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).


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...


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.