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The landmark exploration of the ancient worship of the Great Goddess and the eventual supression of women''s rites.

In the beginning, God was a woman...

How did the shift from matriarchy to patriarchy come about? In fascinating detail, Merlin Stone tells us the story of the Goddess who reigned supreme in the Near and Middle East. Under her reign, societal roles differed markedly from those in patriarchal Judeo-Christian cultures: women bought and sold property, traded in the marketplace, and inherited title and land from their mothers. Documenting the wholesale rewriting of myth and religious dogmas, Merlin Stone describes an ancient conspiracy in which the Goddess was reimagined as a wanton, depraved figure, a characterization confirmed and perpetuated by one of modern culture''s best-known legends??―??that of the fall of Adam and Eve. Insightful and thought-provoking, this is essential reading for anyone interested in the origin of current gender roles and in rediscovering women''s power.

About the Author

Merlin Stone, a teacher of art and art history as well as a widely exhibited sculptor, became interested in archaeology and ancient religion through her art. She has produced pieces on the Goddess for both radio and the stage, and conceived and organized Goddess festivals in both New York and Toronto.

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
764 global ratings

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Top reviews from the United States

Pete Schneider
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
BUY IT, christians, atheists, women, men, anyone. Read it, and talk to eachother.
Reviewed in the United States on October 19, 2019
Amazing book. I''ll try to keep this short: Very mind blowing, the symbolism in the bible (the story of Adam and Eve) being dissected and shown for what it is blew me away. It changed my view of, and relationship with God (as a young "christian" man, using the middle... See more
Amazing book. I''ll try to keep this short:
Very mind blowing, the symbolism in the bible (the story of Adam and Eve) being dissected and shown for what it is blew me away. It changed my view of, and relationship with God (as a young "christian" man, using the middle term loosely). I have always wanted a feminine aspect of God, and seeing why it was removed, and how, was quite eye opening. The author pointedly reveals the bias of archeologists, historians, and of course the founding fathers of christianity.
I have two small gripes about this book however:

1. Sources - the author briefly mentions the source of the points she pulls together, but there are so many external sources, and the quotes are pretty short on average, it is hard to tell if it is cherry picking, or the intended meaning of the source author. It would take ages to dig through the sources and read it all, so you really have no choice but to trust Merlin Stone for her word.

2. The ultra feminist view point - Please don''t stone me for this:
I agree 100% with the points being made in the book, the religion of christianity was created as a method of suppressing female rights, and her book illustrates that beautifully, and clearly.
However It must be addressed that Merlin Stone (a much smarter person than I am, so take this review with a pile of salt) brings some amount of bias with her on the journey. The only reason this matters to me is this:
the book serves as an anti-religion text, rather than the spiritual awakening that I got out of it. And that isn''t the authors fault, perhaps I assumed it would have a different message, and that is on me.
The message I pulled from this book is: God has always been what humans have wanted (him/her) to be, when child bearing was seen as magic, women were seen as divine, and God was made in HER likeness. And when it was discovered that men played a role, men shut it down with their own religion, and a God made in THIER image. that has led me to decide on who God is to me, whether God be male, female, or aspects of both. This is heresy in the christian (jewish, and muslim) faith, but it is what made sense to me, and has deepened my connection with God.

to add to this: it seems to me that men (may have) felt oppressed during the reign of the Goddess, (when there was matrilineal descent, and they couldn''t be sure who was their child and who wasn''t) and when they corrected it, the pendulum swung too far. this is purely conjecture, but my point with it is that it is finally time for balance. we must all work together to find it. This is ultimately where the last paragraph of this books ends off, with a call for men and women to "eat the forbidden fruit" together. And that is a sentiment I agree with.

anyway great book, do yourself a favor and buy it, read it, and share it with a friend.
It opens a dialogue that is more than 2000 years late, and it must be had.

