The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image

The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image

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By (author) Dr Leonard Shlain

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books
  • Format: Paperback | 464 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 213mm x 28mm | 386g
  • Publication date: 1 September 1999
  • Publication City/Country: New York, NY
  • ISBN 10: 0140196013
  • ISBN 13: 9780140196016
  • Sales rank: 52,906

Product description

This groundbreaking book proposes that the rise of alphabetic literacy reconfigured the human brain and brought about profound changes in history, religion, and gender relations. Making remarkable connections across brain function, myth, and anthropology, Dr. Shlain shows why pre-literate cultures were principally informed by holistic, right-brain modes that venerated the Goddess, images, and feminine values. Writing drove cultures toward linear left-brain thinking and this shift upset the balance between men and women, initiating the decline of the feminine and ushering in patriarchal rule. Examining the cultures of the Israelites, Greeks, Christians, and Muslims, Shlain reinterprets ancient myths and parables in light of his theory. Provocative and inspiring, this book is a paradigm-shattering work that will transform your view of history and the mind.

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Author information

Leonard Shlain is the author of Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time & Light, and The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image. He is the chief of laparoscopic surgery at California Medical Center in San Francisco.

Table of contents

The Alphabet Versus the Goddess Preface Acknowledgments 1. Image/Word 2. Hunters/Gatherers 3. Right Brain/Left Brain 4. Males: Death/Females: Life 5. Nonverbal/Verbal 6. Cuneiform/Marduk 7. Hieroglyphs/Isis 8. Aleph/Bet 9. Hebrews/Israelites 10. Abraham/Moses 11. Thera/Matzah 12. Adam/Eve 13. Cadmus/Alpha 14. Sappho/Ganymede 15. Dionysus/Apollo 16. Athens/Sparta 17. Lingam/Yoni 18. Birth/Death 19. Yin/Yang 20. Taoism/Confucianism 21. B.C./A.D. 22. Jesus/Christ 23. Death/Rebirth 24. Patriarchs/Heretics 25. Reason/Madness 26. Illiteracy/Celibacy, 500-1000 27. Muslin Veils/Muslim Words 28. Mystic/Scholastic, 1000-1300 29. Humanist/Egoist, 1300-1500 30. Protestant/Catholic 31. Faith/Hate 32. Sorcery/Science 33. Positive/Negative, 1648-1899 34. Id/Superego, 1900-1945 35. Page/Screen, 1945-2000 Epilogue Notes Bibliography Index