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The Alphabet Versus the Goddess

The Conflict Between Word and Image
Narrated by: Norman Dietz
Length: 24 hrs and 5 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Who changed the sex of God?

This groundbreaking book proposes that the rise of alphabetic literacy reconfigured the human brain and brought about profound changes in history, religion, and gender relations. Making remarkable connections across brain function, myth, and anthropology, Dr. Shlain shows why pre-literate cultures were principally informed by holistic, right-brain modes that venerated the Goddess, images, and feminine values.

Writing drove cultures toward linear left-brain thinking and this shift upset the balance between men and women, initiating the decline of the feminine and ushering in patriarchal rule. Examining the cultures of the Israelites, Greeks, Christians, and Muslims, Shlain reinterprets ancient myths and parables in light of his theory. Provocative and inspiring, this book is a paradigm-shattering work that will transform your view of history and the mind.

©1998 Leonard Shlain (P)2017 Tantor

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Can't Even Get Started

I have already had spirited conversations about the content of this book and love it. I thought to listen to it and used my credits to buy it. But I literally can't understand it. The narrators voice and tone when speaking is such that I just hear melody and sound, but the words are effectively meaningless. There is no way I could ever listen to this book with this voice as the reader.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating

Possibly the most interesting non fiction book I've ever read! Buying copies to give out.

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  • Zeke
  • new city, new york, United States
  • 02-11-19

An excellent review of the history and myths of ancient culture and that the alfabet was the cause of the loss of the Goddess

A finely researched book on ancient myth, history and religion. It is worth reading as an excellent history of ancient times, beliefs, myths and religion. His basic theory that the alfabet was the root cause of the loss of the Goddess and the cause of the loss of status for women may be quite reductionist. There are many causes for the inferior position of women and the domination of men. His thesis is that the alfabet strenthed and utilized the left hemisphere of the human brain and caused the right hemisphere to lose its effect on human behavior and that over time the human brain was rewired, both in men and women. He equates the function of the right hemisphere with the qualities of what is feminine and the left one with the functions of what is male. Interesting concept and one that should be much more researched. He does not consider other variables. Such as the awesome power the mother and the hunger and the need for mothering in all mammals. When we are born, the newborn turns to the mother when he/she hears her voice. Neonates seek the mother who has to create an external womb in which they can continue to develop. We humans are born much too soon and need the symbiotic union with the mother, in whose womb lived and was one with. When an infant looks up at his mothe he sees himself. To disconnect from the mother as a child leaves an void in the psyche. As we age we are in the difficult position of needing to separate, but still needing her. The return of the Goddess/mother is a constant theme in his book, yet he does not connect it to the infant/mother symbiotic tie which remains with us all of our lives. When it is not fullfilled in infancy, the hunger for her continues in the form an affect/emotional hunger. We tryto fill that void with food, drugs, sex, work and other methods. We keep bringing the Goddess mother back and today, more Christians turn to Mary first, not to Jesus or to the Father. The alfabet may also have played a role and Dr. Shlain deserves a lot of credit and respect for this creative idea, and for the fine historical work he has produced. I enjoyed it immensely and would reccommend it to anyone interested in the history of our speices.