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ED 128 292 




SO 009 464 

The Scholar and the Feminist III: The Search For 

Columbia Univ. ^ New York^ N.Y.^ Barnard Coll* 
Helena Rubenstein Foundation^ Inc.^ New York# N.Y. 

47p.; Papers from the Morning Session of a Conference 
of the Barnard College Women's Center (New York^ New 
York^ April 10^ 1976) 

Women's Center^ Barnard College^ Columbia University^ 
New Yorh^ New York 10027 ($1.00 paper cover^ 10 or 
more $0.75 each) 

MF-SO.Sa HC-$2.06 Plus Postage. 

Capitalism; Church Role; Discriminatory Attitudes 
(Social) ; Females; *Feminis2i; Power Structure; 
Research Needs ; *Sei Discrimination; ♦Social History; 
♦Womens Studies 


The two conference papers in this publication examine 
the historical origins of the subordination of women to men. In the 
first paper, "Unraveling the Problem of Origins: An Anthropological 
Search for Feminist Theory," Rayaa Reiter reviews what is known and 
what is not known at the present time and provides a feminist 
critique of the gaps in our knowledge left by a male^oriented 
tradition of learning. She points out that modern capitalist social 
organization clearly depends on the continuance of a certain kind of 
female subordination, bur it cannot be seen as solely responsible for 
its origins. Although more research is required, Reiter emphasizes 
that there is already much evidence to suggest the ways in which the 
establishment of the gender hierarchy is linked to other forms of 
power structures and is an inherent part of their development. The 
paper by Elaine Pagels, "When Did Man Kake God in His Image? A Case 
Study in Religion and Politics," shows in considerable detail how the 
process of establishing an orthodoxy in the early Christian Church, 
both in terms of correct theology arc! in terms of how the church 
hierarchy and membership are to be organized, is linked intimately to 
the process of taking away options for women. (Author/RM) 

* Documents acquired by ERIC include many informal unpublished * 

* materials not available from other sources. ERIC makes every effort * 

* to obtain the best copy available. Nevertheless, items of marginal * 

eproducibility are often encountered and this affects the quality * 
f the microfiche and hardcopy reproductions ERIC makes available * 
\^ia the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS). EDRS is not * 

* responsible for the quality of the original document. Reproductions * 

* supplied by EDRS are the best that can be made from the original. * 


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SEntofp'Cial national institute of 


A conference sponsored by 
The Barnard College Womep 's Center 

Papers From 
The Morning Session 

April 10, 1976 




Hester Eisenstein 3 

Opening Remarks 

Elizabeth Janeway 9 

Unraveling the Problem of Origins: An 
Anthropological Search for Feminist Theory 

RaynaR. Reiter 13 

When Did Man Make God in His Image? 
A Case Study in Religion and Politics 

Elaine H. Pagels 31 

Afternoon Program 47 

This publication was made possible by a grant from the 
Helena Rubinstein Foundation. 

Copyright © 1976 The Women's Center, Barnard College, 
New York,N.Y. 10027. 

Printed by Faculty Press. Inc„ Brooklyn, N. Y, ^^JUBB*** 

Hester Eisenstein 

As Elizabeth Janeway points out in her opening remarks, the 
power to name, to say ^<v^at is important and significant, ha^ 
always been an attribute of the powers-that-be. Those powers, the 
pronouncers of orthodoxy, have been predominantly male. Hence 
it is crucially important to create instrumentalities whereby the 
voices of women can be heard, speaking with an authority and a 
legitimacy of tlieir own. 

This legitimizing function is shared by the plethora of 
conferences and publications, growing in number, covering all 
aspects of the resurgent women's movement. Among these, the 
Barnard Women's Center conference series on The Scholar and 
The Feminist has had a unique focus, posing the double question. 
What does feminism bring to scholarship? And what does 
scholarship bring to feminism? In exploring this crucial interaction, 
the Barnard conferences have been a meeting place, a source of 
"energy, an exchange of ideas, and perhaps above all, a forum, 
where innovative, speculative but responsible feminist scholarship 
can be shared and examined in a receptive atmosphere. 

Pot the first conference. The Scholar and The Feminist (May 1 1 , 
1974), twelve scholars from widely differing disciplines were invited 
to speak about their own intellectual biographies in the context of 
their current research. What was the impact of feminism on their 
interests, thdr goals, and their identity as scholars? Their answers 
covered a wide range of opinions and experiences, from highly 
personal and individual accounts to universal and moving 
statements about the life and the work of the feminist scholar. 

Hester Eisenstein, Academic Coordinator for The Scholar nnd 
The Feminist III, is Coordinator of the Experimental College at 
Barnard College. 



At the time of the second conference, The Scholar and The 
Feminist II: Towvircl New Criteria of Relevance (April 12, 1975), 
the number of scholars who identified themselves as feminists 
was continuing 'o '^row. New journals devofing themselves to femi- 
nist scholarship \^'ere springing up. It was evident that in many dif- 
ferent disciplines, feminists were beginning to have an impact on 
traditional methodologies. This conference, then, spoke to the 
issue: What kinds of changes does feminism bring to the conduct of 
scholarship? The two morning speakers addressed the new kinds of 
questions raised by feminist scholars, the new data that feminist 
scholars were uncovering, the new assumptions that they were 
applying to old data, and the new concepts that feminist thinkers 
were bringing to traditional fields. 

By 1976, feminist scholarship was visible, extensive, and 
growing. It seemed appropriate, therefore, to move onto the terrain 
ot some broad, theoretical issue of current interest. The problem 
we chose was the search for origins. Tht title is, in the first 
instance, evocative: we all have the impulse to find roots, to have 
the sense that we are part of a tradition, that we have not, like 
Athena, sprung full-blown from the head of Zeus, but that we, 
indeed, come from somewhere. In particular, as women struggling 
for self-determination, we have felt the need of connections to the 
past. Some of the most important work in women's history has 
been the finding of *Most women," women of achievement in 
previous eras, whose existence demonstrates that indeed, we have 

The particular question, however, that we sought to answer in 
its historical dimension was, w hat are the origins of the subordina- 
tion of women to men? The problem grows naturally out of the 
feminist conviction that the present and past position of women in 
society and culture has neither been ordained by a higher power, 
nor determined by a **natural order" of things. It must therefore be 
explained. Hence, the search for origins. What does the present 
unsatisfactory position of women stem from? How far back does il 
go? In what structures— psychological, social, economic, political 
and biological—does it have its basis? 

Posed in this manner, the problem of origins can be seen as a 
series of further, interrelated questions How, exactly, did the 
situation of women in modern society develop? Are there parallel 
developments in other cultures? Have there in faci been times 


and/or places in which women held genuine and substantial 
political, economic and social power? If so» what forms did this 
take? Furthermore, in carrying out this inquiry, how can we 
distinguish myth from reality? Beliefs about the differing capacities 
and appropriate activities of the sexes, what Michelle Rosaldo and 
others have called **gender ideology," are not the same as actual 
inequities of status, in access to resources, to power, to modes of 
living, although the one often acts to reinforce the other. 
Similarly, it is currently fashionable to discuss and to analyze "sex 
roles'' and sex-role sterotyping, and to point out the need to 
overcome these limitations, in order to liberate both sexes fr( a the 
trap of expected attitudes and behaviors. But what is often lacking 
in these discussions is the dimension of power, what Rayna R. 
Reiter calls "gender hierarchy." For the problem of origins implies 
not only the tracing of differences, but the explorafion of their use 
in the service of certain kinds of political, economic, and social 

'n the effort to illuminate this whole complex area of inquiry, 
enormous pressure has been brought to bear on the discipline of 
anthropology— the "science of man" (sic). Frustrated historians, 
psychologists, literary critics, and classicists, among others, have 
turned to the anthropologists in the hope that their methodological 
tools and their resources in cross-cultural studies, archeology, an. I 
primate behavior can provide scholars in other fields with answers. 
Rayna R. Reiter, in her suggestive paper, "Unravelling The 
Problem of Origins: An Anthropological Search for Feminist 
Theory," responds to this challenge with a general revie^v of what 
is and what is not known at the present time, along with a feminist 
critique of the gaps in our knowledge left by a male-oriented 
tradition of learning. 

Reiter traces the oppression of women backward in time, seeking 
out the crucial moments or junctures at which major changes in the 
development of civilization may have contributed to the more 
complete establishment of male dominance. She points out that 
modern capitalist social organization clearly depends on the 
continuance of a certain kind of female cubordination, but cannot 
be seen as solely responsible for its origins. Similarly, for the 
turning point first enunciated by Engels— the creation of the 
"pristine" state and the property-linked family. The third and final 



point of origin Reiter examines is original human society itself, as 
illuminated by the study of primate behavior, and as inferred, 
however tentatively, from investigations of **primitive" tribal 
groups that survive today. 

At all these points, Reiter shows, much more research is 
required. But there is already much evidence to suggest the ways in 
which the establishment of gender hierarchy is linked to other 
forms of power structures, and is an inherent part of their 
development. The paper by Elaine H. Pagel'^ **When Did Man 
Make God in His Image? A Case-Study in r:.:iigion and Politics,'' 
illustrates precisely one such point of evolution. In her paper, 
Pagels establishes the astonishingly explicit process by which 
heterodox theories about the female traits of God were 
systematically excluded from orthodox Christian teachings, while 
at the same time, heterodox groups — specifically, the gnostic 
followers of Christianity — were drummed out of the Church 
because they refused to accept the con -opt of a male priesthood, 
closed to women, and indeed, open only to a select group of male 

The study by Pagels shows in considerable detail how the process 
of establishing an orthodoxy in the early Christian Church, both in 
terms of correct theology and in terms of how the church hierarchy 
and membership is to be organized, is linked intimately to the 
process of taking away options for women. What is involved here is 
not just who can become a priest, and act thereby as an authority 
for the Christian flock, but the very qualities of the divine power 
that the priest and his flock will be praying to. 

