate, but you don't seem to be understanding the problem here. Kerenyi and Hutton aren't two sides of an argument—Hutton wasn't writing in response to Kerenyi, Kerenyi certainly wasn't writing in response to Hutton. Hutton is talking about the origins of a neopagan idea, Kerenyi is talking about ancient Greece. You are bringing Kerenyi into this to try to argue against Hutton. That's SYNTH.
Rewriting the section would be a great idea; as it stands right now it's confusing and uninformative. The way to improve it, I think, would be to state first that neopagans say their concept(s) of the triple goddess is/are based on ancient religions, including but not limited to ancient Greece. Then give Hutton's perspective that the triple goddess is a modern invention, and then if any reliable sources have responded directly to Hutton's argument, give those sources. --Akhilleus (talk) 13:10, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Akhilleus, I think I see how you see it and I have been thinking about it. If you are right and it is synth then wikpedia is riddled with synth to a shocking degree. But I don't think you are but I can see why the way the section is worded, due to the accident of the layered nature of wikipedia text, gives space to your argument. You are of course correct that neither Hutton nor Kerenyi were replying to the other. Kerenyi was not in fact saying that the modern neopagan goddess was based on the triple-moon goddess/es of ancient Greece, or was a modern epiphany of her; he was not referring either to modern neopaganism or the neopaganism of his own day at all; at least not in the source of my quote. If the article is worded so as to contruct an argument that Kerenyi was saying the neopagan triple goddess was based on the ancient triple goddess then it would be a synth violation. I don't think any moderately intelligent reader would be confused though, and I am amazed that some of the rampant POV that disfigured and continues to disfigure this article didn't bother you, but never mind. I think the section can be reworded to meet your objections. It is legitimate for the article to reference a reputable scholar to the effect that the triple moon goddess was worshipped in ancient times. Obviously it is not legitimate to ventriloquize onto Kerenyi a claim that the modern neopagan goddess is in fact the basis of the modern neopagan goddess. I think the section can be reworded, pending a more extensive redrafting, to make clear to anyone that that is not intended. The false implication that no reputable scholarship supports the existence of an ancient triple moon MMC goddess however cannot be left.
Another fairly important point, if one reads Hutton's remarks in total rather than looking for isolated texts one will see that he repeatedly concedes that the nature and existence of the ancient goddess remains open to doubt. Unfortunately I am separated from my Hutton at the moment. Ben Whitmore has taken Hutton's views to task in "Trials of the Moon" and exposed his ignorance of classical scholarship. You don't seem to have taken the point that while Hutton is a reliable source on the history of modern British neopaganism he is not a relaible source on matters of classical scholarship. Jeremy (talk) 09:15, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, SYNTH violations are rampant in Wikipedia. They usually occur because editors aren't content simply to report what reliable sources say about a topic, but instead want to construct their own arguments to contradict what reliable sources say.

Hmm, and I guess POV violations are rampant because editors aren't content to simply make articles as good as possible but would rather play wikilawyer and start edit wars and so on? Jeremy (talk) 01:48, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

I'm ignoring your assertions that Hutton isn't a reliable source because your assertions are wrong. Hutton's book was published, the Oxford University Press, and so easily meets Wikipedia's definition of a reliable source. That policy doesn't say that an academic monograph is reliable for one subject area but not another—it says "Material such as an article, book, monograph, or research paper that has been vetted by the scholarly community is regarded as reliable." In the absence of specific criticism of Hutton's knowledge of classical scholarship, we should assume that OUP—a highly regarded publisher—thought Hutton knew what he was doing. The book seems to have been well-received by the scholarly community, as well: see [1] and [2] (the last by a pagan who praises "the very high standards of evidence in Triumph, because there is so much of it, or his conclusions which are sober and careful and overwhelmingly supported by the evidence.")
Because Hutton's work is published by what is perhaps the most highly regarded university press in the world, I can't agree with your assertion that "Ben Whitmore has...exposed his ignorance of classical scholarship." Whitmore, as far as I can tell, has no relevant academic qualifications, and his pamphlet seems to be self-published—thus, his work fails WP:RS. (I'd appreciate correction on either point if I'm wrong, but note that both points have been made by reviewers—e.g., [3].) Since this is not a reliable source, it cannot be used to critique or refute Hutton (on Wikipedia, at least—of course you can make up your own mind which author you think has it right). --Akhilleus (talk) 02:17, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Yeah Akhilleus, of course his work is well-received and all that. That would be because it is a fine piece of ground-breaking research. Also perhaps because he is very pagan-friendly. But it casts a very wide net and some parts are better than others....there are chapters which are more of a tertiary source than a secondary source and he has areas of ignorance. (An example which springs to mind is that he was ignorant of the source for the Crowley/Gurdjieff confrontation which is well-known, but not to Hutton. I have been reading all of his sources that I can find on 19th century witchcraft, he quite often gives a misleading impression of those sources in his book) And precisely because his work is "ground-breaking" it is very polemical rather aspiring to be a "standard reference". Ben Whitmore's points may not be wiki-usable, (apart from his bibiolgraphy) but a good research and good logic is what makes good argument, truth even, not academic degrees or prestigious publishers. (Margaret Murray, for example, had excellent academic qualifications....) As you know. And I know about the difference between being right and being verifiable.....but I hope you actually read Whitmore's book instead of just the reviews. Ditto Hutton's book for that matter. Perhaps you can inform me what relevant qualificiations has to pronounce on matters of classical scholarship?Jeremy (talk) 01:48, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Reading over earlier remarks I see I didn't respond to a key conceptual mistake of yours about the purport of the Kerenyi quote. Its function is not to establish a view that the modern neopagan is derived from an ancient triple goddess but to establish a scholarly view that an ancient triple goddess existed at all. This is the distinction that is crucial. A fact is not an argument. Jeremy (talk) 09:24, 2 April 2011 (UTC)
No, this isn't a mistake on my part. In the context of this article, the reason to establish that "an ancient triple goddess existed at all" is to contradict Hutton's larger argument that the neopagan goddess is a modern construct. The argument is off-point, anyway—Hutton doesn't deny that some classicists thought that there were ancient Greek triple moon goddesses—obviously he writes about Graves! Hutton's point, though, is that this interpretation of the ancient evidence arises during a specific period of modern European history, under the influence of certain theories about the evolution of society from matriarchal to patriarchal. The idea that ancient Greek religion has a matriarchal substrate has been largely (though not entirely) discarded in modern scholarship. However, Kerenyi's treatment of Hera is (as far as I can tell) rooted in the idea that she is a survival of a pre-Greek matriarchal religion. So sure, Kerenyi thinks that Hera is (partly) a triple moon goddess, but this is because he is working in the same paradigm as Harrison, Graves, et al. This doesn't refute Hutton's contention that the triple goddess is a modern creation, it reinforces it! And of course because the "matriarchalist" perspective has been largely discarded, Kerenyi's interpretation of Hera as a moon goddess has has little influence on subsequent scholarship—as you can see if you examine more recent treatments of Hera. --Akhilleus (talk) 02:17, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

So far as I know, Akhilleus, Kerenyi was not in fact a supporter of the "matriarchalist" perpsective. Maybe he was, I'd appreciate any references you can give me. But the one does not follow from the other. Very likely Kereneyi's position does reinforce Hutton's argument (more his actual argument than the misleading impression of his argument given by the article). That is nothing to me, or to the article so far as I can see. The point is that as the article stands a selective reference to Hutton is used to give the impression that no reputable scholarship supports the idea of an ancient triple goddess with the characteristics defined in the article and that is a false impression. That is not off-point but on-point because the section of the article is about origins and specifically about the relation of the triple goddess to historical research. The fact that some reputable scholarship supports the view that a triple moon goddess of the MMC type existed in ancient times is a fact that people accessing wikipedia ought to have available to them. How that fact fits in with the larger picture is another question, it may well be thought to reinforce Hutton's argument, that is not my business but the reader's. I accept that I introduced the Kerenyi reference in a clumsy manner but not that it is in itself irrelevant. You are probably right that Kerenyi was following Harrison, but that only reinforces the importance of the quote, as it expresses the moon/mmc concept with more clarity than I think Harrison ever did. I will do a rewrite of the section an we will see how we go. I would apapreciate more people in the discussion.Jeremy (talk) 01:48, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Read through Kerenyi's Zeus/Hera book and I think you'll see the matriarchalist perspective—don't have the book right now so I can't give you a specific reference.
Once more, I reiterate: if the article tries to contradict Hutton's argument by using Kerenyi or any other source that is not specifically responding to Hutton, that's SYNTH. --Akhilleus (talk) 13:43, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Corrected typo "publisher" for "scholarship" above. Jeremy (talk) 02:06, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

