History of the theories of matriarchy

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The history of matriarchy theories begins with legal historical and ethnological contributions from the 18th and 19th centuries. In the course of the history of ideas and research, ideas of matriarchy were formulated and taken up against the background of a wide variety of ideologies , such as Marxism , National Socialism , the cosmics and different currents such as feminism , the life reform movement and the New Age .

The subject of matriarchal theories is the emergence and spread of matrilineal , matrilocal and matriarchal, but also of patriarchal societies as well as their historical and current characteristics. Research areas mainly from history , archeology , ethnology and sociology are involved .

Part of many theories of matriarchy is the idea that a phase of matriarchy existed in a wide variety of cultures, which most early researchers also understood as a participation in power or a predominant social rule by women. This phase was then replaced by a patriarchy that currently exists almost globally. How this upheaval occurred is also attempted in general in many theories. The idea of ​​a " great goddess " was often represented. The development and inclusion of matriarchal ideas are the subject of studies on the history of reception, the history of ideas, the history of science and the sociology of science. The ancient historian Elke Hartmann summarized this in 2004: "The matriarchy always serves as a projection surface to reflect current ideas of the gender order."


Following on from legal historical and ethnological studies of the 19th century, the “matriarchy” is assumed in the context of historical materialism as a general and necessary stage in societies of prehistory and early history . In the twentieth century, matriarchal theories were part of the Marxist-oriented cultural studies . Enthusiastic elements were combined with historical facts in order to obtain an alternative to the patriarchal structure of western industrial societies. The patriarchy was made largely responsible for social conditions and moral and psychological attitudes and compulsions and the matriarchy was interpreted positively as a utopian original condition of society or derogatory as a retrograde cultural stage.

The thesis of the existence of a general prehistoric matriarchal cultural stage or at least a cult of a great goddess was represented relatively frequently from the end of the 19th to the middle of the 20th century, especially in English prehistory and archeology. German-speaking prehistorians had sought proximity to National Socialism in the 1930s . An outstanding representative was, for example, Oswald Menghin , who with his book The World History of the Stone Age 1931 represented the opinion that especially the Neolithic cultures were shaped by a matriarchy. As a result, research in prehistory and early history in the Federal Republic of Germany exercised a decided reluctance to develop theory after 1945.

While the use of the concept of matriarchy is rejected as unsuitable for research into historical and current social systems and their inherent power and gender relations in all relevant specialist disciplines, it has been appropriated by representatives of the essentialist branches of the second wave of feminism since the late 1970s .

There is extensive research consensus that “matriarchy as matriarchal rule cannot be historically proven as a mirror image of patriarchy”. In university science, numerous hypotheses and methods are rejected, especially from classics of matriarchy research, such as historical speculation based solely on the interpretation of myths . Equally controversial is the application of ethnological and anthropological data to the evaluation of archaeological finds and comparative assumptions of ethnic groups existing today with prehistoric cultures, a process of cultural evolutionism of the 19th century. The dictionary history notes laconically on the keyword matriarchy : "The designation is misleading and the view that the M [atriarchat] is a transitional stage in human development is scientifically untenable."

Johann Jakob Bachofen

The history of matriarchal theories begins with the Basel lawyer and antiquarian Johann Jakob Bachofen (1815–1887). Bachofen used the word gynecocracy (ancient Greek "women's rule"), which was common in antiquity, alternating with mother right . Bachofen did not use the term matriarchy in his writings. His main work, Das Mutterrecht: An examination of the gynecocracy of the old world according to its religious and legal nature , published in 1861, was one of the most influential books of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Similar views and findings about the supremacy of women, as inspired by Bachofen, were already found in the works of earlier authors, but Bachofen was the first to create a theory of human and cultural development with Das Mutterrecht . During his lifetime, largely ignored and largely rejected by science, was made after his death, especially in Germany, a wide and diverse reception of authors of different world views, including socialism , Nazism , anti-fascism , feminism and anti-feminism , as well as various authors of scientific disciplines, such as sociology and Psychology , as well as in literature and art. Through the women's movement in the 1970s, his ideas about mother rights found their way into general knowledge. In 1967 a selection of Bachofen's Das Mutterrecht appeared for the first time in English translation and was received by feminist authors in the USA.