Pagels' work is thus a concrete example of the process traced by 
Reiter in broader strokes: at critical moments in the development of 
civilization, steps are taken to create and to consolidate a certain 
kind of power— in this case, the power of the Church fathers, as 
exercised through their religious hierarchy. In this process, there is, 
among othe' s, one crucial element, and that is, a diminution of the 
rights and powers of women as a class or social grouping. Indeed, 
in this case, the symbolic importance of the action is made explicit. 
In the contemporary documents that Pagels cites, **Paul explains 
that as God has authority over Christ, so the man has authority 
over the woman'' (p. 37). And, carrying this one step further, so 
the priesthood has authority over the believers. Domination of 



male over female accompanies and is the symbol of other 
developing forms of hierarchy. 

As Reiter and Pagels indicate, the work presented here is 
tentative, and is intended to encourage much more research in these 
areas. But it is an important beginning. The data now being sought , 
and uncovered in the search for origins represent the possibility, at 
some future point, of replacing vague and spurious concepts of 
**human nature'' with concrete information, and of moving away 
from the covert ideology of male supremacy to a clearly understood 
and visible pattern of cultural and political development. This 
pattern, once traced, can be altered. In this manner, feminist 
scholarship is making, and will continue to make, an important 
contribution to our knowledge, and knowledge, as Janeway 
reminds us, 's a source of power. 


I want to express here my thanks and warm appreciation to Jane S. 
Gould, Director of the Women's Center, and Emily Kofron, 
Assistant Director, to Susan Rienier Sacks and Nancy K. Miller, 
Academic Coordinators of the 1974 and 1975 conferences 
respectively, and to all the conference participants, for theii 
contributions to the planning and to the success of The Scholar and 
The Feminist III. 

June, 1976 



Elizabeth Janeway 

I'm very much honored to have the opportunity to welcome the 
participants in this third conference, held at Barnard, on The 
Scholar and the Feminist; and, since I took my degree here, some 
forty years ago, in history, I'm especially pleased to be welcoming 
you to a discussion of the Search for Giigins of the situation and 
status of women. The exploration of the past, the discovery there 
of the presence of Woman and women, in areas where our 
influence and even our existence have been erased, do not simply 
operate to build up a body of knowledge. They do that, of course, 
but they also produce a remarkable psychological effect, here and 
now. For they demonstrate that the Pope is not infallible, and the 
Emperor needs a loincloth. Feminists who are scholars, scholars 
who are feminists, are informing the rest of us that orthodox, male 
scholarship is capable of making quite astonishing mistakes, 
mistakes both of emphasis and of oversight. 

Women scholars, that is, are not only broadening the material 
now available for scholarly study and, in addition, illuminating 
questions that had not been thought worthy of attention, they are 
also raising the whole matter of significance and definition. The 
power -u define, to name, to evaluate and to assign importance to 
events and to processes, is one of the greatest powers which any 
establishment can wield. In the past, it has almost always been the 
experience of the powerful which has been thought worthy of 
study, and their judgments which have prevailed. If the governed 
rest of us have been considered at all, it has been as fodder for the 
proper exercises of governance, or as awful warnings of what can 
happen if orthodoxy is challenged. Even the advent of the social 

Elizabeth Janeway, novelist and feminist theorist, is a 
Trustee of Barnard College, 



sciences, which followed the rise of the middle-class to a position 
where its presence could not be overlooked, did not really change 
things much. The 19th Century idea of PROGRESS, of history as 
pursuing a forward course from the primitive through the barbaric 
to the civilized, one step after another, still subordinated the reality 
of human life to its usefulness as propaganda for orthodox 
thinking and orthodox political power. And this idea dominated 
the social sciences for many decades. 

To some extent it still does, though in a vulgarzed-— perhaps I 
might say bastardized— form. Certainly the search for ihe 
biological origins of human behavior in pre-human forms of life 
can — I think should — be seen as sort of modernization of 
progressivism, a neo-neo Darwinism. In this modernized form, it*s 
true, progressivism has rather turned into regressivism. What is 
being sought is not the steps toward civilization, that crowning 
glory of man as the 19th century saw it, but the animal instincts of 
aggression and territoriality which guarantee that civilization is 
fundamentally impossible and the human interaction can never 
become secure. A century ago— if we want to put this into a 
feminist perspective for a moment— our great-grandmothers (well, 
your greats, my grandmothers) were being told that the inspired 
and inspiring labors of men had brought the human race to a point 
where even women might soon be spared the drudgery, the 
malnutrition and the pains and dangers of childbirth which had 
been their lot previously. Praise Adam! Today we are still told that 
men have been the originators and the forwarders of civilization, 
but we are being warned not to count on the quality of the product 
or of the producer either. Adam, it seems, is not the sturdy type we 
had imagined. His psyche is fragile, his control over his animal 
drives is precarious. We can praise him if we want to, but not out of 
joy. We should do it in order to bolster his ego and keep him from 
falling apart. What he really needs is nurture and support so that he 
can go on holding together such fragments of civilization as still 
survive. If, on the other hand, we threaten him — who knows what 
will happen? Something too dire to predict. 

Poor old Adam, being reversely discriminated against! Doesn't it 
shake you up? 

Not much, I hope. Certainly the presence of so many dis- 
tinguished woman scholars here today points to a new determina- 



tion among women to define and value our own goals and 
methods, our own world view. Now, let mc say at once that I don*t 
see Jthis as a reverse of the masculine view, a dichotomized 
half-scene, but as an extension of an inadequate view toward one 
that is fully human. A new sense of the serious value of women's 
experience opens up new vistas for all of history, for the social 
sciences and in the arts. As an example, let me report on the 
experience of a woman law professor, Marjorie Fine Knowles, at 
the University of Alabama. What was really needed, she iound, 
was not a tacked-on-the-outside course in the curriculum dealing 
with women and the law — though there's no reason not to have 
one — but the incorporation of material about women's needs and 
demands in the regular curriculum, so that the first-year law 
students do not live in a dream-world of totally masculine torts, or 
fraud, but discover that women too are torted against or engage in 
fraudulent practices. Courses concentrating on women are a 
valuable first step in many fields, but they can not only be dropped 
all too easily in bad times; inevitably they produce a cvrtain 
ghettoization of the material, unless and until it is accepted into the 
mainstream curriculum. One way it gets there, of course, is thanks 
to courses specializing in women — for students who have 
encountered nev, material there carry it with them into other 
classrooms. The questions they ask as a result can often alert a 
professor to a whole range of ideas of which he had been ignorant. 
He may, of course, resent it. But if it happens often enough, he will 
not be able to ignore it, and some women's voices will thus begin to 
be heard in fields where they had been silent. 

Feminist scholars, then, are not only drawing attention to unused 
riches of knowledge, they are re-working the whole canon of 
received wisdom. Think of yourselves as yeasts, why don't you, 
fermenting away in the soggy dough of orthodox learning, or 
turning insipid grape-juice into wine. In addition, since women's 
studies are by nature interdisciplinary, they continually set up 
cross-links between areas, encouraging a reciprocal interchange of 
ideas and techniques. Such reciprocity appears to lie in the 
mainstream of modern scholarship, for not jnly the social sciences 
but the hard sciences as well are increasingly talking to each other 
and forming new alliances. If there were disciplines called social 
psychology and biochemistry when I was in college, they were very 



new babies. Now party-lines have been set up—- maybe conference 
calls is a more up-to-date phrase — all over the place. In fact, when I 
was out at a large midwestern state campus recently, I discovered 
that they actually boasted a department called— Interdisciplinary 
Studies. It does sound a liule like taking a degree in Salad Bar, I 
must say. But then, scholnro who are feminist do, of course, have a 
real focus, and a gr'^at deal that is pertinent to say to each other. 

And now you are about to start saying it. But before I close, I 
want to eraend one very special welcome to a special participant: a 
distinguished scholar, a firm and pragmatic feminist — our 
Prcsident-to-be here at Barnaid, Dr. Jacquelyn Mattfeld. 



Rayna R. Reiter 

The search for origins is a theme which unites much of the recent 
wave of feminist scholarship. That this should be so comes as no 
surprise. Feminism, and the research whose perspective it informs, 
assumes that women's experience in any and every aspect of 
culture, while broadly shaped by the same forces which define male 
experience, is not reducible to it. The recognition of significant 
differences in male-female lifeways leads us immediately to 
speculate on the origins of those differences. Furthermore, under 
specific conditions, the differences between males and females are 
used to justify and underwrite power differentials as well. It is this 
question of the origins and perpetuation of gender-linked power 
hierarchies which lies at the heart of the feminist perspective. 
Implicitly or explicitly, feminism asserts that our society has a 
problem in the form of gender hierarchies, and that our problem 
cries out for a solution. In whatever framework we individually 
cast our understandings of male-female inequalities, we are united 
in our identification of the problematic. Feminists inside and 
outside the academy share a commitment to two tasks: spreading 
consciousness of the existence of gender hierarchy, and collective 
action aimed at dismantling it. But before a structure of inequality 
can be dismantled, we must first know the base on which it rests. 
Thus our common search for origins is implicitly a search for a 
strategy with a politicized goal. The problem has been felicitously 
stated by Gayle Rubin, a feminist anthropologist. 

Rayna R. Reiter teaches anthropology m the Graduate Division of 
The New School for Social Research. 



