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Priestess, Mother, Sacred Sister: Religions Dominated by Women 61315th Edition

ISBN-13: 978-0195104677
ISBN-10: 0195104676
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this provocative and scholarly study, anthropologist Sered examines a dozen women's religions, which together constitute almost all the well-documented female-dominated religions of the world. Both obvious and previously overlooked in such studies is Sered's exploratory axis of motherhood (in the social and emotional sense rather than the biological one). Despite the dissimilarities that are to be expected in such a diversity of cultures as this, patterns still emerge: an interpersonal rather than an individualistic orientation; an emphasis on food (served in quanity rather than in small, symbolic portions); a this-worldly attitude that seeks to eliminate suffering here and now; a dearth of creation stories and end-days scenarios; no sense of forcible conversion or holy war; and no worship of a single, all-powerful, male deity, etc. Sered's work is complex, rich and pervasive, but never pedantic. Illustrated.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

With an anthropologist's eye for patterns and relationships, Sered (Bar-Ilan Univ.) seeks to elucidate universal themes that can be culled from such diverse female-dominated religious expressions as Shakerism, Korean shamanism, and African Brazilian cults. Considering the circumstances that allow for autonomous female religious systems, she notes that studies of women and religion have tended to focus on ritual rather than theology. And so does Sered, who is, after all, a social scientist, not a theologian. She analyzes issues such as the sacralization of domestic existence, the holiness of food, and even the importance of female circumcision to practicing cultures. Her central finding is that motherhood functions across cultures as "a central point of self-definition," even in celibate groups. Academic in tone (bordering on the technical), this is recommended for scholars and social scientists interested in ritual and women's studies.
Sandra Collins, SLIS, Univ. of Pittsburgh
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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