I thought it would be convenient for ease of reference to put the disputed section on this page:

The relationship between the neopagan Triple Goddess and ancient religion is disputed. Ronald Hutton, a scholar of neopaganism, argues that the concept of the triple moon goddess as Maiden, Mother, and Crone, each facet corresponding to a phase of the moon, is a modern creation of the twentieth century poet Robert Graves, drawing on the work of 19th and 20th century scholars such as Margaret Murray, James Frazer, Jane Harrison and the other members of the "myth and ritual" school or Cambridge Ritualists, and also the occultist and writer Aleister Crowley.[1] On the other hand the twentieth century scholar of Greek myth Karl Kerenyi regarded it as an objective aspect of classical Greek belief that Hera and some other Greek goddesses were triple moon goddesses of the Maiden Mother Crone type.[2]

Just for a start, of course, Hutton doesn't actually argue that at all. Indeed he shows that the concept as described appears in Crowley's Moonschild. Jeremy (talk) 02:18, 1 April 2011 (UTC)

The "On the other hand" implies there are two sides to a debate. There are not. Hutton wrote some things. Kerenyi wrote some other things. Comparing and contrasting these things is synthesis. "On the other hand" might be fine for casual speach, but this is an encycopedia, and it implies a relationship between the two texts which is not actually established outside of this article. Further, I reiterate: Kerenyi was writing about ancient Greece, not Neopaganism. The subject of this article is Neopagaism, and inserting content which is not directly relevant to the subject of the article makes it misleading.Davémon (talk) 16:09, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Davemon, well yes I accept that point about the "on the other hand". My edit was clumsy. It was only intended as a patch until a more thorough rewriting, but that's water under the bridge now. What I dont accept, and this is also a reply to Akhilleus above, is that evidence or opinion about actual ancient triple goddess worship is not relevant unless it specifically refers to Hutton. It is important to many neopagans themselves that their worship has history (Vivianne Crowley makes that point explicitly in one of her books, hence "neo" pagans I guess) and the article as it stands recognises this by remarking that the relationship to scholarship is contentious or disputed, and having sections on Gimbutas and Harrison. The reference to Hutton gives the incorrect impression that the existence of the ancient triple goddess has been disproven and has no reputable support.....what it looks like is that Hutton is being ventriloquized to support a POV and an inaccurate one at that...you simply cannot do that and then object to contrary views. And furthermore Hutton's views are misleadingly summarized. This is not good practice....one option would be to simply cut the section. I'd still like to see more people involved in this discussion. Incidentally Davemon, I don't know what what you thought was "puff" in what you removed but the Graves section is actually looking tighter after your last edit. I think the section could use a little more elaboration on Graves conception of the goddess. I will soon have a go at rewriting the "origins" section, Akhilleus will probably not approve. Thanks Akhilleus for pointing me to the Zeus and Hera book, I haven't got hold of a copy. Jeremy (talk) 09:46, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

I had a glance at the archives and found this from AnonMoos: As has been discussed at great length here previously, it is quite dubious whether the specific concept of a new moon / full moon / old moon triad of Goddesses defined as maiden, mother, and crone is attested prior to the "writings of Robert Graves". If you can come up with a valid chronologically prior reference, we would be quite interested in knowing about it. Furthermore, since the Triple Goddess concept was not invented by Wiccans, is not practiced by Wiccans only, and is not really a core essential Wiccan belief (since it does not occur in Gardner's writings), having Wicca be the only specific individual or group being named in the lead paragraph is greatly disproportionate. AnonMoos (talk) 07:43, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

The Kerenyi quote is not exactly prior to Graves but it is clearly independent of Graves, and when I get hold of his Zeus and Hera book I expect I will have a quote that is literally prior to Graves. So I should have your support on this matter AnonMoos? The position of Akhilleus is quite untenable. The quote from Hutton says that Graves originated the concept and by quoting that without balance wikipedia is ventriloquizing his error....This is ridiculous. Hutton also says for example that Graves hated every other poet except Laura Riding and a few "obscure" poets like Skelton. This is nonsense, but according to Akhilleus' logic if someone used it in an article on Robert Graves I would not be able to mention Robert Graves' words of praise for Clare and Jonson and Blake and Hardy and cummings and Owen and Donne and Marvell and Dickinson, (off the top of my head here) because that would be "synth" arguing with Hutton......No Akhilleus, you are simply wrong. This article is a mess and I think you should either help clear it up or get out of the way.Jeremy (talk) 04:19, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

I think that the Kerenyi quote might possibly be relevant and useful for this article, but on the other hand, I agree with them that it's not immediately directly relevant for the origins of the specific Triple Goddess concept, unless it can be shown that the substance of Kerenyi's remarks go back in some form at least three decades further back than 1978... AnonMoos (talk) 11:19, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, the German text was 1952 and Kerenyi's reference was to his own "Zeus and Hera" which I have not yet got a copy of....I'm hoping to find one soon. This article is such a mess, I get more depressed every time I read it.Jeremy (talk) 10:03, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

I believe the root of this problem is that Hutton has been maddeningly vague with his language. Does he state that there were no triple goddesses in the ancient world? Or is he just saying there were no maiden-mother-crone-type triple goddesses in the ancient world? Or is he merely stating that Graves (via Harrison) invented a particular triple goddess, without claiming one way or the other whether triple goddesses received cult worship in the past?

One might jump to assuming the first or second case, based on the language in Hutton's book. And I would argue that he is pushing the first case, based on his dismissive tone and his statement at the end of the chapter that Graves' goddess had only been developing for 150 years; "No temple had been built to her, and no public worship accorded". But that implication is the clearest Hutton gets on what he's actually claiming, and it requires careful reading and logical inference to draw that conclusion.

There are two options for the article. 1. We consider that Hutton is claiming there were no triple goddess cults in the ancient world (or, equivalently, claiming that the concept of a triple goddess was first invented by Harrison, Graves et al.) then that is a claim relating to ancient religion, against which Kerenyi would provide a perfectly valid counterpoint. 2. We don't attribute such a view to Hutton, and merely state that Graves developed a concept of a triple goddess, without making any claims about ancient religion; in this case Kerenyi would not be a valid counterpoint to Hutton. But either way, a number of notable neopagan authors have claimed ancient historical origins for their triple goddess, and on that basis Kerenyi and various other authors may become relevant to the article. Fuzzypeg 00:35, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Thing is, Fuzzypeg, Akhilleus, has argued precisely that using Kerenyi's quote as a counterpoint to Hutton is WP:SYNTH and is thus not allowed. I think myself that Akhilleus is misapplying the principle but it is a fine point. Jeremy (talk) 01:46, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
I concur with Akhilleus on this issue. However I think the larger point being missed here. It is irrelevant whether there were triple goddess cults in the ancient world or not, rather it is only how (or indeed, if) these historical ideas can be shown to explicitly relate to the neopagan concepts that they have any relevance here. Davémon (talk) 15:52, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Heaven Earth and Hell

I think more attention has to be paid to this aspect of triple goddess. Incidentally on subject of triple goddesses continuing relevance in english poetry, easpecially as Diana, I note following: John Keats (1795-1821)

To Homer 1Standing aloof in giant ignorance, 2 Of thee I hear and of the Cyclades, 3As one who sits ashore and longs perchance 4 To visit dolphin-coral in deep seas. 5So thou wast blind;--but then the veil was rent, 6 For Jove uncurtain'd Heaven to let thee live, 7And Neptune made for thee a spumy tent, 8 And Pan made sing for thee his forest-hive; 9Aye on the shores of darkness there is light 10 And precipices show untrodden green, 11There is a budding morrow in midnight, 12 There is a triple sight in blindness keen; 13Such seeing hadst thou, as it once befel 14To Dian, Queen of Earth, and Heaven, and Hell.