// innate male agression and dominance are at 'f^ f^?' ?-^ 
female oppression, then the feminist prograni would logically 
reauire either the extermination of the offending sex. or else a 
eugenics project to modify its character. If sexism is a 
by-product of capitalism's relentless appetite for profit, then 
shcism would wither away in jhejjdyent of a successful 
socialist revolution. If the world historic defeat of women 
occurred at the hands of an armed patriarchal revolt, then it is 
time for amazon guerrillas to start training m the 

Our notions concerning a problem's origins contribute to our 
strategy of attack. This much of our joint endeavor is clear. 

Yet we all approach the question of the origins of gender 
inequality from very different perspectives, depending in part on 
the fields in which we were trained. Narrow disciphnary boundaries 
get in the way of our asking substantive questions, and we seek to 
transcend them. Feminist studies have generated exciting, and 
frustrating, attempts at interdisciplinary, or better still, trans- 
disciplinary, research and teaching. We have all made sorties into 
fields which appear to possess answers to questions our own fields 
cannot pose. We eagerly turn to other areas for help in solving the 
puzzle that sexual roles and statuses present. All too often we find 
that the pieces we are seeking to assemble are not only scattered, 
but warped and fragmented in a multiplicity of compartments in 
the contemporary academy. Each and all of us have faced in our 
own disciplines the glaring and systematic oversights, both 
theoretical and methodological, surrounding our questions about 
gender hierarchies. As we search for origins, we think critically, 
and find ourselves unraveling many strands which knit together the 
fabric of our respective fields. The unraveling is a frustrating and 
time-consuming activity; we are forced to do an archaeological 
investigation of the very facts and theories we possess before we 
attempt to utilize them. Yet we cannot reweave our individual 
strands into a collective mesh strong enough to support significant 
knowledge concerning gender until the potential contributions ot 
each field are critically examined. Our examinations also force us 
to repair the splits which created many of our academic fields in the 
first place; we cannot solve our gender-problem except by pooling 
our common issues and knowledge. Because we have a significant 
and genuine problem-gender hierarchies- we are confronted 
with the inherently transdisciplinary question of their true origins. 


Only the broadest, most collective investigations will contribute to 
the demise cf the inequalities we analyze. 

My own feminist search for origins is filtered through 
anthropology, the field in which I was trained. Anthropology 
provides us with information of a broad, comparative nature about 
societies with radically differing bases of social organization. As I 
see it, the critical unraveling of theory and data concerning the 
origins of gender hierarchies must proceed backwards. In broad 
terms, we must first strip away what we can identify as recent 
restructurings and accretions that have taken up older patterns of 
male-female ranking systems and distorted or transformed them. 
We can identify crucial junctures in which gender relations have 
changed qualitatively. We must examine such junctures for what 
each may tell us about the origins and dynamics of sexual 
inequality. For me, that unraveling focuses on three major 
moments, or junctures, in which we can clearly see a reorganization 
of major social simctures, including those which organize gender 
relations. Let me stress that my selection of "moments** is not the 
only possible one. My choices have been made in order to unify 
many lines of inquiry. Each of them has been a major focus of 
research in anthropology, and in other fields. Each requires an 
interdisciplinary investigation to be truly understood. For me, such 
significant moments begin in our recent history and progress 
toward our most ancient past. I begin with modern gender 
hierarchies for two reasons. First, examining the contemporary 
situation emphasizes those conditions which require immediate 
change, and insures the relevance of our research . Second, in 
understanding those portions of our gender problem which are 
contemporary, we guard ourselves against universalizing ethno- 
centric notions of gender organization onto other cultures and 
histories. Passing, then, from recent to ancient, the junctures for 
me are: the origins and effects of modern capitalism; the origins 
and processes of pristine state formation; and the characteristics 
of gender organization in original human society itself. In each, the 
potentialities of gender relations must be examined if we are to 
understand both our problem and its solution. 

The massive social transformations which accompany the origins 
of modern capitalism have been analyzed and debated for virtually 
as long as the system itself has existed. The effects of capitalism 



have been investigated in and out of the academy for over a 
century, and have taken ceiter-stage in the works of those who 
would reform or overthrow the system, as well as those who simply 
want to study it. Whether one turns to the histories of the various 
socialist and communist internationals, or to the works of political 
economists, historians, sociologists, and cultural theoreticians, one 
finds important perspectives concerning the lives of women. Both 
the activist tradition associated with women and men such as 
Engels, Bebel, Kollantai, and Goldman, and the recent wave of 
scholarship emanating from universities, have focused on two 
arenas: the home and the workplace.^ In each, the drastic effects of 
capitalism are studied in detail, but the exact interpretation of those 
effects remains in dispute. Recent discussions of the history of the 
family take diametrically opposing points of view, some claiming 
that it was capitalism that threw us into nucleated isolation, others 
that the nuclear family was the absolute precondition for industrial 
development of the West.^ Not only the form of the family, but its 
affective and ideological content and control over its members is up 
for grabs: Shorter has recently gone so far as to claim that early 
industrialization liberated both male and female sexuality, while 
Scott, Tilly and Cohen argue persuasively that such an 
interpretation is a frivolous reading of the difficult life 
circumstances under which young women migrated and worked in 
early factories.* We have a great deal of information on patterns of 
female employment and unemployment, increasing sexual 
segregation and wage-differentiation in jobs, and of course, the 
radical separation of the home from the workplace.' Yet the exact 
relations between the structure of the family and horsehold, and its 
integration into a mode of production which oppresses women 
doubly and differently than men, are subjects requiring further 
analysis. Whatever we conclude about the effects of capitalism on 
the status of women, it is clear that the system is built upon forms 
of se.xual hierarchy which have still deeper roots. Capitalism 
inherited from its own past such sexual inequalities as wage, 
inheritance and property-holding differentials, as well as judicial 
systems which were sex-biased, and the peasant patriarchal 
family.* It transformed these structures to new and more elaborate 
purposes, but it did not invent them. Contemporary capitalism has 
a stake in maintaining the sex-segregated labor force, and the 
consuming bourgeois family. Yet prior to the modern forms of 



more ancient layers of gender differentiation and discrimination. 
In delineating these more archaic patterns, my second focus in 
the search for origins is the origin of the pristine state. A vast 
terrain of history and social development separates modern 
capitalism from this more ancient moment in hierarchy formation, 
and much specific work is needed to fill it in. Nonetheless, this 
radical leap into the human past seems justified to me; for the 
origin of the state was a major solidification of class and gender 
differentiation on which virtually all forms of kingdom and empire 
were ultimately founded. When we understand this political 
apparatus, we have a tool for analyzing how categories of people 
are classified as dominant and subservient, and what sorts of 
specifically ideological as well as material bases sustain the 

A well-developed, interdisciplinary tradition of research exists on 
the question of state origins. Archaeology, ancient history, the 
fields of religion and art history, as well as anthropology, have 
made important contributions.^ Once again, the activist political 
tradition exemplified in Engels' great work. The Origin of The 
Family, Private Property and The State, helps to inform our 
thinking. While contemporary data supersede anything available 
when the treatise was written, Engels' basic hypotheses still merit 
attention. His schema links the growth of private property to the 
dismantling of a collective, communal kinship base in prestate 
society. In this process, marriage grows more restrictive, legitimacy 
of heirs more important, and wives generally become means of 
reproduction for the benefit of their husbands. At the same time, 
reciprocal relations amongst kinsfolk are curtailed, and productive 
resources, once held by the entire kin group, become privatized. 
Estates or classes arise out of formerly kin-based social 
organization which was egalitarian. In this analysis, the creation of 
a class hierarchy is intimately linked to the creation of the 
patriarchal family. The restrictions on women's status emerge with 
class society, and are underwritten by a state apparatus which 
penetrates and defines the family. 

Modern archaeology and social theory, with a vastly more 
sophisticated data base, should, in principle, be able to confirm, 
reject or modify Engels' schema. Careful analyses have been 
performed on the role of population pressure, long-distance trade, 



warfare, and theocracy in early state formation. We know a great 
deal about the division of labor between elites and mass producers 
under these social circumstances, but almost nothing about the 
division of labor by gender. Mainstream archaeology has not 
addressed itself to the question of women's status in archaic 
society. Yet information exists on the intertwined forms of 
hierarchy that we now retrospectively label "patriarchy" and 
**class," //the questions are properly framed. Very recent research 
by feminist anthropologists and historians of religion illustrate 
small portions of the process, and lead Ub to ask new questions. For 
example, Silverblatt's study of gender ideology among the Inca of 
Peru points out that males and females had distinct religious and 
political organizations which ran parallel to one another. These 
parallel bases were available to be cauked one above the other as 
conquest and state-formation proceeded. Leavitt's work on km and 
class in Sumer and Crete comparer a city-state in which women 
held primary pul/uL po\vcr, with one in which men did. Gailey's 
investigation of recent state-making on a Polynesian island 
illuminates the role that elite women played. Chiefly women 
participated in downgrading female work amongst the masses. At 
the same time, they lost their chiefly perogatives, once shared with 
their men, as inheritance of power became male. Such studies are 
merely pieces of a much larger puzzle whose dimensions we are 
only beginning to outline.^ It would be most inappropriate to draw 
any conclusions about the effects of state formation on gender 
hierarchy at this point. Yet these scattered attempts suggest that a 
devaluation of the roles, activities, and ideologies associated with 
women is part and parcel of the process. Engels' depiction will 
require updating and modification, especially as we learn more 
about the ideological apparatus involved in state formation. But it 
is unlikely to be jettisoned; his basic insight into the intimate link 
between the destruction of kin-based organization and changes in 
the status of the masses of women appears quite sound. 

