The Cult of Divine Birth in Ancient Greece

The Cult of Divine Birth in Ancient Greece

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Description

Greek religion is filled with strange sexual artifacts - stories of mortal women's couplings with gods; rituals like the basilinna's "marriage" to Dionysus; beliefs in the impregnating power of snakes and deities; the unusual birth stories of Pythagoras, Plato, and Alexander; and more. In this provocative study, Marguerite Rigoglioso suggests such details are remnants of an early Greek cult of divine birth, not unlike that of Egypt. Scouring myth, legend, and history from a female-oriented perspective, she argues that many in the highest echelons of Greek civilization believed non-ordinary conception was the only means possible of bringing forth individuals who could serve as leaders, and that special cadres of virgin priestesses were dedicated to this practice. Her book adds a unique perspective to our understanding of antiquity, and has significant implications for the study of Christianity and other religions in which divine birth claims are central. The book's stunning insights provide fascinating reading for those interested in female-inclusive approaches to ancient religion.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 278 pages
  • 139.7 x 213.36 x 20.32mm | 385.55g
  • Palgrave MacMillan
  • Basingstoke, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • biography
  • 0230111327
  • 9780230111325
  • 1,039,650

Review quote

'This book is bold, creative, and courageous, and makes a considerable contribution to feminist re-readings and reinterpretations of religious and mythological traditions from the Graeco-Roman world.' - Marvin Meyer, Griset Professor of Bible and Christian Studies, Chapman University; author of The Gospel of Judas, The Gospels of Mary, The Gnostic Bible, and Ancient Christian Magic 'Thought provoking and superbly written, this is the only book to examine thoroughly and seriously the question of divine birth in ancient Greece. Imperative for classical scholars, the book provides stunning insights that should be a fascinating read for anyone who has even the slightest interest in spirituality, religion, feminism, or ancient history.'- Jorge N. Ferrer, coeditor of The Participatory Turn: Spirituality, Mysticism, Religious Studies 'Her insightful study of the priestesshoods of divine birth brings the subject into focus and suggests new scholarly perspectives.' - Charlene Spretnak, author of Lost Goddesses of Early Greece 'Rigoglioso argues that the divine birth priestesses engaged in mystical practices intended to allow them to give birth parthenogenetically (without a man). The evidence she brings together in support of this idea is impressive. I recommend this book highly to anyone interested in the roles of women in ancient Greek religion.' - Carol P. Christ 'We can accept...that it is really "the first scholarly book to explore the theme of divine birth in ancient Greece in an in-depth and comprehensive fashion" and value its contribution to women studies and value its contribution to women studies and interpretation of Ancient Mythology generally.' -Ostrava Journal of English Philologyshow more

About Marguerite Rigoglioso

MARGUERITE RIGOGLIOSO is an adjunct instructor at the Dominican University of California, USA.show more

Table of contents

A Taxonomy of Divine Birth Priestesshoods Divinity, Birth, and Virginity: The Greek Worldview Athena's Divine Birth Priestesshood Artemis's Divine Birth Priestesshood Hera's Divine Birth Priestesshood The Divine Birth Priestesshood at Dodona The Divine Birth Priestesshood at Delphi Is Virgin Birth Possible? and Other Outrageous Questionsshow more

Review Text

'This book is bold, creative, and courageous, and makes a considerable contribution to feminist re-readings and reinterpretations of religious and mythological traditions from the Graeco-Roman world.' - Marvin Meyer, Griset Professor of Bible and Christian Studies, Chapman University; author of The Gospel of Judas, The Gospels of Mary, The Gnostic Bible, and Ancient Christian Magic 'Thought provoking and superbly written, this is the only book to examine thoroughly and seriously the question of divine birth in ancient Greece. Imperative for classical scholars, the book provides stunning insights that should be a fascinating read for anyone who has even the slightest interest in spirituality, religion, feminism, or ancient history.'- Jorge N. Ferrer, coeditor of The Participatory Turn: Spirituality, Mysticism, Religious Studies 'Her insightful study of the priestesshoods of divine birth brings the subject into focus and suggests new scholarly perspectives.' - Charlene Spretnak, author of Lost Goddesses of Early Greece 'Rigoglioso argues that the divine birth priestesses engaged in mystical practices intended to allow them to give birth parthenogenetically (without a man). The evidence she brings together in support of this idea is impressive. I recommend this book highly to anyone interested in the roles of women in ancient Greek religion.' - Carol P. Christ 'We can accept...that it is really "the first scholarly book to explore the theme of divine birth in ancient Greece in an in-depth and comprehensive fashion" and value its contribution to women studies and value its contribution to women studies and interpretation of Ancient Mythology generally.' -Ostrava Journal of English Philologyshow more
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