I suppose it has relevance in this article? At leat it has relevance as evidence of the relevance of classical Diana....Hutton talks of english proto-pagans and Diana.Jeremy (talk) 02:55, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Davemon's recent "Origin" edits

I've reverted Davemon's edits because (1) there was in fact no original research, everything was sourced. In particular Ron Hutton's claim that the triple goddess derives ultimately from the Virgin Mary is important information; directly relevant to the section, (ie "origin"!) and from what has been up to now accepted here as a good academic source. There is no good reason for removing it that I can see. (2) The fact citations were not necessary as citatiions existed either in the section, in the main article, or in the links given. Suddenly requiring a citation for the "disputed" nature of the origin of the triple goddess is quite odd.

That isn't to say that the article can't be tidyed up. For example the references to Skelton should probably be consolidated. But as Graves is according to Hutton the inventor of the triple goddess (and according to everyone an important popularizer of her) then his classical sources are important. And it is important that the Skelton lines that Graves several times cites are themselves paraphrases of Ovid for reasons that have been already directly canvassed, ad nauseaum some might say, in talk....Jeremy (talk) 01:37, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Triple Goddess Ngame

She seems worth a section in and of herself. About the continuing palaeo-paganism cult in Graves own day I have found little on the net, and that pretty much just quotes of Graves. But I have seen his source book in a second-hand bookshop, and amy find it in an academic library. But what there is a significant amount of info on the net about is the post-Graves revival of Ngame worship which clearly belongs in this article....Jeremy (talk) 01:51, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

"Origins" original research by Jeremytrewindixon

This is entirely uncited, and consists purely of original research.

  1. The relationship between the neopagan Triple Goddess and ancient religion is disputed. [citation needed]
  2. Pausanias records the ancient worship of Hera Pais (Girl Hera), Hera Teleia (Adult Hera), and Hera Khera (Widow Hera, though Khera can also mean separated or divorced[citation needed]) at a single sanctuary reputedly built by Temenus, son of Pelasgus, in Stymphalos [1].
  3. The Roman goddess Diana Nemorensis was a triple goddess, ruling the sky the earth and the underworld, associated especially with the moon, and with obvious resemblance to the neopagan triple goddess.[citation needed]
  4. The twentieth century poet and mythographer Robert Graves cited a reference to her by the Tudor poet Skelton (following Ovid's Metamorphoses [2]) as an example of the triple goddess's continued relevance to poets[citation needed]
  5. James Frazer's seminal Golden Bough centres around the cult of Diana Nemorensis.[citation needed]

There are several problems with these interjections, the main one being the uncited conflation of both the Greek Hera and Greek Diana with the Neopagan Triple Goddess, and the subsequent addition of both Pausanias and 'Golden Bough" without any case for their specific relevance to the subject. Who says the Roman Diana has "obvious resemblance to the neopagan triple goddess"? I think I understand the underlying meaning here, but no reliable source worth its salt is going to phrase it like this. Who says the relationship between the neopgan TG and historical religion is disputed? Where are these disputes to be found? Who says Skelton explicitly sourced Ovid? We need citations to add this material to the article. Davémon (talk) 15:29, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Just got back....Davaemon, Robert Graves cites the Greek Hera and Diana as sources of his triple goddess and he is supposed to be the one who invented the triple goddess remember? Graves source in Skelton and Skelton's source in Ovid is attested in the citations given which you obviously haven't bothered to read. Graves himself cites pausanias and the Golden Bough. Hutton for example notes that the relationship between the TG and historical religion is disputed. This article is still a mess. You haven't helped. Jeremy (talk) 10:52, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Some of your comments Davemon seem to be frivolous....for the character of Diana see the wikipedia article linked to, likewise I should imagine the relationship between Golden Bough and Diana because that is in fact what the book is about as you will know from reading it etc......"obvious resemblance" is a phrase I ahve removed in deference to your challenge but your remark that no relaible source would use such an expression is actually balderdash, there is in fact such a thing as obvious resmblance and Hutton for example uses such expressions......but (sigh) we will no doubt get back to this......Jeremy (talk) 11:26, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Gimbutas Criticism

I've just pulled a sizable section consisting solely of criticism of Gimbutas's goddess theories wrangled up on a Google Books search. First of all, this was all presented as a criticism of Gimbutas's theories in general, which is not only highly misleading but also highly irresponsible. Criticism is welcomed, but it should be on a "reception" section on Gimbutas's page, not here. Just state how Gimbutas's theories apply here, be accurate about it, and move on. If there's some specifically Neopagan-oriented criticism, then include it. Otherwise keep it on her article page or a page dedicated specifically to her Old Europe theories. :bloodofox: (talk) 23:55, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