Bachofen was convinced that understanding the social position of women was essential for understanding culture in every epoch. And he presupposed: "The history of the human race is determined by the battle of the sexes." Based on ancient myths that he interpreted intuitively, reports mainly by classical Roman and Greek ethnographers such as Herodotus, as well as archaeological grave symbolism, Bachofen believed to reconstruct the origin of all religion and culture can. His image of pre-classical antiquity was shaped by the central position of women. Bachofen understood the myth as "an immediate historical revelation". Mythological traditions therefore function as realistic, albeit distorted, images of past worlds that only need to be read correctly. For example, he saw the transition from mother right to father right in the Oresty of Aeschylus .

Bachofen's approach is evolutionist . He combined the idea of ​​evolution with traditional gender symbols:

“There material bondage, here spiritual development; there unconscious regularity, here individualism; there devotion to nature, here elevation over it "

“[T] he mother right comes from below, is of a chthonic nature and of chthonic origin; the father right, on the other hand, comes from above, is of a heavenly nature and of heavenly origin. "

According to Elke Hartmann, Bachofen described his model of human development in four stages, while other authors such as Peter Davies assume a three-stage model. There is scientific agreement that for Bachofen gynecocracy was not the characteristic of a cultural people, but of a cultural level and the decisive step in cultural development was the transition from mother right to father right. The stages of the development model are:

  • Hetaerism or unregulated mother right
  • Amazonism (intermediate level)
  • Gynecocracy or orderly mother right
  • Father right or paternity.

The first stage, which he located in the Orient, was “a time of irregular hetarianism ”, characterized by the lack of private property, the daily struggle for survival and family lack of ties with free mating; Fatherhood was unknown. "The woman ( Aphrodite , Helena ) is the always ready womb, the masculine principle lies in fertilization." Nevertheless, according to Bachofen, motherhood or mother law already applied (corresponds to matrilinearity). The men would have ruled because of their physical superiority, whereas the women eventually revolted. By virtue of their religious and moral qualities as well as using warlike means (amazonism) they created the orderly gynecocracy with marital monogamy, the “heyday of humanity”, whose protagonists are Hera and Demeter ; he cited Lycia as a geographical example .

Bachofen saw a dark side of the gynecocracy embodied in the Amazon ( Artemis , Penthesilea ), since her androgynous character deviated from his ideas of the female sexual character with subsequent motherhood. According to Bachofen, however, the Amazon longs to be overcome by the man:

“In the victorious hero the woman recognizes the higher strength and beauty of the man. It is happy to bow to this. Tired of its Amazonian hero size [...] it willingly pays homage to the man who gives him back his natural destiny. Let it recognize that [...] love and fertilization is its destiny. "

Features of the Bachofen gynecocracy are:

  • Social primacy of mother; sole right of inheritance of the daughters; the mother-brother has a special position; Right of women to choose their own partner.
  • Matricide is the greatest crime and cannot be atoned for.
  • In religion, goddesses, based on the one earth goddess, in whose veneration he assumed the origin of every religion, and their priestesses assume a dominant position.
  • Economically, there is a highly developed agriculture that is jointly operated by women. Men hunt and are often absent.
  • Politically, there is general equality and freedom; women are at the head of the state, with certain tasks being delegated to men.

Bachofen used the term gynecocracy, but for him this did not imply the rule of women over men. It was only the exaggeration of the gynecocracy that finally led to the end of mother law and the victory of father law, which was preceded by a phase of struggle between Amazons and patriarchal Hellenic and Roman heroes. "The woman overstimulated her power, and the men succeeded in gaining supremacy."