The two processes which I have outlined — the origins of modern 
capitalism and of stau formation—can be seen simultaneously at 
work in an arena which has served as a brutal laboratory for testing 
their effects. 1 am referring to Western penetration of those parts 
of the globe we now euphemistically call the Third World. As the 
Western world, already organized into expansionary capitalist 
states, colonized and imperialized other continents, it imposed its 



own complex forms of hierarchy on the peoples it dominated. 
Within relatively short periods, radical reorderings of indigenous 
societies occurred which enforced both patriarchal and class 
organization. We can learn much about the origins of gender 
hierarchy (as well as other forms of hierarchy) from examining the 
confrontation between the West and the areas it has penetrated. 
But we must exercise a great deal of caution; each of the encounters 
was particular to its time and place. We cannot subsume the vast 
diversity exhibited by human culture in the Americas, in Africa, in 
Asia durii g the rise of the West under one single, simple model of 
precapitalist society. Each cultural a^ea had its own forms of 
polity, economy, religious and gender u.ganization. The unique 
patterns of each culture conditioned resistance, acceptance, or 
modification cT Western hierarchies in what became colonized 
countries. Furthermore, we cannot assume that the enforced 
penetration of colonization simply replicated the processes of state 
stratification and capitalist accumulation in Western civilization. It 
obviously did not.® Nonetheless, certain patterns surrounding the 
imposition of gender hierarchy occur in many different studies of 
colonial penetration and rule. The experience of women in Africa, 
Asia, and the Americas does suggest that colonizing powers, 
already male-dominant, rather effectively dismantled women's 
work organizations, social and political structures, religious and 
ritual roles. ^° The history of exactly how women's particular forms 
of social organization were undercut and their status demoted 
suggests two lines of inquiry. Firstly, the process of demobilizing 
women occurs when essentially parallel forms of organization 
between women and men are subsumed into one, and that one is 
male. Leadership roles and activities formerly associated with rnen 
are legitimated, while those associated with women are devaluated 
or obliterated.^^ Van Allen's work (1972) concerning the political 
associations of Igbo women that were frozen out by British 
colonvlism is a perfect exampb. Secondly, the colonial cases 
sugge that precapitalist, prestate societies are organized into 
gender parallels, themselves stemming from social relations of 
production surrounding division of labor by sex.^^ If such forms 
of gender organization exist, under what conditions are they used 
not only to differentiate males and females, but also to rank them? 
Under what conditions were precolonial parallel forms granted 
different status? 



It is the question of ranking— the assignment of greater valuation 
and status to some groups or individuals—which we pose in 
examing the third nexus in the search for origins. When we explore 
the qualities of life in original society we are asking questions which 
are essentially reflexive, which allow us to examine the range of 
human potentialities. Anthropology contemplates and analyzes the 
primitive. It is joined in this endeavor by a range of perspectives 
similarly afflicted with a curiosity about original society— these 
range from philosophy to evolutional biology, primatology and 
archaeology. De:pending on the path chosen to approach it, the 
examination of the primitive (in the sense of original) provides 
philosophical space to project the questions: was life in the 
Paleolithic nasty, brutish and short, especially for women; did 
societies now described as egalitarian by anthropologists exhibit 
realms of autonomy for the two sexes, or were gender-ranking 
systems part of the human experience from the dawn of culture? 
The data-base for our generalizations has many layers. It includes 
arrays of stones and bones beyond the scope of this presentation, 
but certainly of relevance to the questions being posed. It also 
includes the evidence provided by nonhurnan primates— monkey: 
and apes— and the rich and varied experiences of contemporary 
foraging populations, who often serve as projective tests for our 
notions about our common human past.^^ 

In the last ten years, primatological investigations have revised 
our understanding of the biosocial background from which the 
human species emerged. Increasingly, the image of an aggressive, 
baboon-like heritage fraught with clear-cut male dominance is 
being rejected. Recent field reports reveal that the behavior of 
nonhuman primates exhibits a great range of possibilities. There 
are variations in sex roles within species such as baboons, and 
social organization ranges from monogamous gibbon **families" 
to female-centered monkey-troops, to complex, multi-structured 
chimpanzee hordes. Male-female behavior patterns are part of 
larger, flexible behavioral repertoires which must be viewed in 
evolutionary and ecological perspective. Amongst all the 
nonhuman primates, learning and the openness of response 
patterns are clearly of prime importance. We have also become 
sensitized to the crucial role of the mother-infant dyad in group 
socialization and continuity, in status hierarchy, and in collective 
movements.^* **Male aggression/' once believed to be innate and ? 



virtually universal millstone around our evolutionary necks, is 
increasingly seen as contextual. There are varying patterns of 
success in acquiring resources for males and females, for young and 
for old, depending on whether we are examining sexual access, 
procuring of food, sleeping niches, protection froni predators, etc. 
Similarly, female nonhuman primates have become the subject of 
more complex understandings. As they are increasingly viewed as 
active, core members of their groups, we female human primates 
acquire a new perspective on what the origin of society may have 
been like. 

Contemporary foraging populations (those which hunt and 
gather, rather than produce food) provide fascinating glimpses of 
very basic human social organization. A word of caution is in 
order, however: our use of such groups as models for original 
human society is based on a set of evolutionary and ecological 
assumptions concerning the social structures in which people lived 
for millions of years prior to sedentarization and food-production 
in human history. We cannot literally interpret the lives of existent 
foraging peoples — such as the Kung bushmen of the Kalahari, the 
Eskimos, the Australian Aboriginal groups — each with its own 
concrete, specific history, as exhibits and replications of processes 
we speculate to have occurred in the Paleolithic. Neither can we 
assume that the decapitated, decimated, marginalized existence of 
peoples pushed to the edges of their environment by thousands of 
years of penetration will exhibit **originar' characteristics. Yet on 
the basis of what these hunting-gathering groups that resist total 
capitulation or assimilation suggest, we can gain scruc insights into 
the social organization of small-scale, nn.obile kin-based society, 
-'^hich is what we assume original society was like. Further revisions 
in our view of original society will be based on recent investigations 
of the division of labor by sex and social relations surrounding it, 
family roles, and child socialization among foragers.** These 
studies tentatively suggest that there is a great deal more flexibility 
to gender roles than we had formerly assumed; that women's 
collective work processes and the social relations built up around 
them are different from, but not necessarily considered inferior to, 
those of men. Such studies do not banish the issue of male 
dominance in primitive society. They do, however, suggest that 
Western, male-dominant assumptions which anthropologists bring 
to their field studies must first be examined before we project our 



notions of female subordination onto the primitive world/* They 
also suggest new questions about the bases on which gender 
differentiations and possibly hierarchies might be built. Ritual roles 
and resources, labor differences and exchanges are currently the 
subject of renewed investigation.'^ When and where female 
subordination is found in research informed by female-sensitized 
perspectives, then its cultural bases and origins (rather than our 
own Western, fetishized notion of universal biological origins to 
sex hierarchy) must be investigated. Among feminist anthropolo- 
gists debate continues on the meaning of primitive evidence 
regarding the questions surrounding women's symbolic and 
material conditions.'® The work of dismantling the male-biased 
intellectual edifice which has structured our understandings is 
is under way, and feminist research is already yielding revisions. 

Such revisions have already sent some researchers back to the 
question of matriarchy. Mainstream anthropology has long 
rejected the notion of matriarchal origins in human society. 
Renewed interest in matriarchy has been voiced from within, and 
especially from without, the academy. A few recent works have 
attempted to specify and examine data pertaining to female-ruled 
societies.'' Most new studies take another tack, however. They 
focus on the meaning of the concept of matriarchy itself, for it 
represents a projection of women's power, or powerlessness, in 
society. Some studies trace the sexual politics of the matriarchy 
debates, pointing out that the presumed control of matriarchs was 
linked to denigrating conditions of primitivity. "Progress" out of 
the primitive condition could then conveniently be linked to the 
decline of female power. '° This concern with our original 
condition — matriarchal or not — reveals a great deal about new 
sensitivities within social science to issues raised by feminism. 
Perspectives stated in the debates lead to exploration of gender 
differences formerly glossed over. Women's real and symbolic 
value as reproducers is being critically examined, as are models 
concerning the origin and distribution of power.'' Finally, it is not 
simply the evidence we unearth concerning how gender systems 
originate and operate that is important; it is the collective 
consciousness we construct in building such new understandings 
that will prove valuable as we struggle to change our own present. 

Unrr^v^eling the origins of sexual hierarchies is a huge 
undertaking. Each feministresearcher must daily perform the same 



sort of "archaeology of knowledge" in her field that I'm 
illustrating for my own. Like me, she must often run into 
theoretical muddles and gaps of information which make the 
process a frustrating one. It will easily be decades before our ranks 
will yield work that can do for us what a Marx, a Weber, a Freud, a 
Levi-Strauss have done for their areas. Yet in a sense, the point of 
my remarks is that we are not aiming to replicate that process by 
which individual men, stunningly well-educated as scholars, and 
totally confident of their mission as critical thinkers, redefine a 
tradition, and give it new direction. What we are now attem;/ting is 
something at once less grand and more consciously collective. For 
if we are children of the patriarchs of our respective intellectual 
traditions, we are also sisters in a women's movement which 
struggles to define new forms for social process in research and in 
action. In our role as sisters we aim for a shared, more reciprocal 
notion of engaged research. We sense our responsibility to resist the 
compartmentalized nature of the contemporary academy, and to 
use the genuine, substantive nature of our inquiry to bring us 
together. In the process, we cannot help but use the question of the 
origins of gender hierarchy to focus our collective and necessarily 
transdisciplinary work to better inform and support all 
contributions toward dismantling that structure of inequality. 



This paper was written in continuous discussion with Hester 
Eisenstein and Elaine H. Pagels. The energy and enthusiasm 
generated in the process provided the collective base on which it 
rests. Many friends added comments and criticisms to an earlier 
draft of the paper. Special thanks are due to Norma Diamond, 
Susan Harding, Heidi Hartmann, Randy Reiter, Gayle Rubin and 
Deborah Jay Stearns. 