Providing the academic context within which Gimbutas theories are understood as relating to the Triple Goddess (especially those relevant to Feminist theory, which was hacked out) is completely within scope of this article. A similar treatment to Graves, where the general rejection of his theories pertaining to this subject by academics is stated and then linked to a reception subsection may be preferable, but just deleting cited content one doesn't agree with or needs some work to clarify isn't really supportable. Please also note that stylistically Wikipedia prefers the presentation of critical viewpoints to be integrated in main body of the article, and not have them separate subsection (see wp:Criticism)--Davémon (talk) 08:50, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Davemon, what you should be doing here is apologizing for misrepresenting the work of a scholar, and next time I strongly suggest that you do more research before slapping together the results of a Google Books search for the world to see on Wikipedia. As the paragraph simply reads "Gimbutas's work has been criticised as mistaken on the grounds of dating, archeological context and typologies", this sounds like a general attack on much of her work, rather than simply her goddess work. Gimbutas was a highly respected academic, unlike Graves. Major elements of her pre-goddess work, such as her Kurgan hypothesis and the concept of "Old Europe" are perfectly mainstream nowadays and major advances have been made on it. In other words, as my edits to the paragraph prior make clear, her work apart from her goddess theories has had a big impact on Indo-European studies. As a result, the paragraph needs to stay out until every reference in it is checked to refer specifically to her criticism about her goddess-related works and not about her other works. Keep it on topic. As for the WP:CRITICISM link, thanks, but I'm well aware; as I mentioned before, the general criticisms need to go on her page or on the pages of other relevant concepts or theories, and the goddess criticisms need to be here. :bloodofox: (talk) 14:37, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Obviously the context of the criticisms is relating her theories about Triple the Goddess. No mention is made of Gimbutas Kurgan hypothesis at all and nor would any sane reader assume it was relating to her earlier body of work. Feel free to check the references and amend if required. Claiming that the material must be deleted until you have the opportunity to check them all isn't really acceptable editing behavior [Wikipedia:Own#On_revert] and also please try to observe [wp:BRD]. Take your time, check each citation in turn, amend if required and the article may improve in a balanced manner. Davémon (talk) 20:10, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
"Obviously", seriously? I had to completely rehaul the first half to make it clear that your paragraph referred to Gimbutas's goddess work alone, an issue that would not have come up if you had done the required background research before slapping these paragraphs together. Further, you wrote that, so WP:OWN would be on your part. I've raised valid, important issues, and they need to be addressed. I will continue to pull them until they've been appropriately vetted, by myself when I have time or some other editor. It is completely inappropriate to misrepresent the work of a scholar in the way that you have so far done here. :bloodofox: (talk) 21:12, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
The title of the article is a big hint to the context. YMMV. WP:OWN addresses this kind of poor attitude: "I will continue to pull them until they've been appropriately vetted, by myself when I have time". Also how do you expect "some other editor" to validate the citations if the content isn't there? You fail to point out any specific misrepresentation, all the criticism is from valid, reliable sources. Gosh, even her obituary in the NYT says scholars were "skeptical" of her (goddess) theories - it shouldn't be shocking to anyone with even a passing interest in feminist archaeology to see her views critiqued. Davémon (talk) 22:13, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, but Wikipedia doesn't operate on "hints". You need to explicitly state what you're attempting to communicate so that readers can understand you. And here you've quite evidently decided to dismiss Gimbutas, an extremely important academic in her field, as some nutter, and thereafter made a horrendous write up about her after doing a Google search. That is, until you were called out on it by myself. Again, the issue appropriate for this article is her goddess theories, but you were absolutely not clear about that being the topic discussed in the paragraphs you wrote—indeed, it seems evident that you were quite content dismissing her academic body of work as a whole, which is why I had to rework those paragraphs. Further, restoring generally dismissive comments (such as "her work has been called pseudo-scholarship" "—without direct attribution or saying what work) will only result in further disputes; be specific as to who made what criticism, exactly what that criticism was, and thereafter let's quit wasting your time and mine with this sort of tomfoolery. Further, I will repeat, you wrote this problematic text, so I suggest you drop the WP:OWN ruse; it does nothing more than add to the egg already on your face here. A simple apology and a rewrite of the section would have been quite enough. :bloodofox: (talk) 22:18, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
It's clear your not reading the changes being made before reverting. In this edit [[4]] the statement "pseudo-scholarship" was attributed to William G. Dever, which you then proceeded to revert in this edit [[5]] with the statement: "Broad statements like "her work has been called pseudo-scholarship" required attribution. Who said it? A dog?". Well, no, not a dog, William G. Dever said it, and it was attributed to him. The sentence regarding the "poetic projection" was attributed, and the qualifiers "in this area" etc. were added. Davémon (talk) 23:17, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
You are still producing broad statements with vague attribution. Exactly what is Dever criticizing? The quote is now "such as William G. Dever" and you're still using "her work". "What work", the goddess material? And such as? This points to a plurality; who else other than Dever is doing this criticizing according to the source? The same goes for Cynthia Eller—does the work say there are others, or is it just Eller voicing her opinion? You need to clarify, and I hope you've vetted those sources. The goddess theory or her works in general? If it's her works in general, this is an extremely controversial quote. I suggest you produce a direct quote and we will then see if it's applicable to the article. :bloodofox: (talk) 00:55, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
I agree, the text could use some work to improve and clarify. If you want to add a quote, check the sources yourself, and add a quote. If you want to improve the copy, simply make those amendments. None of your concerns are grounds for deletion. Davémon (talk) 15:36, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
So, I've repeatedly shown problem after problem in the material you've put up here, and yet you're still saying things like "none of your concerns are grounds for deletion". I mean, what's a little inaccuracy here or there, or flat out misinformation about a well known, widely admired scholar at the end of the day, right? I mean, it's not about you or anything, so why be concerned? Both the behavior itself and your attitude towards it are inexcusable, and you won't be getting a free pass on it from me. As you have shown yourself unconcerned for accuracy and the reputation of others, expect that until those sources are fully vetted by someone other than yourself, they will be removed. :bloodofox: (talk) 18:37, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Clearly you're more interested in defending Gimbutas reputation and white-washing criticism of her and dealing with the verifiable facts. Your [wp:tend] behavior goes against policy and our community values. You have cited no policy to support the deletion of this material, and continue to make vague wp:jdli statements, and very weird assumptions about my motivations. You have absolutely no right to make statements such as expect that until those sources are fully vetted by someone other than yourself, they will be removed - this is just plain old wp:own tactics, and won't be tolerated. Davémon (talk) 19:00, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Further to this, wikipedia has a process called [WP:3O] - if you really want someone else to vet this, rather than just using this as a wp:own tactic, I suggest you list the dispute there. Davémon (talk) 19:14, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I strongly disagree with Gimbutas in this area. So there goes that. However, I am familiar enough with the subject matter (i.e. unlike yourself, I was evidently aware that Gimbutas has contributed immensely to Indo-European studies outside of her "goddess" material and remains highly respected academically) to well know some of the material you've attempted to float here has been due to little more than a combination of irresponsibility and ignorance on the subject on your part. Were this not the case, you would have been particularly careful in exactly what others were criticizing. This shows a lack of respect for Gimbutas and her critics. Secondly, I had little to no hand in the development of this article, and you wrote the material that is under fire. So much for that. I believe the WP:OWN issues fall squarely in your lap in this case; i.e. you refuse to have them vetted before re-addition. I've outlined numerous issues here, and the wise and mature thing to do would be to sit back and let the section get vetted and appropriately rewritten. Finally, outside editors are welcome to get involved—it's evident enough that you're entirely fine with misrepresentation and that needs to be nipped immediately. :bloodofox: (talk) 19:17, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Get pointed to WP:Battleground much? I don't know where the idea that cited content must be vetted comes from. Goes against all policy and the fundamental values of Wikipedia and common sense. I've filed a WP:3 request, as you have no actual interest in doing anything other than editwarring. It's clear we're never going to find consensus between us. Davémon (talk) 20:25, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
You're certainly no stranger to the revert button either, so I'm not sure what your point is. Stop misrepresenting your sources, show some responsibility in what you write, and get a basic understanding of what you're dealing with before you decide to edit an article on it, and I'm sure you'll find life on Wikipedia much easier. :bloodofox: (talk) 20:41, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Why not just simply ammend the text so the source is not "misrepresented"? If you took a less aggressive and sarcastic, and contributed more constructively rather than delete and argue, you'd find yourself in less scrapes. My grasp of the subject is very good, but that doesn't mean everything I contribute is perfect and can't be improved. But nor does it mean it should be censored. Davémon (talk) 21:27, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
The cited, relevant content that ::bloodofox:: is deleting and then demanding is changed before re-adding, can be seen in this diff [6] Davémon (talk) 20:24, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
See above for discussion of serial misrepresentation of sources. :bloodofox: (talk) 20:41, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I see no evidence that the sources were misrepresented in any way, just repetitive, vague accusations being tossed about. Having read one of the books cited and several of the articles, I can confirm that those were definitely *not* misrepresented. DreamGuy (talk) 14:56, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Third Opinion Request

Searchtool-80%.png Response to third opinion request:
I have taken a third opinion request for this page and have reviewed the issues thoroughly. The third opinion process is informal and I have no special powers or authority apart from being a fresh pair of uninvolved eyes. I have made no previous edits on this page that I am aware of and have no known association with the editors involved in this discussion. If you feel that my answer is not appropriate, or not thorough enough I may be contacted to add to it, or an additional third opinion may be sought by replacing the {{3O}} template. I hope this reply is of assistance and I am expressly open to feedback, barnstars, kittens, or trout slaps on my talk page! <

I'd actually like to take a bit of time, read through everything, look at the sources, and then get back to you. This probably will be sometime tomorrow morning. I hope that's ok with everyone; I usually try to respond immediately, but this issue seems a bit more convoluted than most 30 requests.>JoelWhy (talk) 21:14, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

JoelWhy (talk) 21:14, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Thanks, please do take as much time as you need. I appreciate the situation is a bit heated and the dispute somewhat complex. Be assured both bloodofox and I want the best result for the page! Davémon (talk) 21:27, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
I concur. Thank you for taking the time out, JoelWhy. :bloodofox: (talk) 02:35, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for being patient. I've done quite a bit of reading on this, and I must say that I don't entirely agree with your assessment of Gimbutas' work, Bloodfox. Clearly her work doesn't fall into the category of Fringe, but her work, especially her goddess work, does not appear to be embraced by most mainstream archeologists. Rather, she was (and, in many cases, still is) adored by the feminist community, including many feminist archeologists. I have no doubt that she has had a tremendous impact on in the pagan community (where feminism is fairly prominent,) and from what I can gather, many of her more controversial theories cannot really be proved or disproved. But, the general consensus is that the evidence does not really support her assertions.

I don't expect you to be happy with my assessment, and I realize that you clearly feel very passionately about her work. And, keep in mind that I'm not expert. But, I did try to do my due dillegence. (And, just out of my own curiosity, I am reaching out to a friend of mine who is an arechologist. I am going to ask for her input on Gimbuta, and see if she can point me to more sources. She works in the field, so I'm not sure how up to date she is on Gimbuta's work, but I'm sure she'll at least have a decent working knowledge of Gimbuta's theories.) As a 3O, my opinion isn't binding. But, keep in mind that I truly came in here with an open mind. I have no steak in this one way or the other. Could you at least consider the possibility that for whatever reason (maybe you had some college professors who were big fans of Gimbuta; or, maybe you really enjoyed her books?) perhaps you're not examining her work entirely objectively? Again, there are certainly scholars who stand by Gimbuta's goddess theories, so you're in good company if you decide to stick with your opinion of her work. But, I usually find that when most experts in a field appear unconvinced by a particular theory, there is usually good reason for that.