According to Bachofen, this transition happened in accordance with cosmic laws. For him, the historical stages of development also correspond to a cosmological ladder, which he links with religious ascriptions. He considers the “mystery of the chthonic religion” to be the central cult of hetaerism and gynecocracy, in which the moon appears as a symbolic representation of the feminine, which applies to the sun as a symbolic representation of the masculine in paternal law.

“In the gynecocracy, the night rules the day, which it gives birth to, like mother over son; in the father's right day and night [...] Earthly development struggles until it realizes the cosmic model of the heavenly bodies in full truth. This last goal is only achieved with the rule of man over woman, the sun over the moon. "

Bachofen considered the cosmic victory of the “Apollonian” male spirit over the material-feminine nature and the solution from the cult of the earth mothers through the worship of a transcendent heavenly father god to be an elementary progress in civilization: “So the transition from mother right to father right also falls the higher religious development of mankind. ”For Bachofen, however, this development was not a final stage; he saw history pervaded by ever new conflicts between these two antagonistic principles. Father law therefore also means that men have to develop social and legal structures in order to assert their rights as fathers, since women are always certain of their motherhood.

Bachofen saw his theory confirmed by the results of anthropological work in the 1860s and 1870s (John Ferguson McLennan, Lewis Henry Morgan). However , he rejected the methods of positivism and source criticism that emerged in German-language historical studies at the beginning of the 19th century , as the aim was to think about the ancient world and its ideas instead of getting to the bottom of the truth of the sources.


  • Elke Hartmann praised Bachofen as pointing the way: he had worked out the great importance of religion for ancient societies, his work was "[...] the forerunner of both a comparative and a transdisciplinary approach that is often sought after today."
  • The cultural scientist Peter Davies emphasizes that it was not important for the later reception of Bachofen whether his model is historically true, but that he described women for the first time as creators of culture and religion.
  • The religious scholar Susanne Lanwerd and the historian Felix Wiedemann point out that through Bachofen the gender relationship was historicized for the first time and the natural condition of the patriarchal family order was negated. He had anything but a criticism of the patriarchal gender model in mind, but rather intended to legitimize it.
  • For the feminist philosopher Helga Laugsch , Bachofen's theory for equality between women and men, a reflection of their supposedly natural and historical roles, is of no use, since he linked his “mother right” with a clear rejection of aspirations for emancipation.
  • The cultural scientist Meret Fehlmann states that all three types of women in Bachofen's step model correspond to male ideas: the hetaera - a sexual ideal, the sexually available willing woman; the mother - the sexually neutralized woman who fulfills her so-called natural destiny; and the man-hostile Amazon - the sexual fear image.
  • Stefanie von Schnurbein is of the opinion that Bachofen could not be regarded as the discoverer of matriarchy, but as the discoverer of matriarchal myths.

Before 1914

Lewis Henry Morgan

Lewis Henry Morgan is considered the founder of kinship anthropology , because he recognized that kinship is the central organizational system in traditional societies. His studies, along with those of Lafitau, form the basis of research on the Iroquois Indian tribe . Like Johann Jakob Bachofen and John Ferguson McLennan, he is one of the most important evolutionists of the 19th century. And like that, Morgan had a law degree. Meret Fehlmann explains this fact with the fact that the law gave a first understanding of kinship structures, which at the same time conveyed analytical categories and techniques. Cultural evolutionism assumed that all human groups go through the same stages of development and concluded that one can compare living cultures with past cultures, and that original peoples can be seen as representatives of a primitive state. Evolutionism has often been interpreted as the expression of an unbroken belief in progress, but it was just as interested in the remnants of earlier stages of development in contemporary civilization.

