God: Myths of the Male Divine

Paperback | May 1, 1997

byDavid Leeming, Jake Page

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He has been a trickster, a shaman, a divine child; he has been a sacrificial victim, a consort of the earth goddess, a warrior, a sky king; and the creator, a distant and impersonal immensity. He is the male divine, seen in the many gods of myth, and his life story is told here in thisgraceful and illuminating account by David Leeming and Jake Page. Illustrating their points with materials ranging from the prehistoric cave paintings to the mystic Jewish Kabbalah, from the ancient Indian Vedas to tales of the North American Indians and other myths from around the world, Leeming and Page reveal the changing mask of the male divine. We see howthat divinity emerged in some areas from cults involving "animal masters" (as in the Bear Man of the Cherokee Indians), sorcerers, and shamans who embarked on spirit journeys. God sometimes appeared as the trickster--as Loki of the Norse people, Legba of Africa's Yoruba, Raven and Coyote of NorthAmerica, and Krishna of India--both creative and bedeviling.With the Neolithic age came the rise of agriculture and animal husbandry, of settlements and specialization in the roles of males and females--and a more sophisticated body of myths and rituals. Here the Mother Goddess was dominant, and the male God became her consort, ultimately dying in order thatnature might be renewed. The authors illustrate this new stage in the male divine with tales of the Egyptian Osiris, the Caananite Baal, and Wiyot of California's Luiseno Indians, among others. They describe the rise of a male sky God as "the equal to, the true mate, of Goddess, who was stillassociated with Earth." In the Iron Age, the sky God became more aggressive, separating from the Goddess and taking his place as the King God, as Zeus, Odin, and Horus.Ultimately he emerged as the creator, a more distant and impersonal force. Here Leeming and Page also illuminate an important trend--a sense that the divine is beyond gender, that it permeates all things (as seen in Chinese Tao, the Indian Brahmin, and En Sof of the Kabbalah). They see a movement inthe biography of God toward a reunion with the Goddess. "As the Supreme Being becomes less Goddess and less God," they write, "it speaks more clearly to the essential human need for unity and understanding." In their previous work together, Goddess, Leeming and Page provided a marvelous biography of the female divine--an account that won a wide and enduring audience. Now, in God, they provide the perfect companion volume--completing, as the authors write, "a record of what we humans believe ourselvesat the deepest level to be."

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From Our Editors

Illustrating their points with materials ranging from the prehistoric cave paintings to the mystic Jewish Kabbalah, from the ancient Indians Vedas to tales of the North American Indians and other myths from around the world, Leeming and Page reveals the changing mask of the male divine.

From the Publisher

He has been a trickster, a shaman, a divine child; he has been a sacrificial victim, a consort of the earth goddess, a warrior, a sky king; and the creator, a distant and impersonal immensity. He is the male divine, seen in the many gods of myth, and his life story is told here in thisgraceful and illuminating account by David Leeming ...

David Leeming was formerly Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut. Jake Page is an essayist, science writer, novelist, and co-author with his wife Susanne of both Hopi and Navajo. Both authors live in New Mexico.

other books by David Leeming

Goddess: Myths of the Female Divine
Goddess: Myths of the Female Divine

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The World of Myth: An Anthology
The World of Myth: An Anthology

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A Dictionary of Creation Myths
A Dictionary of Creation Myths

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see all books by David Leeming
Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 7.95 × 5.31 × 0.39 inPublished:May 1, 1997Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019511387X

ISBN - 13:9780195113877

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From Our Editors

Illustrating their points with materials ranging from the prehistoric cave paintings to the mystic Jewish Kabbalah, from the ancient Indians Vedas to tales of the North American Indians and other myths from around the world, Leeming and Page reveals the changing mask of the male divine.

Editorial Reviews

"The kind of insight these two old Princeton boys derived from their magnificent book Goddess has been profitably used to look at God: Myths of the Male Divine. The result is more entertaining, a lot more profitable than screeds on the masculine mystique. Men want to be gods as much as womenwant to be goddesses. Here's how."--Paul Bohannan, author of We, the Alien: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology