Priestess, Mother, Sacred Sister: Religions Dominated by Women

Paperback | April 1, 1990

bySusan Starr SeredAs told bySusan Starr Sered

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Religion is often denounced as one of the tools used by patriarchal societies to maintain the status quo, and especially to persuade women to accept subordinate roles. This does not explain, however, the existence of many religious groups in which women are both leaders and the majority ofparticipants. How are these women's religions different from those dominated by men? What can we learn from them about the special ways in which women experience their unique reality? In this fascinating and pathbreaking work--the first comparative study of women's religions--Susan Starr Sered seeksanswers to these compelling questions. Looking for common threads linking groups as diverse as the ancestral cults of the Black Caribs of Belize, Korean shamanism, Christian Science, and the Feminist Spirituality movement, Sered finds that motherhood and motherly concerns play a vital role in these female-dominated groups. Nurturingand concern for others are at the center, as are healing arts and ways of dealing with illness and the death of children. Religion not only enables women to find sacred meaning in their daily lives, from the preparation of food to caring for their families, but an offer intense and personalrelationships with deities and spirits--often through ecstatic possession trance--as well as opportunities to celebrate and mourn with other women. By examining the shared experiences of women across great cultural divides, Priestess, Mother, Sacred Sister offers a new understanding of the role gender plays in determining how individuals grapple with the ultimate questions of existence. In the process, it not only highlights the profounddifferences between men and women, but the equally important ways in which we are all alike.

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From Our Editors

In this fascinating and path-breaking work--comparing 12 women's religions--Sered investigates how women's religions differ from those dominated by men. She then reveals how these religions relate to the special ways women around the world experience reality. 19 halftones.

From the Publisher

Religion is often denounced as one of the tools used by patriarchal societies to maintain the status quo, and especially to persuade women to accept subordinate roles. This does not explain, however, the existence of many religious groups in which women are both leaders and the majority ofparticipants. How are these women's religions d...

From the Jacket

In this fascinating and path-breaking work, Susan Starr Sered uncovers, describes, and analyzes religions scattered throughout the world in which women are both the majority of leaders and the majority of participants. How are these women's religions different from those dominated by men? What can we learn from them about the ways in w...

Susan Starr Sered is the author of Women as Ritual Experts, and is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel.

other books by Susan Starr Sered

Can't Catch a Break: Gender, Jail, Drugs, and the Limits of Personal Responsibility
Can't Catch a Break: Gender, Jail, Drugs, and the Limit...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 12.72 × 6.1 × 0.79 inPublished:April 1, 1990Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195104676

ISBN - 13:9780195104677

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From Our Editors

In this fascinating and path-breaking work--comparing 12 women's religions--Sered investigates how women's religions differ from those dominated by men. She then reveals how these religions relate to the special ways women around the world experience reality. 19 halftones.

Editorial Reviews

"This book provides a good set of data for dealing with social constructions of meaning and their intersection with issues of gender and religion. I am using this in conjunction with a sociology of gender class. A nice change from more essentializing texts."--Marilyn Gottschall, WhittierCollege