Morgan grew up near an Iroquois reservation , did field research, was friends with Seneca chief Ely Samuel Parker , and supported Native American activities throughout his life. This distinguished him from most of the anthropologists of his time, who only evaluated reports from travelers and missionaries. In 1860, Morgan began an extraordinary research project: he sent out questionnaires to missionaries, colonial officials and traders all over the world, the answers to which were supposed to provide information on kinship systems. Based on this background and his own investigation into the origin and internal relationship of the Iroquois tribes, he classified basic types of relationship levels and tried to draw up a comprehensive history of human development, from savagery to barbarism to civilization. He published his theory in his most famous work, Ancient Society (1877). Like Bachofen, Morgan adopted a general and original maternal right and was convinced that matrilineal and matrilocal social forms, such as he had found them with the Iroquois, had advantages for women because they stayed in their familiar surroundings and planted the land together during the transition to patrilinearity with monogamy with negative consequences for the social position of women.

"[...] I have referred to the unfavorable influence upon the position of women which was produced by a chance of descent from the female line to the male, and by the rise of the monogamian family, which [...] placed the wife and mother in a single house and separated her from the gentile kindered. "

As the only evolutionist, he advocated an improvement in the family with regard to gender equality. Morgan's work had a decisive influence on the Marxist reception of Bachofen.

Friedrich Engels

Friedrich Engels ' work The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884) is considered a classic of Marxist theory. Engels knew the writings of JJ Bachofen, but followed LH Morgan in his arguments to a large extent and, like him, assumed an original mother right. Engels explained the transition to patriarchy with the increasing social division of labor and labor productivity through the introduction of agriculture, animal husbandry and metalworking. Because a social surplus product could now be generated for the first time, there was an increased accumulation of private property and the men had an incentive to bequeath this exclusively to their biological descendants. This made the determination of biological paternity more important for them. Therefore, from their point of view, women's sexuality had to be restricted and controlled. The gender-specific division of labor, which allegedly assigned the men more prestigious jobs, had also strengthened their position. In contrast to Bachofen, Engels criticized the consequences for women.

“The overthrow of mother right was the world historical defeat of the female sex. The man also took control of the house, the woman was degraded, enslaved, a slave to his lust and a mere tool for producing children. This humiliated position of women, as it is particularly evident among the Greeks of the heroic and even more of the classical period, has gradually been glossed over and hyped, and has in places been dressed in a milder form; it is by no means eliminated. "

According to Engels, mother law was an important epoch in human history , but increasing labor productivity inevitably led to status differences between men and women, to the emergence of the state and classes . Real equality between the sexes can only exist under socialism or communism .

Engel's theory of the emergence of patriarchy belongs to the inventory of Marxist authors, e. B. Ernst Bornemann ( Das Patriarchat , 1975) The Marxist way of interpreting prehistory was also noticeable in Soviet archeology : the paleolithic Venus figures discovered in the 1920s and 30s were considered evidence of an early communist matriarchy.

The cultural scientist Peter Davies takes the view that feminist authors since the 1970s have read Bachofen through the glasses of Engel's work The Origin of the Family .

Reception by August Bebel

August Bebel , co-founder of the German social democracy , added the chapter The Woman in the Past , in which he describes Engels , to his work Die Frau und der Sozialismus (first edition 1879), from the ninth edition (1891) , a classic of socialist and feminist literature 'Attached to the thesis of a maternal origin of human society.

“The validity of the mother right meant communism, equality for all; the emergence of father rights meant domination of private property and at the same time it meant oppression and servitude of women. "

Bebel saw the limitation of women to their biological function as the main cause of their oppression; He criticized marriage in capitalist society as the product of a way of thinking that was fixated on acquisition and property. He did not see his vision of the ' golden age ' realized in a return to mother law, but in the abolition of capitalist society:

"The full emancipation of women and their equality with men is one of the goals of our cultural development [...] Class rule has come to an end forever, but with it also the rule of men over women."

It was not until the 1920s that socialist thinkers began to combine Marxism with matriarchy (e.g. Maria and Paul Krische , Wilhelm Reich ).