In any case, I can provide sources if you're interested in what I read. Also, when I hear back from my archeologist friend, I'll let you know here thoughts (not that this would be a valid citation for Wiki, but just to provide some added perspective from a professional in the field.)

JoelWhy, it seems that you need to do some introductory reading into Indo-European studies, particularly works by J. P. Mallory, particularly focusing on the Kurgan hypothesis. While her "goddess" material gets her the most attention due to its pop culture trajectory, Gimbutas's Kurgan hypothesis is the current most accepted of competing hypotheses. That's as "mainstream" as Indo-European studies gets at the moment. I've stated previously here that I personally strongly disagree with her goddess work, as well as various other approaches of hers, so I'm not sure where you're getting some of the impression that you expressed above. Further, the issue here is Davemon's presentation of the sources he's using, the write ups for which have been heavily modified due to their previous attachment to very general statements not specifically about Gimbutas's goddess work; i.e. we need to be clear that they say exactly what they're being claimed as saying. :bloodofox: (talk) 16:20, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, Blood, it appears I misunderstood your position on this. I was focusing my reading on her goddess work (based on the subject matter of the article.) I frankly spent most of my time researching the goddess info, found it to be routinely criticized, and thought that you were arguing that this is the mainstream view. I did read through the comments made here, but I did so before researching Gimbuta. I should have read it again after researching her as it is much clearer now what you two were debating. Let me check again. My apologies!JoelWhy (talk) 16:57, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
No problem, Joel. I understand that this is a labyrinthine subject to approach, and I appreciate that you're willing to take the time out for this. :bloodofox: (talk) 18:48, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, currently :bloodofox: is claiming the content 'misrepresents the sources' and is deleting it (as in this edit : [7]) rather than discussing the specific problems he perceives with the article text by comparison with the sources being cited, or amending the article in a constructive manner. Thanks again for your input on this JoelWhy - many kittens will surely come your way! Davémon (talk) 08:38, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Like I said, since the material attached to the references has been amended so heavily, and Davemón—the user who built the specific section requiring vetting—has displayed a notable lack of knowledge in this area, I insist that the material is vetted to say exactly what the article says it is saying. Essentially the section needs to be rewritten to reflect what the sources say in reference to specifically her goddess work. :bloodofox: (talk) 12:27, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

I'm still reading about this and will hopefully post more later today. As a side note, I spoke with my archeologist friend. Turns out she took a class taught by Gimbuta when she was a student at UCLA (quite a few years ago.) However, she didn't really have any insight into the discussion at hand (and, the work she does out in SoCal is pretty far removed from all this.)JoelWhy (talk)


Here is the conclusion I've now reached: The Kurgan hypothesis certainly was the most accepted hypothesis on the matter, and may still be. I did see some sources claiming it still is the prevailing theory. However, I found several sources that indicate it is losing favor within the professional community. From this 2004 article in Science, it states "...in recent years, an accumulation of new evidence has considerably weakened support for the Kurgan hypothesis." He goes on to quote a professor who notes that “Confidence in the Kurgan theory is waning...But, the alternatives are not yet very attractive.” I should note that this article is very even-handed (several of the articles I read through were authored by either vehement opponents or stalwart supporters of the Kurgan theory.) However, some articles (including this Science article) note that it is possible both the Kurgan hypothesis and the theory of expansion via farming could be right, to some degree or other.

In short, the Kurgan theory clearly is not fringe, and may well still be a majority viewpoint. But, the articles I've read through point to lots of cracks in the armor, which may mean the theory is completely wrong, or may simply mean that certain elements need to be modified.

I also found more discussions of her goddess theories, with one article noting "her 'mother Goddess hypothesis'...[was] rejected by most archaeologists, including femiinist araceologists."

All that being said, I'm torn over whether any of it belongs in this article. Even if the theory were completely fringe, it's still factually correct that her theories have been influential in certain pagan circles. Is it appropriate to then delve into the theory that influenced them? Granted, if the theory were specific to this group, it would make sense. But, here, we have a fairly prominent theory, so wouldn't the criticisms belong on that theory's page (especially since no assertion is being made here related to the veracity of said theory?) I am not necessarily arguing against its inclusion -- I can see both sides of this argument, but I do believe it is something that must be considered.

So, I'm not sure how much help I'm being. I do think both of you should take a few steps back before continuing the discussion. Far too much vitriol for a topic that I believe you two could ultimately find an agreeable compromise for. I will stick around and help as much as I can, though, and maybe we can find a good solution.JoelWhy (talk) 15:34, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Joel, while I am always pleased to see others delving into this subject matter as it's a subject that I spend a lot of time with and am greatly interested in, Gimbutas's Kurgan material isn't on trial here, and not particularly relevant. Indeed, these theories will be and have been modified over time, and origins of Proto-Indo-European culture remains a highly mysterious thing. The issue here is whether the sources for the material Davemon keeps restoring state what Davemon has them stating. This is a concern because the text attributed to them was changed greatly to reflect the fact that Gimbutas is not some general nutter but to acknowledge that she is in fact an important scholar in her field, regardless of how certain theories of hers have been received. Only the specifically "Old Europe triple goddess" material she has presented is appropriate for this article, and, in addition, it needs to be presented specifically in light of its connection to neopaganism. After all, this article is called "Triple Goddess (Neopaganism)". Without a link to neopaganism, the material regarding Gimbutas could just as easily be at triple deity—and it may well be more appropriate there.
A lot of the tone you're seeing here is largely due to previous experiences I've had with Davemon where similar issues have occurred and were needlessly drawn out; things aren't going to be rosy without some changes in his behavior, specifically the requirement for him to do more background research when called out on an evident lack of it (I recall a significant amount of time wasted over a claim by his of "Celtic elves", for example). Most of these issues wouldn't be occurring at all were he to simply get a better understanding of the material he's handling before arguing about it and to know when it is wise to admit one is wrong. Your approach is exactly the sort of approach that leads to conducive editing; a willingness to do background research and get an understanding of the material you're handling before delving into it. :bloodofox: (talk) 16:58, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Note :bloodofox: entire argument reads as "I believe Davémon is ignorant, therefore his edits must be deleted" and fails to make a coherent argument about the actual text under discussion. The fact is that the article content :bloodofox: is repeatedly deleting (in this edit [8]) directly addresses Gimbutas's goddess material in relation to this article subject, is properly sourced and attributed. Perhaps if :bloodofox: could point to some specific text [9] he thinks is misrepresenting the source, along with a quotation from the source, to show how he believes it is misrepresented, we could move forward. I hold that some indication of the basic rejection of her Goddess theory, along with cited relationship to neopaganism should remain in this article, however there is also Great_Goddess_hypothesis which could go into much greater detail. Davémon (talk) 20:26, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Davemon, I think it's terribly obvious that my "argument" is that the text has been altered to such an extent that it needs to be vetted before it is re-included. This is after I had to notify you that Gimbutas wasn't the crackpot fringe figure that you painted her as here. The section likely needs to be rewritten to refit the subject matter. :bloodofox: (talk) 02:09, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Your argument again fails to address the article text under discussion. To clarify: I'm asking you for specific instances of where you believe the text [10] is misrepresenting sources, with quotations from the source to show that there is misrepresentation. That way your concerns about the article text may be addressed. Davémon (talk) 07:53, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Davemon, I am not going round and round with you. I have repeatedly said the section needs to be vetted to say exactly what the text now says by an outside party. Yes, the entire section removed. I will not repeat myself to you again. :bloodofox: (talk) 15:21, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Taken the discussion to talk. Davémon (talk) 14:23, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