1. Rubin (1975), pp. 157-8. 

2. The activist tradition, mainly Marxist, is briefly reviewed in 
Rowbotham (1972). See also Leacock (1972), Bebel (1971) and 
Kollantai (1972, 1975). Overviews of the history of capitalism, 
including some of its effects on women and the .^amily, are found in 
Thompson (1963), Hill (1964), Clark (1920) and Pinchbeck (1930). 
Most histories focus on changes in the workplace and the 
household, to the exclusion of other settings in which relevant 
social arrangements existed, such as the neighborhood, religious 
groups, and schools. However, recent feminist history has begun to 
rectify this situation. See, e.g., the papers from the Berkshire 
Women's History Conferences printed annually in Feminist 

3. Reviews of the history of the family literature can be found in 
Berkner (1973) and Lasch (1975). The History of Childhood 
Quarterly carries ongoing debates on the subject, and many 
journals (e.g.. Journal of Marriage and the Family and Past and 
^resent) have carried special issues on it in recent years. 

4. Shorter (1973, 1975); Scott and Tilly (1975); Scott, Tilly and 
Cohen (1976). 

5. The overt and concealed relations between home and workplace 
have been the subject of much recent analysis. The Wages for 
Housework rriovcment has generated a great deal of debate 
concerning the value of the work women perform in the household. 
See, for example, Dallacosta (1972), Edmond and Fleming (1975), 
Zaretsky (1975), Secombe (1973), and Gardiner (1975). Relations 
between capitalism and patriarchy are analyzed in Hartmann 
(1974, 1976). The recent history of housework under capitalism is 
discussed by Ehrenreich and English (1975). 

6. For descriptions of work and home conditions in whi'^h female 
subservience predates capitalism, see Pinchbeck (1930), Scott and 
Tilly (1975), Davis (1974), and Ryan (1975). While not all of these 
authors draw similar conclusions, I consider their collective data 
strong support for labeling the pattern a precapitalist one. 



7. For a review of theories of the origin of the state, see Service 
(1975). See also Leacock (1972), and Sabloff and Lamberg- 
Karlovsky (1974). 

8. Ground-breaking work was done in this area by Leacock (1972). 
Manuscripts by Gailey, Leavitt (1976a), Muller, and Silverblatt 
contribute specific case histories. A recently organized study group 
of New York-based feminist anthropologists is currently working 
on this issue. 

9. Some Marxist scholars have used a perspective which focuses on 
the direct links between the de^'elopment of the capitalist West and 
the underdevelopment of the areas it colonized. See for example 
Williams (1944), Rodney (1972), Frank (1969), Cockcroft, Frank 
and Johnson (1972), and Emmanuel (1972). 

10. The systematic limitation and destruction of women's work 
patterns is discussed in Boserup (1970) and in Mintz (1971). Social 
and political demobilizatio:? is analyzed in Nash (1975), Van Allen 
(1972, 1974), and Bossen (1973). Religious and ritual exclusion is 
suggested in Remy (1975), Kolden (1974), and Barkow (1972). 

11 . In addition to Van Allen (1972), see Leacock and Nash (1975) 
for examples. 

12. This position is implicit in many of the studies cited above. It is 
cogently argued in a recent paper by Siskind (1976). 

13. The decision to focus on the nonhuman primates and the 
foraging peoples is one of perspective and methodology. Other 
issues of crucial importance, such as the meaning systems of myth 
and symbol as they refer to women, are not included in this brief 
discussion. I feel it is important to examine the social relations of 
gender as they are built out of relations of production as a base. 
Questions of belief and ideology are better addressed once they 
have been situated in interaction with that base. 

14. For recent work on primate data which includes the role of 
females and a less stereotyped understanding of sex relations in 
primate social organization, see Leavitt (1975), Leibowitz (1975), 
Lancaster (1975), and Rowell (1972). 

15. Articles which specifically address bias in reporting and new 
data concerning females in foraging societies include Slocum 
(1975), Leibowitz and Raymond, Draper (1975), Leavitt (1975), 
and Leavitt, Weatherford and Sykes (1975). 

16. Leacock's work on ethnohistorical materials surrounding 
North American Indians illustrates changes which can be traced to 
the primitive-civilized encounter and its analysis. These changes 
include both male dominance, and male bias in reporting 



dominance (1975, 1976). The issue of colonialist perspective in 
general is analyzed in Asad (1973) and Diamond (1974). 

17. See for example Rosaldo and Collier (1975) on hunting and 
sexual exchanges, and Siskind (1976) on kinship and the division of 
labor by sex. 

18. The questions raised by the women's movement have 
stimulated productive work among feminist anthropologists. 
Collections such as Rosaldo and Lamphere (1974), Matthiasson 
(1974), Reiter (1975), and Leavitt (1976) include a range of 
perspectives. Some of the authors in these volumes argue for 
universal male dominance, at least in the symbolic realm, while 
others claim that the primitive world provided autonomy for both 
genders. All contribute to our tool-kit of ways to think about the 
problem of female subordination. 

19. Reed (1975) is the most recent exair.ijlc, Leavitt (1976a) 
analyzes the archaeological data available for Creic, described as 

20. See Fee (1973), Bamberger (1974), and Webster (1975). 

21. See for example Rubin (1975), Orlner (1972), Chodorow 
(1974), and Stack e( al. (1975). 


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Socialist Revolution 2,3:13, 14, 15. 



Elaine H, Pagels 

Whoever knows Western religious tradition knows in whose 
image its God is made— the God who is characterized as King, 
Lord, Master, Judge, and Father. Unlike many of his 
contemporaries among the deities of the ancient Near East, the 
God of Israel shares his power with no female divinity, nor is he the 
divine husband or lover of any.^ He scarcely can be characterized 
in any but masculine epithets. ^ Indeed, this absence of feminine 
imagery for God marks Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as a 
striking contrast to the world's religious traditions from Egypt, 
Babylonia, Greece, and Rome to Africa, Polynesia, India, and 
North America, which abound in feminine symbolism. 

Theologians—Jewish, Christian, and Islamic— are quick to point 
out that God is not to be considered in sexual terms at all. Yet the 
actual language they use daily in worship and prayer conveys a 
different message. Who, raised in any of these traditions, has 
escaped the distinct impression that God is to be thought of in 
exclusively masculine terms? It is true that Catholics revere Mary as 
the mother of Jesus. She cannot, however, be identified as divine in 
her own right: if she is ''mother of God," she is not "God the 
Mother" on an equal footing with God the Father! 

Christians recognize that their tradition has added the trinitarian 
terms to the Jewish description of God. Yet of the three divine 
''Persons/' remarkably enough, two— the Father and Son— are 
described in masculine terms, and the third— the Spirit— conveys 
the sexlessness of the Greek neuter term pneuma. Whoever 
investigates the early development of Christianity— the field called 

Elaine //. Pagels is Chairperson of the Barnard College 
Department of Religion. 



-patristics," that is, study of **the fathers of the church"-may 
not be surprised by the passage that concludes the recently 
discovered, secret Gospel of Thomas\ 

Simon Peter said to them [the disciples]: Let Mary be ex- 
cluded from among us, for she is a woman, and not worthy 
of the Life. Jesus said: Behold, I will take Mary, and make 
her a male, so that she may become a living spirit, resemblmg 
you males. For I tell you truly, that every female who makes 
herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven,^ 
Strange as it sounds, this only states explicitly what religious 
rhetoric often assumes: that the men form the legitimate body of 
the community, while women participate insofar as their identity is 
assimilated to that of the men. 

Further exploration of the discoveries which mclude this 
Gospel—di series of papyrus texts, hidden in large clay jars nearly 
1600 years ago— discloses some astonishing evidence of feminine 
images of God. Scholars investigating these texts have identified 
them as Jewish and Christian gnostic texts which were attacked and 
condemned as ''heretical" as early as 100-150 A.D. Currently, 
certain scholars are asking the critical question: what distinguishes 
these ''heterodox" texts from those that are called "orthodox?" 

One distinguishing mark, at any rate, is clear: these gnostic texts, 
by contrast with orthodox ones, abound in sexual sym- 
bolism—and, in particular, in feminine images of God. 
One might expect, then, that they would resemble the archaic 
pagan traditions of the Mother Goddess, but, on the contrary, here 
the language is specifically Christian, unmistakably related to a 
Jewish heritage. Furthermore, while we have long known that early 
Christians diverge from Israel's strict monism by describing God in 
the "three persons^' of the Trinity, now we can see how certain 
gnostic Christians diverged even more radically from Jewish 
tradition. Instead of the God who is monistic and masculine, 
certain of these texts describe God as a dyadic being, who consists 
of both masculine and feminine elements. 

One such group, for example, claims to have received secret 
tradition from Jesus through James, and, significantly, through 
Mary Magdalene/ Members of this group offer prayer to both the 
divine Father and Mother: 

From Thee, Father, and through Thee, Mother, the two 
immortal names. Parents of the divine bemg, and thou, 
dweller in heaven, mankind of the mighty name. . . 



Other lexis indicale lhal iheir aulhors had pondered ihe queslion 
to whom a single, masculine God could have proposed, **Lel us 
make mankind in our image, afler our likeness" (Genesis 1.26). 
Since ihe Genesis accounl goes on lo say lhal mankind was creaied 
'*male and female'' (1.27), some concluded, apparently, lhal ihe 
God in whose image we are creaied likewise musl be bolh masculine 
and femininc--"bolh Father and Mother. 

How do these sources characterize the divine Mother? The 
answer cannot be a simple one, since the texts are extraordinarily 
diverse. We may, however, suggest three primary characterizations. 

