Emerging from the Chrysalis

Emerging from the Chrysalis : Rituals of Women's Initiation

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Now reissued in an expanded edition, this unique book offers the first full-length treatment of women's initiation rites in five cultures. Asserting the critical importance of such rites in a world dominated by men, Lincoln shows that in these societies women's initiation involves not only a transformation of the self but also of the cosmos. Considering initiation rites among the Tiyyar of South India, the Navajo, the Tiv of West Africa, and the Tukuna of the Northwest Amazon, Lincoln argues that unlike men's rites, women's rites do not impart a change in hierarchical status, but rather a "cosmic" change which offers religious compensation for women's generally low socio-political status. Lincoln concludes with a brilliant reconstruction of ancient Greek initiation rites based on his original interpretation of the Demeter and Persephone myth. With a new chapter and bibliography, Emerging from the Chrysalis will be stimulating reading for those interested in ritual and its cultural impact.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 184 pages
  • 149.9 x 233.7 x 15.2mm | 249.48g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 2nd ed.
  • 31 illus.
  • 0195069102
  • 9780195069105

About Bruce Lincoln

Bruce Lincoln is Caroline E. Haskell Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School, the University of Chicago.
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Table of contents

Introduction ; Talikettukalyanam: The Marriage of Opposites ; Kinaalda: Becoming the Goddess ; Tiv Scarification: The Pattern of Time ; Festa das Mocas Novas: The Cosmic Tour ; The Rape of Persephone ; On the Nature of Women's Initiations ; Afterword: Rethinking Rituals of Women's Initiation ; Notes ; Bibliography ; Index
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Review quote

The expanded edition challenges previously held notions of initiation rites, especially for women. The book is a unique contribution, raising a number of critical issues surrounding the cultural construction of gender. Gregory R. Campbell, University of Montana A welcome resource. Lincoln's new self-criticism gives students an opportunity too seldom available I could hardly put it down! Students will find it appealing, thought-provoking. Lori Stanley, Luther College This is an exemplary form of cross-cultural comparison. Professor Lincoln engages in incisive comparisons of carefully selected women's initiation rituals from five cultures, while also offering rich cultural specificities of each case. Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney, University of Wisconsin, Madison Most useful for the comparative cross-cultural material it presents. Lincoln's epilogue is a welcome addition to this edition. Nancy Lutkehaus, University of Southern California Highly recommended for both specialists and the general reader in the study of ritual, women, and the anthropology of religion. Religious Studies Review Excellent structural analysis of women's initiation. Carol Silverman, University of Oregon
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