I'll look through the specific edits and sources to see if I can rework them.JoelWhy (talk) 13:18, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Excellent, your help is really appreciated. I look forward to seeing your contributions! Davémon (talk) 14:23, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Finally getting back to this, sorry for the delay. I've got to admit I'm still a bit confused about the dispute here. This may be because I am (possibly) misunderstanding something regarding Gimbutas' work. Is her work on the "triple goddess" separate and distinct from her general theories related to goddess worship? If not, here's a direct quote from the linked NY Times article "Perhaps her most controversial thesis was that the world was at peace during the Stone Age, when goddesses were worshiped and societies were centered on women." Does she have additional work specifically discussing the "triple goddess" which is a separate concept from her controversial claims on goddess worship in general? Granted, the NY Times article doesn't talk specifically about pagans, but if we're mentioning that pagans support her work, it seems only appropriate to also mention that academics don't agree with this body of her.JoelWhy (talk) 20:46, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

While Gimbutas 'great goddess' theories could be separated out from the proposed trinitarian nature of the goddess she expounds, this isn't done by commentators. So her "triple goddess" isn't a separate concept distinct from her Neolithic Great Mother Goddess theory, rather one aspect of it. As you can see, the text attributed to NYT is close to the source and doesn't specifically mention aspects of neopaganism. If you want to look at some specific mention of New Age / Eco-feminism adoption of her theories and the academic rejection of them see Gilchrist [[11]]. Davémon (talk) 08:30, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Joel, the write up right now is, to be quite frank, a confused mess written by Davemon, who above more or less admits that he didn't know what he was writing about when he put it together. Davemon essentially tried to paint Gimbutas as a fringe nut job, evidently without realizing her academic background. As a result, the section is highly suspect and either of the following steps need to be taken:
  1. A third party is needed to rewrite the section to make it clear what this section has to do with this article
  2. Since the section has been just about totally refactored to reflect the reality of Gimbutas's academic background and to point solely to Gimbutas's goddess work (by myself), a third party is needed to simply go back and verify that the references still attached actually say what they are currently cited as saying
Unfortunately, Davemon has a history of this sort of approach, where he has, for example, in the past aggressively argued for "Celtic elves" on another article based on a very similar lack of background knowledge on another subject. Rather than admit a mistake, I've noticed that he'll frequently shift his position whenever things aren't looking good for whatever position he's arguing for. As a result, any sort of dispute I've had with this user seems to devolve into smokescreen after smokescreen; the lawyering is endless, and often could just best be described as trolling. This article is no exception. He's had other issues with other users in the past here as well; for example, another user noted his addition of "tabloid gossip" to this article ([12]), an assessment I would have to agree with. :bloodofox: (talk) 19:32, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
As far as I'm aware Dr. John Chapman [[13]] has never written for any tabloids. You'd do well to check the sources before making assessments. I've no idea why you're so upset about J.R.R. Tolkiens elves being inspired by Celtic myth, that you have to keep repeating it, but it isn't relevant here. --Davémon (talk) 20:28, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
The issue wasn't your source, but your choice of text. Obviously. Regarding Tolkien, you're again shifting your position to save face; of course, I have no reason to be "upset" that Tolkien found inspiration in Celtic myth (after all, I do the same!). And, of course, you are likely well aware of that. And, of course, I needn't remind you that you were arguing for the existence of "Celtic elves", either. Nor that you then found some glosses and confused them for attestations. I know you may now be embarrassed—well, who wouldn't be?—but you may as well own up to it, as it's there for the world to see. It's a sordid matter altogether; the better man admits his mistakes and moves on. The talk page troll, on the other hand... :bloodofox: (talk) 02:08, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, the text says what the source says. If you don't like the criticism levied, then bring a case that it is a biased, minority view, or the source is unreliable. Simply calling it 'tabloid' and deleting it, is just WP:JUSTDONTLIKEIT. Your obsessive repeating of your misunderstanding regarding Tolkien is simply beating a dead horse. Davémon (talk) 10:10, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
You're expected to approach editing articles on subjects here with some foreknowledge, Davemon. That has nothing to do with "I don't like it" and everything to do with "you just didn't know it", unfortunately (i.e. your "Celtic elves" and numerous other fumbles elsewhere). As for the quote, typing up some personal speculation you find in an attempt to make a scholar look like a nut job is pretty low and was obviously inappropriate, as called out by said user and now myself as well. It hardly requires a source calling it out for what it is to be produced. I suggest that you think twice next time. :bloodofox: (talk) 17:11, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
You seem to be making arguments up that have zero relevance to the material being discussed. As I say, if you have a problem with Dr John Chapman [[14]], or using his article "A Biographical Sketch of Marija Gimbutas" as a source, then state what the problem is with it. Otherwise "an attempt to make a scholar look like a nut job is pretty low and was obviously inappropriate" == WP:JUSTDONTLIKEIT. --Davémon (talk) 09:19, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Well, I frankly think we a very simple statement may resolve the entire issue. The opening sentences in her section currently states: "Scholar Marija Gimbutas's theories relating to goddess-centered culture among pre-Indo-European "Old Europe" (6500-3500 BCE) [28] have been widely adopted by New Age and ecofeminist groups.[29] (She had been referred to as the "Grandmother of the Goddess Movement" in the 1990s.[30])"

What if we changed it to something along the lines of: "Scholar Marija Gimbutas's theories relating to goddess-centered culture among pre-Indo-European "Old Europe" (6500-3500 BCE) have been widely rejected by mainstream archaeologists. However, many New Age and ecofeminist groups have adopted her claims, and she has even been referred to as the "Grandmother of the Goddess Movement".

Obviously, we can play with the language -- but, it makes it clear that this is a fringe belief without belaboring the point or going out of the way to smear her reputation.JoelWhy (talk) 19:58, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

I have no problem with your proposed text. Davémon (talk) 20:28, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
Joel, did you look over the sources in the current text? There's a real risk of misattribution if we use the current sources in place with the current text, or any text without checking those sources out. Would you care to rewrite the section? I'd do it, but I'd undoubtedly end up wasting yet more time with Davemon here. :bloodofox: (talk) 02:08, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, but I have only been able to review 1 or 2 of those citations which are available online. I rarely get into a brick & mortar library any more (who knew they still exist?!) But, I'm sure we could find enough citations online to come up with a mutually agreeable entry.JoelWhy (talk) 13:42, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
Joel, of the citations you have reviewed - do you consider the text cited to them to be misattributed? Davémon (talk) 10:10, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
No, those were properly attributed.JoelWhy (talk) 12:24, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Joel, I spend quite a lot of time in libraries (I'm in one now), so they're around yet! As for the section, you're welcome to put a new one together as you see fit. :bloodofox: (talk) 17:16, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Bloodofox, the point is joelwhy notes that the text isn't misattibuted, and your claims of such are wrong. Perhaps an apology is in order.Davémon (talk) 09:03, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