First, a certain poet and teacher, Valentinus, begins with the 
premise that God is essentially indescribable. He suggests, 
however, that what is divine can be imagined as a Dyad consisting 
of two elements: one he calls the Ineffable, the Source, Primal 
Father; the other, the Silence, the Mother of all things.* Valentinus 
reasons, apparently, that Silence is the appropriate complement of 
what is Ineffable. He may take his clue from the different gender of 
the Greek words when he suggests that these two constitute the 
masculine and feminine components within the divine being. 
Followers of Valentinus invoke this feminine power, whom they 
also call Grace (in Greek, the feminine term charis) in their own 
private celebration of the Christian eucharist: they call her **divine, 
eternal Grace, She who is before all things."^ At other times they 
pray to her for protection as the Mother, **Thou enthroned with 
God, eternal, mystical Silence."® Marcus, a disciple of Valentinus, 
says that **when Moses began his account of creation, he 
mentioned the Mother of all things at the very beginning, when he 
said, *In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,' for 
the word 'beginning' (in Greek, the feminine arche) refers to the 
Divine Mother."" 

What do these gnostics have in mind when they describe God in 
this way? Different writers disagree: some say that the divine is to 
be considered masculofeminine— the **great male-female power." 
Others insist that the terms are meant only as metaphors: that in 
reality, the divine is neither masculine nor feminine. A third group 
suggests that one can describe the Source of all things in either 
masculine or feminine terms, depending on which aspect one 
intends to stress. ^° Proponents of these diverse views agree, 
apparently, that the divine is to be understood as consisting of a 
harmonious, dynamic relationship of opposites— a concept that 



may be akin lo the eastern view of yin and yang, but remains 
antithetical to orthodox Judaism and Christianity. 

Secondly, the divine Mother is often described as Holy Spirit. 
One source, the Secret Book of John, relates how John, the brother 
of Jesus, went out after the crucifixion with "great grief," and, in 
his words, 

As I was grieving.., the heavens were opened, and the whole 
creation shone with an unearthly light, and the universe was 
shaken, I was afraid, and behold.,, a unity in three forms ap- 
peared to me, and I marvelled: how can a unity have three 

**John" continues to recount this mystical vision of the Trinity: 

// said to me, "John, John, why do you doubt, or why do you 
fear?. ..I am the One who is with you always: I am the Father;! 
am the Mother; I am the Son, ^ 
Here "John" offers an interpretation of the Trinity—as Father, 
Mother, and Son. After a moment of shock, one may recognize this 
as an obvious idea — perhaps as a more natural and spontaneous 
symbol than the more familiar Trinity. The Greek terminology, 
which includes the neuter term for Spirit (pneuma), virtually 
requires that the third "Person" of the Trinity be asexual. The 
author of the Secret Book, on the other hand, derives the term 
instead from the Hebrew term for Spirit, Ruah — a feminine 
word — and thus concludes, logically enough, that the feminine 
"Person" conjoined with Father and Son must be the Mother! The 
text goes on to describe the Spirit as 

The image of the invisible virginal perfect spirit.,, She became 
the mother of the all, for she existed before them all, the 
mother-father [metropater], 

The same author interprets Genesis 1.2 ("the Spirit of God moved 
upon the fact of the deep") by saying that "the Mother then was 
moved... "^^ The apocryphal Gospel to the Hebrews likewise 
relates that Jesus speaks of "my Mother, the Spirit."'^ According 
to the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus contrasts his earthly parents, Mary 
and Joseph, with his divine Father — the Father of Truth — and his 
divine Mother, the Holy Spirit. The author interprets a puzzling 
saying from the New Testament ("whoever does not hate his father 
and mother is not worthy of me") by adding that Jesus went on to 

Whoever does not love his father and his mother in my way 



cannot be my discipk;/or my [earthly] mother [gave me death] 
but my true Mother gave me the Life. 
Another secre; -nostic gospel, the Gospel of Phillip, declares that 
whoever becomes a Christian ^ gains both a father and a 
mother."^** The author refers explicitly to the feminine Hebrew 
term to describe the Spirit as "Mother of many."*' 

if these sources suggest :hat the Spirit constitutes the maternal 
element of the Trinity, the Gospel of Phillip makes an equally 
radical suggestion concerning the doctrine that later develops as the 
virgin birth. Here again the Spirit is praised as both Mother and 
Virgin, the counterpart— and vionsort— of the Heavenly Father. * *If 
i may utter a mystery, the Fa:her of the all united with the Virgin 
who came down"'®— that is, with the Spirit. Yet because this 
process is to be understood symbolically, not literally, the Spirit 
remains a virgin! The autho? explains that **for this reason, Christ 
was 'born of a virgin'"— that is, of the Spirit, his divine Mother. 
But the author ridicules these "Miteral-minded" Christians who 
mistakenly refer virgin birth to Mary, Jesus' earthly mother, as if 
she conceived apart from Joseph. "Such persons do not know what 
they are saying; for when did a female ever impregnate a 
female?"'* Instead, it refers to the mysterious union of the two 
divine powers, the Father of the All with the Holy Spirit: this is 
disclosed to be the secret meaning of the virgin birth. 

Certain gnostics suggest a third characterization of God as 
Mother, besides the eternal, mystical Silence, and besides the Holy 
Spirit: she also appears as Wisdom. Here again the Greek feminine 
term wisdom, like the term for spirit, Ruah, translates a Hebrew 
feminine term, Hokhmah. Early interpreters had pondered the 
meaning of, for example. Proverbs: "God made the world in 
Wisdom." Could Wisdom be the feminine power in which God's 
c-eation is "conceived?" In such passages, at any rate. Wisdom 
beirs two connotations: first, she bestows the Spirit that makes 
mankind wise; second, she is a creative power. One gnostic source 
calls her the "first universal creator."" Another says that God the 
Father was speaking to he. when he proposed to "make mankind in 
Jur image. "2^ One mystical writing, the Great Announcement, 
explains the Genesis account in terms of the 

9ne power that is above and below, self -generating, 
self-discovering, its own mother; its own father; its own sister; 
its own spouse; its own daughter; its own son: Father, 
Mother, unity. Root of all things.^^ 



The same author explains the mystical meaning of the Garden of 
Eden: this, he says, symbolizes the womb. 
Scripture teaches us that this is what is meant when Isaiah 
says, *7 am he that formed thee in thy mother's womb" 
[Isaiah 44.2], The Garden of Eden, then, is Moses\ symbolic 
term for the womb, and Eden the placenta, and the river which 
comes out of Eden the navel, which nourishes the foetus. , . " 
This teacher claims that the Exodus, consequently, symbolizes the 
exodus from the womb, **and the crossing of the Red Sea, they say, 
refers to the blood." He adds that evidence for this view comes 
directly from **the cry of the newborn" which he says is a 
spontaneous cry of praise for **the glory of the primal being, in 
which all the powers above are in harmonious embrace."^* 

At this point we may ask for what reasons Christian tradition 
(since about 150 A.D.) systematically has excluded such feminine 
images of God. Every one of the texts Tve been citing— secret 
**gospels," revelations, mystical teachings— are among those 
rejected from the select list of 27 that now constitute the **New 
Testament" collection. Certainly gnostic Christians revered and 
read these writings, such as the Gospel of Thomas, along with the 
gospels of Mark, John, Luke, and Matthew. Nevertheless, without 
exception, these writings were condemned as **hercticar' by ti.ose 
who called themselves **orthodox" (literally, "straight-thinking") 
Christians. By around the year 200 A.D., virtually all the feminine 
images for God had disappeared from what we know as 
**orthodox" Christian tradition. The figure of God became 
exclusively the God who is described in masculine terms (and, you 
note, in authoritarian terms) as God of Israel, Father, Master, 
King, Lord, and Judge. 

Why were gnostic Christians condemned as **heretics," and why 
was their dyadic conception of God labelled "heresy?" The 
gnostics themselves asked this question, and pondered it among 
themselves. Some concluded that the God of Israel himself initiated 
the polemics against gnostic teaching that his followers carry out in 
his name. For, they argue, he is a derivative, merely instrumental 
power, whom the divine Mother had created to administer the 
universe. Yet he himself remained ignorant of the power of 
Wisdom, his own Mother. 

They say that the creator believed that he created everything by 
himself but that, in reality, he had made them because his 
Mother, Wisdom, infused him with energy, and had given him 



her ideas. But he was unamire that the ideas he used came 
from her; He was even ignorant of his own Mother, 

Followers of Valentinus suggest that his Mother herself encouraged 
him to think that he was acting autonomously in creating the 
world; but, one teacher adds, "It was because he was foolish and 
ignorant of his Mother that he said, *I am God; there is none beside 

Others attribute to him a more sinister motive: jealousy. 
According to the Secret Book of John, 

he said, . . '7 am a jealous God, and there is no other God but 
me, " But uttering this he indicated to the angels,,, that there 
was another God, For if Ihere were no other, of whom could 
he be jealous? Then the Mother began to be distressed, . . ^' 

A third gnostic teacher describes the Lord's shock, terror, and 
anxiety **when he discovered that he was not the God of the 
universe." Gradually his shock and fear gave way to wonder, and 
finally he came to welcome the teaching about Wisdom: **This is 
the meaning of the saying, *The fear of the Lord is the beginning of 

All of these are, of course, mythical explanations. Are there any 
clues to the actual, historical reasons that these gnostic writings 
were suppressed? This question is an extremely difficult one, for it 
raises a much larger issue: the question of how (i.e., by what means 
and what criteria) certain ideas, including those expressed in the 
texts cited above, came to be classified as heretical and others as 
orthodox by the beginning of the third century. Since the research 
is still in its early stages, this question is far from solved. 

