Mother Worship: Theme and Variations

Mother Worship: Theme and Variations

Mother Worship: Theme and Variations

Mother Worship: Theme and Variations

Synopsis

A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

Excerpt

Mother worship has not previously been examined crossculturally by contemporary anthropologists. Earlier studies of female deities were based on secondhand data derived from questionable sources. This is a volume of studies conducted by anthropologists and other scholars who have collected impressive original data based on extensive field research. Though mother worship is a significant aspect of religion, it is rarely discussed in the literature. Thus, the collection of essays presented here represents a unique and valuable contribution to religious studies.

This book is concerned with a wide variety of manifestations of female sacred images. It is recognized that not all female deities are primarily mother figures. Nevertheless, a survey of the literature on the topic reveals that even the most nonnurturant goddesses are considered "mother deities" by their devotees, because the term "mother" stands for more than simple nurturance. The essays in this collection attest to the great variety of forms taken by the divine feminine. It is hoped that the new material offered here will inspire other scholars to conduct further research on this surprisingly under‐ investigated subject. No single scholar could have written a book of this kind: mother worship is far too complex for such a grand synthesis. Yet perhaps the present volume will bring us closer to the kind of synthesis needed for the study of religion to advance to a higher level of sophistication.

Each scholar has brought a unique set of questions to the diverse aspects of mother worship reported here. The essays have been carefully selected to represent a variety of methodological approaches in different cultures and religions. They are not intended to provide a geographical survey of mother worship, an undertaking that would require several volumes. The papers have been organized by geographical region only to provide the reader with easy comparisons of . . .

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