Thursday, 4 February 2010

Maija Gimbutas

I went and ordered Marija Gimbutas' "The Living Goddesses" this morning on a whim (ordering on Amazon is far too easy) largely because I came across her ideas while back in university and found a book of hers in the uni library. It was interesting at the time though I didnt make a proper job of going through it, I was probably being distracted by papers on brachiopod functional morphology and pyritization of soft tissues.

Her name haas been cropping up lately in some of the books I have been reading on the Indo-Europeans so I though it time to see what the fuss is about.

From what I recall she had a tendancy to regard everything as 'goddess' this and 'goddess' that; any imagery of an animal was a bear goddess or vulture goddess. Now, I might be simplifiying somewhat from what I recall but this bothered me and sounds like exactly what you find on a wesbite by someone who has read the mabinogion and takes it to be a well preserved mythic corpus (I might have been guilty of doing this myself in the past to be honest).

4 comments:

Bo said...

Interesting and useful critique in Hutton's Pagan Religions and (I think) in Triumph, with refs.

cf Meskell, L.M. 1995. "Goddesses, Gimbutas, and 'New Age'. Archaeology." Antiquity 69:74-86.

Lee said...

crikey.. the C word in an academic journal :s

take home message from that: crazy lesbos, bad archaeology

Bo said...

haha!!

Kay said...

I read two of Gimbutas's books a couple of years ago (even knowing the bad press she had gotten).

I still enjoyed reading her perspective, even if I did come to my own conclusions that she over-generalized 'the goddess' into everything.