The problem I see with davemon's material is that it overwhelms the introduction to this theory with criticisms of it. There is quite a bit of anthropology and archaeology from that period that is considered questionable now. I think the proper form is to thoroughly present the theory, then offer criticism, perhaps with a brief mention in the introduction that the theory is disputed. Obotlig (talk) 19:18, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I agree that we should just make a brief mention that her theories in this regard are not accepted by academics, but that certain pagan groups revere her work. I haven't forgotten about this page, just been busy with this silly "real life" thing;) JoelWhy (talk) 19:55, 1 May 2012 (UTC)
Welcome to the discussion, Obotlig. I've been impressed by your work on related material elsewhere. :bloodofox: (talk) 00:47, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
Yes, lots of 1970-1990s feminist theories are rejected by the mainstream today. If the majority of reliable sources discussing the theory are heavily critical of it, doesn't it make sense that the article reflects this majority position, rather than reporting the theory in the article voice as if it is accepted and side-lining the majority view? It makes sense to me that an encyclopedia when dealing with rejected concepts should state clearly why the theory is rejected and on what grounds. Davémon (talk) 09:03, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I think the issue here is that this article is not focused on the merits on the theory -- it's a theory that's been accepted by certain pagans, not because of its academic validity, but because it conforms to their worldview. We clearly state that this theory is not accepted by academia, but there's no need to go into detail here.JoelWhy (talk) 12:46, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
If anything not including critical detail puts undue weight on the proposal of the theory. Also, I think the situation is a bit more complex than you describe - Gimbutas's theory is seen to be part of her dialogue with neopaganism.
  • "It makes a wholly arbitrary and selective interpretation of the prehistoric symbols which it reproduces, and tacks on to this an interpretation of the historic Great Witch Hunt which is based not even upon dubious scholarship but upon assertions of modern pagans made without research." (my emphasis) Ronald Hutton, 1991 (The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles; Their Nature and Legacy) on Gimbutas The Language of the Goddess
  • "Gimbutas's research has been guided by her 'ecofeminist' views". Stefan Arvidsson - (Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology)
  • "Gimbutas became personally interested in Neopaganism, and much of her scholarly legacy is not accepted." Gregory D. Alles (Religious Studies: A Global View).
The article is perfectly placed to contain detail. Perhaps some advice from Wikipedia:Fringe_theories/Noticeboard would help clarify. Davémon (talk) 17:50, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
After the next week or so, my time will open up for a while again. As a result, I will be returning to this article and going through the section myself. In the mean time, I won't be responding to any of the threads above (this includes Davemon's repeated excuses for attempting to add "Her histories have been seen as a poetic projection of her personal life onto history hidden behind a facade of positivistic 'explanation', with her goddess-orientated society being based on her childhood and adolecence [sic]" to the article). :bloodofox: (talk) 18:20, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
This isn't an article about Gimbutas or her theory. Therefore, excessive detail is unwarranted. We mention the theory, make it clear that it's a fringe theory, and that should be the end of it. I can't think of an exact parallel, but suppose you had a religious group which believed that the space craft which supposedly crashed into Area 51 contained god-like creatures which created mankind. The group starts to worship the "aliens" and concocts a complex mythos based upon the conspiracy theories surrounding Area 51. If you were to write an article about this group, you would indicate that they believe in the Area 51 conspiracy theory, you would say that this theory is fringe and not supported by the evidence, and then you move on. You would save the full explanation for what actually happened at Area 51 for the Area 51 page (or, an Area 51 conspiracy theory page).
So, after that convoluted hypothetical, I submit that the discussion of Gimbutas theory belongs on the Gimbuta page and/or a page about her actual theory. It's just too tangential to discuss in detail here.JoelWhy (talk) 18:23, 2 May 2012 (UTC)
I guess I could have saved us all a lot of time by posting this instead: WP:COATRACK
Thanks for taking the time - just pointing to Coatrack wouldn't have given your reasoning. To borrow your hypothetical, this article is not about the group (ufo-cult/neopagans), it's about the mythos (aliens/triple-goddess). The criticisms are directly addressing the substance and emergence of that mythos. I find the idea that the majority views of reliable sources directly relating to the substance and formulation of Gimbutas goddess writings are tangential to the subject of the Triple Goddess a bit odd. Surely in order to keep the neutral point of view in this article, we need to represent the significant majority views (of reliable sources)? That doesn't mean just saying 'academics reject this' but explaining the substance of their rejection. Davémon (talk) 09:21, 3 May 2012 (UTC)
On the basic issue, I agree with Davemon about the structure of the article. This is not structured as an account of the belief system of a "cult" or whatever. Yes, if we are describing the myths of of people who believe that trolls live under the mountain, we don't waste everyone's time expaining that geologists and zoologists consider this to be improbable. In this case, however, the article is different. It's structured as an account of the evolution of a concept from Graves on. There should be more on Gimbutas and the context of her thinking. The problem is that Davemon's additions did not provide this. It was a list of critics shouting "boo; rubbish". That's not really helpful. It would be better to show how her ideas evolved and were linked to attitudes of the time, while also including critical commentary. In the current (purged of Davemon) Gimbutas is introduced as "scholar Marija Gimbutas..." and there is no criticism whatever, implicitly endorsing her views as undisputed legitimate scholarship. There needs to more valuable context and comment beyond warfare between 'debunking' and implicit 'promoting'. Paul B (talk) 13:03, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Actually, NPOV policies makes it very clear that WP:FRINGE theories must be labeled as fringe whenever they are discussed so as to not mislead readers. Criticism cannot be limited to articles about a specific author and then not mention on pages discussing their work. While the version with criticism could use some work, it is clearly far better version of the two, as it does not try to censor the mainstream viewpoint, which is well sourced to reliable sources. Accordingly, I have restored that version of the article, and would insist that anyone who wants to improve the article first familiarize themselves with the [WP:NPOV]] policy and especially the WP:FRINGE ArbCom decision so they do not inadvertently end up violating policy. DreamGuy (talk) 14:48, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

Semi-rehabilitation of Gimbutas?

Many negative things have been said about Gimbutas here (now in archives), but I was reading the book "The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World" by David W. Anthony recently, and realized that she's actually holding up fairly well in a number of ways. Of course, scholars will never be convinced by Gimbutas' claimed abilities to interpret the exact symbolic meaning of just about every inscribed line, or her tendency to view complicated situations through a filter of schematic absolute binary oppositions, and the consensus is that a true full matriarchal society is unlikely to have ever existed, while all historical theories are subject to continual revisions in the light of new information. But given all that, Gimbutas' basic model of Indo-European origins is holding up better than any of the alternatives. The Anatolian hypothesis is pushed by a number of non-linguists, but has never received significant support from linguists. (The same is true of certain more radical theories, which effectively deny the existence of any period of Indo-European geographic unity.) The consensus of linguists is strongly in favor of Gimbutas' general Kurgan hypothesis (with many proposed relatively minor variations and elaborations, of course), which is also supported by some archaeologists (such as Anthony). There was no absolute contrast between matriarchy and patriarchy, or single cataclysmic invasion event, but in certain periods at certain places, there was a fairly close juxtaposition between Balkan-tradition farmers with "female-centered rituals" and steppe-tradition animal-herders with patrilineal inheritance and patrilocal residence (who often had greater access to horses and/or more cultural expertise in making use of them)... AnonMoos (talk) 16:31, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

I'll second this. I've made comments to more or less to this end elsewhere on this page previously. :bloodofox: (talk) 03:45, 5 September 2012 (UTC)

One problem is that there is not one mainstream but several; what most American scholars think is for example not necessarily what most French or German scholars think for example. And the views of the last few scholars to publish are not necessarily indicative of the general opinion. Furthermore one's attitude to questions of history and pre-history tends to be very influenced by ones world view, its very and unavoidably political, see the John Brown page as another example. So the view of a particular mainstream can be very temporary and very ideological. In this discussion the line between not accepting that there is enough evidence to support a theory and rejecting it is constantly blurred. It is an important distinction. This page is till pretty much a mess. It takes the views of Ronald Hutton when he wrote Triumph of the Moon as gospel which confers the unwelcome gift of infallibility on a good scholar. I've been away from wikipedia for a while, I may get back to this. ¬¬¬¬

The largest problem is lack of adequate sourcing. If there exists reliable, academic, third-party sources that specifically support Gimbutas Goddess theories (not her Proto-Indo-European Urheimat hypotheses as discussed above, which is a different matter) then these should be integrated into the article. Claiming that Hutton (who is not mentioned in the Gimbutas section) holds a minority opinion and needs to be balanced against other scholars working in the field who hold opposing or alternative views, would likewise need clear and adequate sourcing. Davémon (talk) 15:06, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

No my comment on the weight accorded to Hutton was more general about the page. There actually are comparatively few scholars working in precisely his field. Claiming that he represented a consensus position which didn't need to be balanced against other sources would need clear and adequate sourcing, which you would be unlikely to find, least of all from Hutton himself. Hutton has for example been very supportive of the research of Emma Wilby which runs directly counter to some of the main views expressed in Triumph of the Moon. An encyclopedia isn't a battle ground for the validity of various theories, just a place to fairly express them and their place in the world. ¬¬¬¬


