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ANAHITA  December 1999

ANAHITA December 1999

Subject:

Re: Gerda Lerner and who??

From:

Susan Kray <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 27 Dec 1999 16:56:41 EST

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (99 lines)

In a message dated 12/26/99 3:12:29 PM US Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:


>  Semira wrote:
>
>  >Those who profess mainstream scientific views and opinions are more able
to
>  >pose as 'neutral' and 'objective' (since their views are consistent and
>  >congruent with 'common knowledge' and culture), than those who step
outside
>  >and question mainstream scientific views, beliefs and notions (as do
Eisler,
>
>  >Lerner, Stone, Daly).
>
>  Hmmmm . . . although I tend to agree with your statement about supposed
>  neutrality, I really wonder at the wisdom of listing folks like Riane
>  Eisler and Merlin Stone with an academic historian like Gerda Lerner.

Well, one shouldn't do so uncritically. One should clearly state her reasons.

>  Gerda Lerner presents (in my opinion) a judicious reading of the evidence
>  for a general audience.  Eisler and Stone have explicitly -political-
>  agendas in their work.  They are using the past to legitimize women's roles
>  in the present (and they say so!)  See, for a great critique, Lynn
>  Meskell's article "Goddesses, Gimbutas, and 'New Age' Archaeology in the
>  journal Antiquity, vol. 69, 1995.

I would also recommend Meskell's article, as well as the others listed in the
bibliography of my article.

Here is a test for Creation of Patriarchy. People with expertise in the
Hebrew Bible, ancient Israelite history, ancient Near Eastern history,
ancient Near Eastern texts, etc., turn to the passages relevant to your own
area of special knowledge and see what you think of Lerner's scholarship.

Here's another: Read Young, Katherine K. 1991. "Goddesses, Feminists, and
Scholars." In The Annual Review of Women in World Religions, 1, eds. Arvind
Sharma and Katherine K. Young. State University of New York Press.

>
>  > 2. Even in a field like physics the targeting of a larger audience with
>  >books written by highly regarded scientists is actively sought after and
>  >brought into practice. Some well known examples:
>  >-A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
>  >-The Empire's New Mind by Roger Penrose
>  >-The First Three Minutes by Stephen Weinberg (nobel price laureate)
>
>  This is true.  But Stone and Eisler are NOT classicists or archaeologists
>  or historians, and certainly not "hard" scientists.  In fact, I don't
>  consider them "scholars" (and I have read their books).  (I'm not sure that
>  they would claim to be scholars).  They don't appear to have the training
>  or breadth of knowledge of the archaeological or historical records to
>  critically evaluate and critique their sources.  Lerner, on the other hand,
>  most certainly does (I've read her books too ).
>  {Doubtless Gerda Lerner has no need of my defense, but she happens to be
>  one of my favorite historians of women's history.}

Some of Lerner's work is also among my favorite work. Unfortunately, she
falls down on the job in Creation of Patriarchy. Lerner has some problems, in
this particular book, common to the non-scholarly authors you mention, such
as generalizing from one or two anomalous examples, taking biblical passages
out of context and thereby changing their meaning, extrapolating from texts
to real life, etc. See what you think after reading the Young article.

Susan Kray

>
>  Erica Hill, Visiting Assistant Professor
>  Department of Anthropology
>  University of Iowa
>  114 Macbride Hall
>  Iowa City, IA  52242
>
>  [log in to unmask]
>
>  319.335.0528    phone
>  319.335.0653    fax
>  _________________________________________
>

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