Yet we may find one clue if we ask: are there any practical 
consequences that orthodox Christians derive from their 
exclusively masculine and authoritarian conception of God? I 
would suggest that the answer is^ey. Early Christian sources clearly 
indicate what the traditional conception of God implies for social 
and political practice. These implications did not escape the apostle 
Paul; he argues from his conception of God that the authority of 
men over women is nothing less than divinely ordained. Paul 
explains that as God has authority over Christ, so the man has 
authority over the woman. For what reason? To answer this, Paul 
cites the creation story of Genesis 2, which describes how Adam, 
the male, was made first, and then Eve emerged from his body, 
created **to be a helper appropriate for him" (Genesis 2.20). (Note 



that this story strikingly reverses the actual birth process by 
transferring the power of giving birth from the female to the male.) 
From this account, Paul concludes that 

The man is the image and glory of God, but the woman is the 
glory of the man. For man is not from woman, but woman 
from man; and besides, the man was not created for the 
woman's sake, but the woman for the sake of the man.^^ 

So, Paul concludes, it is the same Lord God who created Adam 
first who authorizes the social pattern of male domination. 

Only two generations later, other Christians extend this social 
pattern into an argument for the political structure of Christian 
communities. The majority of Christian communities, following 
the lead of the church in Rome, adopted as canonical the 
pseudo-Pauline letter of Timothy, which offers the following 
extreme interpretation of Paul's views: 

Let a woman learn in silence with full submissiveness. I do not 
allow any woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; 
she is to remain silent, for [note Genesis 2!] Adam was formed 
first, and then Eve; and besides, Adam was net deceived, but 
the 'woman was utterly seduced and came into sin, . . 
The political structure that emerged from this first and second 
century orthodox tradition claimed— as one might expect— to have 
the authority of God, that familiar figure of the Lord, King, 
Father, Ruler, and Judge. It is clearly no coincidence that the 
orthodox insist that he could be represented only by men. 
Furthern?.ore, this occurs V the very time (c. 140-200 A.D.) when 
certain churches are beginn. .g to develop a hierarchical structure 
of organization. At the head of this hierarchy stands the bishop, 
described in orthodox sources as God's representative: now the 
bishop is called Lord, King, Father, Ruler and Judge on earth **in 
God's place." Below him stand the priests— all men, of 
course— and, third, the deacons, a third **order" in this hierarchy, 
which is, by this time, limited exclusively to men. Our sources 
suggest, then, a striking correlation between the exclusively 
masculine image of God, the social structure of male domination, 
and the political structure of the community. 

What about the gnostics who describe God in both masculine 
and feminine terms, as a dyadic entity? Does the introduction of 
feminine symbolism for God bear any direct implications for the 
understanding of social and political relationships between men 



aiid women? Here again, the answer is yes. When gnostic teachers 
recount human creation, they usually choose to refer not to Genesis 
2 but to the creation account of Genesis 1.26ff. (**and God said, let 
us make mankind in our image, after our image and likeness. 
the image of God he created him: male and female he created 
them.") Rabbis in Talmudic times (perhaps influenced by the stoiy 
in Plato's Symposium) had suggested that Genesis 1.26-27 narrates 
an androgynous creation. Rabbi Samuel Nachman explained from 
this passage that 

when (he Holy One.,, first created mankind, he created him 
with two sets of genitals, four arms and legs, back to back; 
then he split Adam in two, and made two backs, one on each 

Certain gnostic teachers took the suggestion of an androgynous 
Adam even farther. The gnostic Marcus concludes from Genesis 1 
not only that ''humankind, which was formed in the image and 
likeness of God, was masculofeminine," but also that the God in 
whose image we are made must also be dyadic." Another teacher 
explains that the Father is speaking to God the Mother when he 
says "Let us make humankind." A third teacher says that since 
God is a "bisexual Power, what comes into being from that 
power, that is, humanity, being one, is discovered to be two.. .a 
bisexual entity."" 

Do the gnostics draw social and political consequences from their 
theory that human nature consists of two equal elements, male and 
female? How could equality between men and women be enacted as 
a political principle in Christian communities (especially when these 
groups meet as enclaves in societies primarily ruled by men)? The 
question is a difficult one; we have little evidence of gnostic 
practice. Nevertheless, one orthodox bishop, Irenaeus, does tell us 
how one group of gnostics, the group led by Marcus, solved this 
problem. Irenaeus says that "whenever these gnostics gather 
together, they always draw lots."" Whoever draws a certain lot 
thereby is designated as the speaker for that meeting. Another 
member, also chosen by lot, is designated as reader of that day's 
scripture; a third is bishop; others draw lots to serve as the priests 
who administer the ritual worship. This does not mean that these 
matters are left to chance: on the contrary, the members believe 
that they are left to God, whose spirit guides the way the lots will 



You can see immediately what this means in practice. The 
community cannot divide along sexual lines, nor between 
hierarchical orders of **clergy'' or *Maity." Being a priest or bishop 
is not, for the gnostic, a ''position" or an **office"; instead, it is a 
function, a role, that any member, man or woman, slave or 
slaveowner, Jew or Gentile, may assume as the lots are cast. What 
happens when the meeting ends? No one ''is" a bishop; no one 
**is" a priest. Instead, one member has served as bishop for that 
session; others have served as priests, as speaker and so on. But 
when they reassemble they will draw lots again, and others will take 
on these tasks. 

Irenaeus, an orthodox bishop, notes with dismay the results of 
this practice: he complains that women in particular are attracted 
to this heretical circle. Marcus' group offers prayers to the Mother 
in her aspects as Silence, Grace, and Wisdom; women priests serve 
the eucharist together with men; and women also speak as 
prophets, uttering to the whole community wliat ''the Spirit" 
reveals to t^em. The orthodox bishop says that **by means of such 
words and practices these teachers have led astray many women, 
even in our own district [the Rhone valley]!"" Professing himself 
to be at a loss to understand the attraction this group holds he 
offers only one explanation: that Marcus himself is a diabolically 
successful seducer, a magician who compounds special aphrodisi- 
acs to ''deceive, victimize, and defile" these "many foolish 
women!" Whether his accusation has any factual basis is difficult, 
probably impossible, to ascertain. Nevertheless the historian notes 
that accusations of sexual license are a stoci.-in-trade of polemical 
arguments; and that the bishop professes to be scandalized by the 
licentiousness of a mystical ritual, in which the participant becomes 
"joined" and "united" to the Savior." Certainly Irenaeus refuses 
to admit the possibility that the group might attract 
Christians— especially women— for sound and comprehensible 

Tertullian, another "father of the church," attacks a heretical 
group led by "that viper"— a woman teacher who led a 
congregation in North Africa." Tertullian denounces another 
group for sending a woman evangelist as its first representative to 
Rome." Tertullian expresses his outrage at the behavior of 
these heretical women — how audacious they are! They have no 
modesty: they are bold enough to teach, to engage r; argu- 



ment, to enact exorcismSy to undertake healings, and, it may 
be, even to baptize 

which would mean that they are bishops as well! Tertullian is quite 
aware of the egalitariamsm of the gnostic groups which provoke his 
special wrath: 

How frivoiouSy how worldly, how merely human it is, without 
seriousness, without any discipline, without authority! No one 
cares who is a newcomer, or who is a priest, or even a woman: 
they all have access equally; they all listen equally; they all 
pray equally., .All of them are arrogant; all offer you 

Tertullian takes this as clear evidence for the breakdown of 
authority— the male authority, sanctioned by God, as Tertullian 
understands Him. 

Another **heretic," Marcion, had, in fact, scandalized his 
**orthodox'' contemporaries by appointing women on an equal 
basis with men as priests and bishops among his congregations. The 
teacher Marcillina also travelled to Rome to represent the 
Carpocratian group, an esoteric circle that claimed to have received 
secret teaching from Mary, Salome, and Marth^i.*^ Among the 
Montanists, a radical prophetic circle, the prophet Philumene was 
reported to have hired a male secretary to transcribe her inspired 

Other secret texts, such as the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and 
the Wisdom of Faithy suggest that the activity of such women 
leaders was challenged by the orthodox communities who regarded 
Peter as their spokesman. The Gospel of Mary relates that Mary 
offered to encourage the disciples after the crucifixion by telling 
them what the Lord had told her privately, when they were alone 
together. Peter, furious at the suggestion, asks, "Did he then talk 
secretly with a woman» instead of to us? Are we to go and learn 
from her nov/l Did he love her more than us?" Mary, distressed at 
his rage, asks Peter, "What do you think? Do you think I made this 
up in my hciart? Do you think I am lying about the Lord?'* Levi 
breaks in at this point to mediate the dispute: "Peter, you are 
always irascible. You object to the woman as our enemies do. 
Surely the Lord knew her very well, and indeed, he loved her more 
than us..." Then he anH the others invite Mary to teach them what 
she knows. *^ Another argument between Peter and Mary occurs in 
Wisdom of Faith. Peter complains that Mary is dominating the 



conversation, even to the point of displacing the rightful priority of 
Peter himself and his brethren; he asks Jesus to silence her— a 
request that earns him a quick rebuke. Later, however, Mary 
admits to Jesus that she hardly dares to speak freely with him, 
because **Peter makes me hesitate: I am afraid of him, because he 
hates the female race." Jesus replies then that whoever receives 
inspiration from the Spirit is divinely ordained to speak, whether 
man or woman. 

Among a wide range of gnostic groups, then, women are revered 
as prophets, act as teachers, travelling evangelists, healers, priests, 
and even bishops. The evidence suggests that in some of these 
groups they played leading roles from which they were excluded in 
the orthodox churches, at least by 150-200 A.D. 

One might be tempted to conclude that these gnostic groups, 
together with their conception of God and human nature, were 
suppressed only because of their positive attitude toward women. 
But such an assumption would be a mistake— a hasty and simplistic 
reading of the evidence. In the first place, the development of 
orthodox Christian doctrine is far from wholly negative in its 
attitude toward women. A poleniically feminist reading of that 
history is bound to be extremely one-sided. Secondly, many other 
elements of the gnostic sources diverge in fundamental ways from 
what came to be accepted as orthodox Christian teaching. To 
examine this process in detail would requi a much more extensive 
discussion than is possible here. Nevertheless, the evidence 
indicates that two very different patterns of sexual attitudes 
emerged in orthodox and gnostic circles. 

