Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Covid-19
7.4/101 Votes Alchetron
7.4
1 Ratings
100
90
80
71
60
50
40
30
20
10
Rate This

Rate This

Publisher  Beacon Press
Pages  276 pp.
Originally published  2000
Subject  Matriarchy
3.7/5 Goodreads

Publication date  2000
ISBN  978-0-8070-6792-5
Author  Cynthia Eller
OCLC  42798148
The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory t3gstaticcomimagesqtbnANd9GcSrU6kIr7D7z55OtQ
Similar  Cynthia Eller books, Other books

Gender and the myth of matriarchal prehistory


The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why An Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future is a book by Cynthia Eller that seeks to deconstruct the theory of a prehistoric matriarchy. This hypothesis, she says, developed in 19th century scholarship and was taken up by 1970s second-wave feminism following Marija Gimbutas. Eller, a professor of religious studies at Claremont Graduate University, argues in the book that this theory is mistaken and its continued defence is harmful to the feminist agenda.

Contents

Thesis

Eller sets out to refute what she describes as feminist matriarchalism as an "ennobling lie."

She argues that the feminist archaeology of Marija Gimbutas had a large part in constructing a late twentieth-century feminist myth of matriarchal prehistory. She questions whether Gimbutas's archaeological findings adequately support the claim that these societies were matriarchal or matrifocal. She says that we know of no cultures in which paternity is ignored and that the sacred status of goddesses does not automatically increase female social status. Eller concludes that inventing prehistoric ages in which women and men lived in harmony and equality "is a burden that feminists need not, and should not bear." In her view, the "matriarchal myth" tarnishes the feminist movement by leaving it open to accusations of "vacuousness and irrelevance that we cannot afford to court."

Criticism

Eller's book has been criticised for mischaracterising the theories of Gimbutas and other key anthropologists, labeling them as "matriarchalist" despite most of these scholars rejecting ideas of matriarchy (female rulership) in favour of matrifocal or matrilineal societies. In her critique of Eller's book, feminist historian Max Dashu wrote that Eller "makes no distinction between scholarly studies in a wide range of fields and expressions of the burgeoning Goddess movement, including novels, guided tours, market-driven enterprises. All are conflated all into one monolithic 'myth' devoid of any historical foundation."

Editions

  • The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why An Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future, Beacon Press (2000), ISBN 978-0-8070-6792-5.
  • References

    The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory Wikipedia


    Similar Topics
    A Song a Day
    Marc Meyer
    Sue Scott (actress)
    Topics
     
    B
    i
    Link
    H2
    L