God: Myths of the Male Divine / Edition 1

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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 this graceful 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 how that 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 North America, 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 that nature 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 still associated 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 in the 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 ourselves at the deepest level to be."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"For an overview of the major themes in a male God's life there is nothing comparable. Even the classic works of Joseph Campbell lack the clarity and organization of these works to bring out the salient features of the deity's life."—The Reader's Review

"Entertaining."—Paul Bohannan, author of We, the Alien: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195113877
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,484,444
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 7.94 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
I The Birth of The Archetype: Trickster/Shaman/Animal Master 11
Bear Man 14
Samoyed Shaman Dream 18
Navajo Shaman Chant 21
Maui 25
Krishna (I) 28
Loki 30
Hermes 33
The Cock 35
Ananse (I) 38
Ananse (II) 40
Legba (Esu-Elegbara) 42
Hlakanyana 43
Dikithi 46
Raven (I) 48
Iktome 50
Coyote 52
II The Rise of The Archetype: Divine Child/Goddess Consort/Dying God 57
Faro 64
Wiyot 68
Wondjina 69
Mondawmin 71
Dumuzi 81
Osiris 83
Baal 86
Kutoyis 90
Jesus 96
Dionysos 99
Quetzalcoatl 103
III The Marriage and Divorce of the Archetype: Sky God and Earth Mate 109
Geb and Nut 111
Sedi and Milo 113
Gaia and Uranos 113
Rangi and Papa 115
Nareau 117
Phan Ku 117
Tu-chai-pai 118
Wulbari 120
Earth-Mother and Sky-Father 120
The Bini Sky 122
Marduk (I) 124
Apollo 128
IV The Dominance of the Archetype: King God 133
Horus 135
Viracocha 136
Raven (II) 139
Zeus 142
Prajapati (I) 144
V The Theologizing of the Archetype: The Creator God 149
Indra 150
Prajapati (II) 153
Io 154
The Heart of Heaven 157
Nainema 157
Amma 159
Taiko-mol 160
Marduk (II) 161
Yahweh 163
The Word 167
Allah 169
VI The Universalizing of the Archetype: God as Self and God Within 173
The Chief 174
Ta'aroa 175
Krishna (II) 177
Brahman 179
The Tao (I) 180
The Tao (II) 181
En Sof 182
Rumi's God 183
The Big Bang 186
Selected Bibliography 188
Index 192
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