Maiden, Mother, Crone: Ancient Tradition or New Creative Synthesis? by Carol P. Christ

Maiden, Mother, Crone: Ancient Tradition or New Creative Synthesis? by Carol P. Christ

Carol P. Christ by Michael Bakas high resoultionThe image of the Goddess as Maiden, Mother, Crone is widespread in contemporary Goddess Spirituality. The Triple Goddess honors three ages of women, in contrast to the wider culture that: affirms young women as sex objects while shaming them as sluts; celebrates mothers on Mother’s Day, while providing few legal and economic protections for mothers; and ignores older women.

Though Goddess feminists have created rituals for menstruation and birth, I suspect that a greater number of rituals have celebrated “croning.” The reasons for this are twofold. One is that women have time and space to reflect on the meaning of life in middle age. The other is that aging women are not honored and respected in the wider culture–creating a need for rituals that do just that. Many women I know have spoken of the empowerment they felt in their croning rituals.

On the other hand, many women I know…

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Enoch and the Essene Hypothesis

Reading Acts

The book known today as 1 Enoch not a single book, but rather a series of short books written over a period of time. They share some themes and interests, most obviously revelations given to Enoch. Since four of the five major sections of the book were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, it would appear the Qumran community valued the books. But just because a book appears in a library is not sufficient evidence to conclude the owner of the book agrees with the contents. (For example, how many books in your personal library reflect what you actually believe?)

Essene-hypothesisGabriele Boccaccini argues in favor of a close relationship between the books of Enoch and the Qumran community. While there is no evidence to suggest the Essene community produced the documents which later became known as 1 Enoch, Boccaccini rightly notes the importance of this literature to the community…

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Astounding Neolithic Site — Göbekli Tepe

Here is blog post from HolyLandPhotos Blog. Gobekli Tepe is the oldest megalithic structure known and a valuable incite into the evolution of human religion. I’m intrigued by the stone with Vulture carvings. Vultures appear in the art of Neolithic Turkey as well and I wonder if their is connection to the odd practice of sky burials, leaving bodies exposed to be eaten by vultures before collecting the bones, still practiced by some communities of Central Asia.

HolyLandPhotos' Blog

For those interested, I have posted 17 images of Göbekli Tepe (“Potbelly Hill”)—a Neolithic site located about 9 mi. north of Sanliurfa in south–central Turkey before the “protective covering” was constructed over the site.  This 22 acre site was functional from roughly 9,600 BC to 8,200 BC was excavated by Klaus Schmidt.

GBT-1 View of the major excavated area at Göbekli Tepe
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It was a religious center constructed by and used by foragers (not farmers!).  The excavated portions consist mainly of rings of well-carved standing limestone pillars—the tallest 18 ft. high.

GBT-2 Detail of one of the rings of standing stones
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GBT-3 Note the variety of animals on the carved stone
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Images of gazelles, snakes, foxes, scorpions, and boars are carved on them in low bas-relief.  In posting my images I was amazed to think about how during…

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Studying Religion Without God


Caravaggio (1602-1603): Doubting Thomas


I read an article that addresses some of the issues that I’ve had studying religion regarding how to approach religious truth claims. Its difficult to analyze the history of a religion from the perspective of a true believer by following empirical research principles. Logically, I can’t proceed from the point of view that Jesus rose from the dead or that an angel dictated the Koran to Mohammed. So – from the perspective of my subjects, I’m not doing real research. But if I accepted my subject’s claims of truth at face value, I don’t think I would be engaging in real scholarship. Several times, people in religious studies departments have taken me to task for being “reductionist” in my thinking – trying to explain the mystical and sacred by way of the mundane and thus imposing my worldview on others.