There's never going to be full support among academics for all details of her theories (certainly not her claims to know the exact details of symbolisms of preliterate cultures or her tendencies to view things in terms of abstract absolute schematic binary oppositions). Nevertheless, certain aspects of some of her theories have been holding up fairly well (better than many aspects of Luigi Cavalli-Sforza's theories), so attempts to present her as a von Däniken style complete crackpot (not to mention repeating rubbishy gossip about her family life) would appear to be misguided... AnonMoos (talk) 22:43, 13 March 2013 (UTC)
P.S. The close juxtaposition (in certain cases) of Balkan-tradition farmers with "female-centered rituals" and steppe-tradition animal-herders with patrilineal inheritance and patrilocal residence (who often had greater access to horses and/or more cultural expertise in making use of them) comes straight from the David W. Anthony book linked above, but I've returned it to the library, and so can't look up further details at the moment. AnonMoos (talk) 22:48, 13 March 2013 (UTC)
I would argue that Hutton is no authority on the topic of Gimbutas and his comments should not be used in any definitive manner here. Hutton does not work in any of the fields that Gimbutas did. Instead we should be dealing with her contemporaries and especially her reception within her field. :bloodofox: (talk) 02:18, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
Opinions are fine, but unless someone can come up with reliable sources that say "Gimbutas was right about the Goddess" or that directly counter the criticism of her Goddess theories as being entirely founded in her personal beliefs and not evidence based, then to suggest otherwise is misleading to the reception of her work in this area. I do not have David W. Anthony to hand either but is he equating the Balkan "female-centered rituals" with Gimbutas Goddess concept or the Neopagan Triple Goddess? That would be hugely pertinent to this article. I agree with Bloodofox. Hutton is not mentioned, nor used as a source in the Gimbutas article section for precisely those reasons. Hutton does however, correctly provide the context of her reception within neopagan circles. Davémon (talk) 14:04, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
Whatever, dude -- I didn't remotely make the claim that "Gimbutas was right about the Goddess" above, and you would have to radically twist my remarks to make them mean any such thing. And I've noticed in the past that your attitudes towards sources are sometimes considerably more relaxed towards things that you personally want to include (most notably worthless speculations and rubbishy gossip about scholars' personal lives) than in dealing with things that you personally want to exclude.
I don't remember that David W. Anthony mentions Gimbutas at all, except as part of the general background to the overall Kurgan theory; however, he endorses the archaeological reconstruction that at certain times and places there was a fairly close juxtaposition between Balkan-tradition farmers with "female-centered rituals" and steppe-tradition animal-herders with patrilineal inheritance and patrilocal residence (who often had greater access to horses and/or more cultural expertise in making use of them). Since Anthony appears to stand completely outside the matriarchal prehistory wars, this seemed to me to be a striking partial vindication of some aspects of Gimbutas' theories, so that it would be pointless to present Gimbutas on the article as being a von Däniken type complete crackpot. Of course, such partial vindication does not extend to Gimbutas' claimed ability to interpret the exact symbolic meaning of just about every incised line and scratch on ancient artefacts, or her tendency to view complicated situations through a filter of schematic absolute binary oppositions (as I've already explained multiple times above). AnonMoos (talk) 14:50, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
Anthony has this to say on p.10 of "The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World":
"The problem of Indo-European origins was politicized almost from the beginning. It became enmeshed in nationalist and chauvinist causes, nurtured the murderous fantasy of Aryan racial superiority, and was actually pursued in archaeological excavations funded by the Nazi SS. Today the Indo-European past continues to be manipulated by causes and cults. In the books of the Goddess movement (Marija Gimbutas’s Civilization of the Goddess, Riane Eisler’s The Chalice and the Blade) the ancient “Indo-Europeans” are cast in archaeological dramas not as blonde heroes but as patriarchal, warlike invaders who destroyed a utopian prehistoric world of feminine peace and beauty."
So Anthony lists Gimbutas alongside Nazis as people who distort Indo-European history for their own political ends. Whatever "partial vindication" of her Proto-Indo-European Urheimat hypotheses may be, her Gimbutas Goddess theories do nothing but attract disdain. Davémon (talk) 16:13, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
I see we have West's comment in the body—a contemporary of Anthony who comes to a very different conclusion on Gimbutas's pre-Indo-European goddess comments—and it would be good to look and see what J. P. Mallory has said about her work in this specific area. I believe that her goddess work has some currency in Classical studies, where there are some pretty clear instances of goddess "demotion" from the pre-Homeric to post-Homeric. This would probably be a fruitful field to look into for more comments :bloodofox: (talk) 17:56, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
That is a good suggestion. I have looked at Mallory: In Search of the Indo-Europeans and Oxford Introduction to Proto-Indo-European neither of those makes mention of cultures being matriarchal or especially Goddess worshiping, although they do mention Gimbutas's migration theory and horses and states that Gimbutas thought they were egalitarian. I thought Gimbutas's Kurgan migrations occured in the Neolithic period, and her matriachal societies were wiped out thousands of years before the pre-Homeric period, so why might classicists be concerned? --Davémon (talk) 16:54, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, there are a bunch of goddesses in the Greek world that appear to have been "demoted" from a more active, more important role, to a much lower status, sometimes resulting in a lack of goddess status altogether. For example, there is a considerable amount of scholarship on this topic regarding Helen, Hera, and Pandora. The idea is that some of these goddesses were not Indo-European, and thus with Indo-European influence (or some other influence; I am not entirely convinced that things were as patriarchal as some would claim) the major role of these goddesses was restricted. See, for example, Jackson's The Transformation of Helen (2006) or O'Brien's The Transformation of Hera (1993). This is where Gimbutas's theories, for example, would come in. Anyway, I'm just saying with some digging around here Gimbutas is bound to come up, such as in modern introductory works like Harris and Plaztner's Classical Mythology: Images and Insights (5th ed., 2008: 145-147, but see the rest of the chapter) where Gimbutas's theories are not condemned but neutrally examined. :bloodofox: (talk) 19:15, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Davemon, there are two distinct situations that you continually confuse. (1) A scholar looks at the evidence and says that in his or her opinion it is not sufficient to positively support or prove a particular theory and (2) a scholar looks at evidence and says that in his or her opinion the evidence tends to undermine or disprove a particular theory. They are quite distinct positions. As I understand the matter the majority of english-speaking scholarly opinion with regard to Gimbutas' matristic and goddess theory is (1), the "careful agnosticism" of which Hutton speaks. This is quite different from (2), and it would be not only inaccurate but dishonest for the article to present the situation otherwise. Are there any scholars who are prepared to defintively see patristic societies where Gimbutas sees matrisitic? To deny goddess worship where Gimbutas sees it? If so that is definitely worth repeating in the article. It is also worth noting that scholarship is not a democracy; "majority" opinion is not necessarily definitive, just a rough guide for the benefit of lay-people. Well-qualified minority opinion should always be included and treated with neutrality; and Gimbutas is in and of herself well-qualified minority opinion. ¬¬¬¬

You missed (3) a scholar looks at a theory proposed by another scholar and determines there is no evidence for it, and concludes that the person proposing the theory did so for personal or ideological reasons. That is the case here. You are mistaken that I am interested in doing anything other than reporting what is reported in reliable sources. You on the other hand, seem to be purely interested in arguing opinions without providing any sources, which isn't going to help us write an encyclopedia. If you want to see people denying goddess-worship where Gimbutas sees it, read the sources provided in the article that are criticising her. Davémon (talk) 13:42, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
Yeah but you miss my distinction between positively refuting a theory and saying there is not enough evidence to prove it. When a scholar says that another scholar holds a view for personal or ideological reasons then that view is of no more value than yours mine or the bus-drivers. It is just an ad hominem attack of no evidentialry significance and has no place on wikipedia. Being a scholar doesn't confer mind-reading powers and unless ones scholarship is in psychiatry it doesn't even pretend to confer any special insight into other people's thought processes. And just for the record, I have contributed sources, and good ones. There is no point contributing sources if you have no idea what evidence is and is not. Jeremy (talk) 05:28, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
Thus your preference for worthless speculation about the personal lives of scholars based on rubbishy gossip? That would appear to belong more to political mudslinging than to science... AnonMoos (talk) 16:25, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
I do wish you'd find external sources or community policy to support your comments, otherwise it does seem to come across like you "just don't like it". Accusing Dr. John Chapman of "Rubbishy gossip" and "political mudslinging" when he is just looking at the biographical influences on Gimbutas theory and career is in poor taste and overly emotive. Feel free to take Chapman, John (1998). "A Biographical Sketch of Marija Gimbutas" in Margarita Díaz-Andreu García, Marie Louise Stig Sørensen (eds.) (1998). Excavating Women: A History of Women in European Archaeology. Routledge. pp.299-301 to WP:RSN. Davémon (talk) 17:14, 18 March 2013 (UTC)