Thanks.
71 people found this helpful
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Lola James
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
ALL Women MUST Read
Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2018
Excellent research and historical proof of existence of the Goddess as the original Spiritual Truth at the beginning of ALL created life; human, animal, plant. A must read for every woman and man. A return to Goddess culture is the only way to heal the world from the... See more
Excellent research and historical proof of existence of the Goddess as the original Spiritual Truth at the beginning of ALL created life; human, animal, plant. A must read for every woman and man. A return to Goddess culture is the only way to heal the world from the ongoing destruction by the self-serving patriarchal takeover of religious, political and economic power across the planet.
81 people found this helpful
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G. M. Walton
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Meticulous Research
Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2018
This is an extremely informative and empowering book. With exhaustive research the author lays out the gradual but brutal suppression of the female divinity and womankind over 2-3000 years. It certainly opened my eyes. I am a historian by schooling and interested in the... See more
This is an extremely informative and empowering book. With exhaustive research the author lays out the gradual but brutal suppression of the female divinity and womankind over 2-3000 years. It certainly opened my eyes. I am a historian by schooling and interested in the ancient world but this book opened dozens of doors I had never even known were there. The author has done womankind a great service by bringing this past to modern awareness. Now I understand why I am a life-long "pagan" and visualized a female deity from my teens on!
64 people found this helpful
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Julia E. Hubbel
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
... was going on the world of religion before the great patriarchal movements (Christianity
Reviewed in the United States on August 27, 2017
If you are in the mood to find out what was going on the world of religion before the great patriarchal movements (Christianity, et al) wiped everything off the map, READ THIS. Women were in charge. This is a riveting book that explains what happens when you have white... See more
If you are in the mood to find out what was going on the world of religion before the great patriarchal movements (Christianity, et al) wiped everything off the map, READ THIS. Women were in charge. This is a riveting book that explains what happens when you have white Christian male archeologists doing the research- they will call anything that isn''t Christian, "pagan," and of course, if a woman came up with language or law, then it couldn''t possibly be as good as what came after Christianity.
Think again.
I love religious history, because it restores my faith. In reality, that is.
63 people found this helpful
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Ammi
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
GREAT BOOK FOR UNDERSTANDING THE GODDESS
Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2019
For anyone who wants to understand the time when the Goddess reigned supreme and the difference in the status of women during those times, this is an awesome book to read. Contrasting with the coming of the male god and the denigration of women in the process is absolutely... See more
For anyone who wants to understand the time when the Goddess reigned supreme and the difference in the status of women during those times, this is an awesome book to read. Contrasting with the coming of the male god and the denigration of women in the process is absolutely illuminating! It''s an amazing eye-opener. And a required read for women who wish to understand how the dominance of the male god has affected their place in society today as compared to the time when the Goddess was the major deity. Especially now, when the Goddess worship is coming back into the forefront, reading this book will provide the necessary background to knowing fully the attributes of the Goddess and how She differentiates from the male god and why She is absolutely more awesome than the more aggressive male god. How life for BOTH men and women were and are better under Her supremacy. And how She became undermined and with Her, all women. Please, take the time to read this significant book. You won''t be sorry. It was written in the 1970''s; but it is uncannily germaine today.
21 people found this helpful
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hkbstayton
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Must Read
Reviewed in the United States on May 2, 2017
This book was probably one of the most influential books I have read. It helped change my world view, my theology, and my understanding of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, as well as scriptures from the other world religions. Merlin Stone does a masterful job of... See more
This book was probably one of the most influential books I have read. It helped change my world view, my theology, and my understanding of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, as well as scriptures from the other world religions. Merlin Stone does a masterful job of integrating the pre-Hebrew Goddess religions with the evolution into the patriarchal Hebrew, Christian and Muslim scriptures. There is so much research and information in this book that I am on my fourth reading and still learning from each reading. Most helpful is that there are now other authors who have written about this early period in world religions to supplement and support the evolution from "when God was a Woman."
42 people found this helpful
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CAROLE
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Books tells the truth about our ancestors - women of might
Reviewed in the United States on September 22, 2018
I just started to read this book, & I am fascinated with the subject matter. It tells of our (women''s) history, something our male counterparts want us to forget. Women invented the written word, they owned the land, not men; they also fought in the wars...The Romans were... See more
I just started to read this book, & I am fascinated with the subject matter. It tells of our (women''s) history, something our male counterparts want us to forget. Women invented the written word, they owned the land, not men; they also fought in the wars...The Romans were the ones that started the business about men running everything. LOOK!!! a little further back in history.
16 people found this helpful
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Wallpaper
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A do not miss
Reviewed in the United States on January 11, 2017
This is a landmark book. When I read it years ago I marked it for keeping, and then lent it to a friend and gone. So now I''ve purchased it again and love it even more! Everyone who wants equality for all on this planet could read this with positive energy coming back.
34 people found this helpful
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willow
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
''At the dawn of religion,God was a woman.Do you remember?''
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 21, 2014
This is a very indepth book,intelligently written, telling the history of how the worship of Goddesses was suppressed and cast into the shadows,along with woman''s right''s. It contains some beautiful photos of old statues. Be warned though,if you have even a pinch of...See more
This is a very indepth book,intelligently written, telling the history of how the worship of Goddesses was suppressed and cast into the shadows,along with woman''s right''s. It contains some beautiful photos of old statues. Be warned though,if you have even a pinch of feminism within you there''s parts that will make you angry. A good read to shed light on why things are the way they are for today''s women.
3 people found this helpful
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Janet Jackson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 21, 2021
Very intetesting
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Rita S.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Expand your horizons
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 24, 2020
Enlightning! It helped me understood why some of the attitudes to women!
One person found this helpful
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Becky
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fascinating. Everyone should read this!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 21, 2020
LOVE this book! A fascinating read, pretty heavy going, a lot to digest. But seemingly well researched and passionately written.
One person found this helpful
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Mr. Alan E. Stevens
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Ancient History was not like this at school!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 17, 2019
Enlightning!
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