In simplest form, gnostic theologians correlate their description 
of God in both masculine and feminine terms with a 
complementary description of human nature. Most often they refer 
to the creation account of Genesis 1, which suggests an equal (or 
even androgynous) creation of mankind. This conception carries 
the principle of equahty between men and women into the practical 
social and political structures of gnostic communities. But the 
othodox pattern is strikingly different. Orthodox theologians, who 
describe God in exclusively masculine terms, often go on to 
describe from Genesis 2 how Adam, understood as male, was 
created first, and Eve only later, from Adam, and for his 
fulfillment. We have seen how this view, Uke the gnostic one, 



translates into social and political practice: by the late second 
century, orthodox Chrstians came to accept the domination of men 
over women as the proper, God-given order— not only for the 
human race, but also for the Christian churches. 

A remarkable exception to this pattern occurs in the writings of 
one revered **father of the church," Clement of Alexandria. 
Clement identifies himself as orthodox, although he knows 
member^ of gnostic groups and their writings well; some scholars 
suggest that he was himself a gnostic initiate. Yet his writings 
demonstrate how all three elements of what we have called the 
"gnostic pattern" could be worked into fully **orthodox" 
teaching. First, Clement can describe God not only in masculine 
but also in feminine terms. In one rather startling passage he writes, 
Christ alone feeds us with the milk of the Father, supplying us 
children with the milk of his maternal love. For the Word is 
everything to us, both father and mother; and we are truly 
happy who suck at his breasts, 
Second, when we investigate how Clement describes human nature, 
we may not be surprised to find him insist that **men and women 
share equally in perfection, and are to receive the same instruction 
and discipline. For the name 'humanity' is common to both men 
and women; and for us *in Christ there is neither male nor 
female.'"^* What about the third element— the active participa- 
tion of uomen with men in the Christian community? It is 
remarkable, but clearly no accident, that Clement offers a 
list— unique in orthodox tradition— of women whose achievements 
he admires. They range from ancient examples, like Judith, the 
assassin who destroyed Israel's enemy, to Queen Esther, who 
rescued her people from genocide, as well as others who took 
radical political stands. He goes on to speak of Themisto, the 
Epicurean philosopher, and Arignole, the historian; he names 
many other women philosophers including two who studied with 
Plato and one trained by Socrates. At one point he breaks out in 

h hat shall I say? Did not Theano the Pythagoran make such 
progress in philosophy that when a man, staring at her, said, 
''Your arm is beautiful, " she replied, ''Yes, but it is not on 
public display, 

Clement concludes his list with famous women poets, philosophers, 
and painters. The work of Clenent, then, who taught in Egypt 



before the lines of orthodoxy and heresy were rigidly drawn (c. 
160-180 A.D,), demonstrates how the principle of human equality 
could be incorporated even into orthodox Christian teaching. 

Nevertheless, the majority of communities in the west, led by the 
Roman community, succeeded in excluding feminine symbolism 
from the description of God; in defining humanity in 
predominantly masculine language; and in establishing the 
socio-political domination of a hierarchy of male bishops, priests, 
and deacons, over women, and, in fact, over the great majority of 
all Christian believers. 

How are we to account for this? The question deserves 
investigation which this discussion can only initiate. For example, 
one would need to consider how (and for what reasons) the 
zealously patriarchical traditions of Israel were adopted by the 
Roman (and other) Christian communities, and with what results. 
Such research might disclose how social and cultural forces 
converged to suppress feminine symbolism and women's 
participation from much of western Christian tradition. Given such 
research, the history of religion in the West could never be told in 
the same way again. 

4 4 



This inquiry was developed first as a short talk for The Conference 
on Women at Bryn Mawr arranged by Clare Wofford. The author 
gratefully acknowledges the contributions of Cyril Richardson, 
Wayne Meeks, Nelle Morton, Morton Smith, and Rayna R. Reiter 
to its present formulation. A version of this paper is scheduled for 
publication in Signs, 

1 . Where the God of Israel is characterized as husband and lover in 
the Old Testament, his spouse is described as the community of 
Israel (i.e., Isaiah 50.1; 54.1-8; Jeremiah 2.2-3; 20-25; 3.1-20; 
Hosea M, 14) or as the land of Israel (cf. Is. 62.1-5). 

2. One may note several exceptions to this rule: Deuteronomy 
32.11; Hos. 11.1; Is. 66.12 ff.; Numbers 11.12. 

3. L 'Evangile Selon Thomas (hereafter cited as ET), A. 
Guillaumont, H. Ch. Puech, G. Quispel, W. Till, Yassah 
*Abd-al-Masih, eds. (Paris, 1959), Log. 113-114. 

4. HippOlytus, Refutationis Omnium Haeresium (hereafter cited 
as ReJ), L. Dunker, F. Schneidewin, eds. (Gottingen, 1859), 5.7. 

5. Re/5,6, 

6. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses (hereafter cited as AH), W. H. 
Harvey, ed. (Cambridge, 1857), I. 11.1. 

7. AH 1.13.2. 

8. AH 1.13.6. 

9. AH 1.18.2. 

10. AH 1.11.5-21.1.3; Ref 6,29, 

11. Apocryphon Johannis (hereafter cited as AJ), S, Giversen, ed. 
(Copenhagen, 1963), 47.20-48.14. 

12. AJ 52.34-53.6. 

13. AJ 61.13-14. 

14. Origen, Commentary on John, 2,12; Homiiy on Jeremiah, 

15. ET 101. The text of this passage is badly damaged; I follow 
here the reconstruction of Prof. G. MacRae of the Harvard 
Divinity School. 

16. L'EvQngile Selon Phiiiipe (hereafter cited as EP), J. E. 
Menard, ed. (Paris, 1967), Log. 6. 

17. EP, Log. 36. 

18. EP, Log. 82. 

19. EP, Log. 17. ^ 

20. Extraitsde Theodote, F. Sagnard, ed.. Sources Chretiennes 23 

(Paris, 1948). 



21. AH 1.30.6. 

22. Ref6M. 

23. /?e/6.14. 

24. AH 1.14.7-8. 

25. REF 6.33. 

26. AH 1.5.4; /?e/6.33. 

27. AJ 61.8-14. 

28. Refl. 26. 

29. 1 Corinthians 11.7-9. 

30. 2 Timothy 2.1 M4. 

31. Genesis Rabba 8.1, cf. 17.6. Cf. also I^'viticus Rabba 14. For 
an excellent discussion of androgyny, see W. Meeks, *The Image 
of the Androgyne: Some Uses of a Symbol in Earliest 
Christianity/* History of Religions 13:3 (1974), 165-208. 

32. AH 1.18.2. 

33. Ref6.\%. 

34. AH 1.14.1-6. 

35. AH 1.13.2-^5. 

36. AH 1.13.2-5. 

37. De Baptismo (hereafter cited as DB) 1. I am grateful to Cyril 
Richardson for calling my attention to this passage and to the three 
subsequent ones. 

38. DB 42.5. 

39. Tertullian, De Praescriptione Hereticorum (hereafter cited as 
DP), 41. 

40. AH 1.25.6. 

41. DP 6.30. 

42. The Gospel According to Mary, BG 8502, 1.7.1-19.5; G. 
Macrae, ed., introd., and transl., unpublished manuscript. 

43. Pistis Sophia, Carl Schmidt, ed. (Leipzig, 1925), 36 (57), 71 

44. Clement A!exandrinus, Paidegogos (hereafter cited as Paid.), 
O. Stahlin, ed. (Leipzig, 1905), L6. 

45. Paid. 1.4. 

46. Paid. 1.19, 

In the afternoon session of The Scholar and The Feminist III, 
the following seminars were presented (for further information, 
please contact the seminar leaders): 

1 . The Female Threat : Patriarchal Ideology in the Odyssey 
MaryR. Lefkomtz, Wellesley College 

Joan Peters, The City College, CUNY 

2. Jung After Feminism: A Perspective from the Psychology 
of Religion 

Naomi Golr^ . rg, Yale University 

3. The Politics of Wagelessness: Women, Housework, and 
the Wages Due 

Silvia Federici, New York Wages for Housework Committee 

4. Anger As Inspiration and Inhib-aon: American Women 
Writers, 1 850 to the Present 

Ann Douglas, Columbia University 

5. Origins of Women as Sex-Objects in the Visual Arts 
Nanette Salomon, Queens College, CUNY, 
andFordham University 

6. The Development of Sex Differences as the Deve! poient 
of Power Differences 

RhodaK. Unger, Montclair State College 

7. The Origins of Modem Marriage 

Heidi Hartmann, The New School for Social Research 
Ellen Ross, Connecticut College 

8. Beyond the Mother Tongue: Repression and Expression of 
Sensuous Experience in Women's Poetic Language 
Barbaras. Miller, Barnard College 

Agueda Pizzaro, Brooklyn College, CUNY 

9. **Biological" Origins: Avoiding the Mire of "Genetic Destiny'' 
Ethel Tobach, American Museum of Natural History 

10. The Medieval Church: What Happened to Women? 
Suzanne F. Wemple, Barnard College 

1 1 The Physical Abuse of Women: The Force of Patriarchy 
Nadia Telsey, York College, CUNY 

12. The Perspective of the Black Woman Writer in 
American Literature 

Joan Hazzjard, The City College, CUNY 

13. Origins and Aims of Socialist Feminism 
Barbara Ehrenreich 

Elizabeth E\^n, Old Westbury, SUNY