National Socialist and other ethnic authors

Numerous völkisch and among these also National Socialist authors dealt with the matriarchy. One of the early speakers was Mathilde Ludendorff , the wife of the general and later National Socialist Erich Ludendorff . She represented a philosophy of life that was based on an original gynecocracy . She viewed woman as the sustainer of the people and was convinced that the man's will to rule had damaged her being ( The Woman and His Determination , 1917). Ludendorff propagated a "species-appropriate belief in God", since Jews and Christians wanted to weaken the German people with their religion and would have contributed to its "mental degeneration and neglect" ( Deutscher Gottesglaube , 1932). The National Socialist philosophy professor Ernst Bergmann , a member of the NSDAP since 1930, presented a völkisch vision of matriarchy in his book Knowledge Spirit and Mother Spirit (1931), which he linked with ideas of racial hygiene. In it he called for a return to maternal thinking, since male rule had led to degeneration and endangered the continued existence of the Nordic race, and he wished for a return to the goddesses, the original bringer of culture. In his ideal matriarchal state women should have a "natural duty to motherhood". This was contradicted by Sophie (Pia) Rogge-Börner ( Return to Mother Law?, 1932), who sought to merge demands under women's rights with racist and nationalist ideas. Leonore Kühn , who was involved in the German National People's Party and who had published the party magazine Die Deutschnationale Frau , attached central importance to the matriarchal theory of JJ Bachofen. Her work Magna Mater (1928) dealt with the alleged longings of people at the time for the Great Mother , for whose downfall she blamed the men, and was devoted to the concrete development of female spirituality for Aryan women, e.g. B. in rites along the seasons. The völkisch thinker Hermann Wirth , co-founder of the SSForschungsgemeinschaft Deutsches Ahnenerbe” , saw evidence of an ancient manic matriarchy in the Ura-Lind chronicle ( The holy original of humanity . 1932).

Belonging to mother or father law was increasingly interpreted as an expression of the " Aryan race " in the 1930s . Among other things, the racial theorist Hans FK Günther, in his then popular paper Rassekunde des Deutschen Volkes (1922), took the view that "in all European customs there had been a development from original mother law to later father law". Father right, however, characterizes the "Nordic race". National Socialist circles therefore largely rejected the matriarchy idea, according to Alfred Rosenberg , the leading ideologue of National Socialism. In his work The Myth of the 20th Century (1930), he rejected Bachofen’s matriarchal theory because it undermined the 'folkish', masculinist view of Germanic history.

James George Frazer

The Scottish classicist Sir James George Frazer (1854-1941) postulated in his book The Golden Bough ( The Golden Bough. 1922), a religious-ritual pattern of all religious development. This discovery had an extraordinary effect at the time and resulted in Sigmund Freud , Malinowski , Wolfgang Paalen and Robert Graves calling themselves Frazer's students.

Robert Stephen Briffault

With his social anthropological work The Mothers. A Matriarchal Theory of Social Origins (3 vols. London 1927) the British doctor Robert Stephen Briffault (1876–1948) joined the cultural evolutionists of the late 19th century (Bachofen, Morgan). He was convinced of the existence of a universal matriarchy before patriarchy. In order to clarify his view, he often argued using analogy from the animal kingdom, e.g. B. with the predominance of matrilocality in most animal species. He attributed a central influence on the development of mankind to women: it is mainly the female instincts of socialization that have contributed to the development of the very needy men.

"The male child is born cruel. [...] Only social education can develop a tender disposition in him to any degree. "

Briffault placed himself in the tradition of the bourgeois classes of his time, according to which the socialization of the male being was one of the primary tasks of the female sex. Women have also played a formative role in religion. Like Morgan, he adopted the cult of ancestors as the origin of religion. Since the original society was matriarchal or at least matrilineal, the religious supremacy of women was expressed in the veneration of an ancestor.

"Often each tribe or clan has its primal mother. All good and bad luck comes from the mothers; it is they who, when angry, send deseases and death. "

Bronislaw Malinowski

The effects of matrilineal family constellations, in which the mother brother takes on the role of the father, on the gender ratio and sexual behavior among the Trobriand islanders in Melanesia was described by the ethnologist Bronisław Malinowski as a result of his field research . He thought it had been proven that there are non-Western societies in which sexual oppression was unknown and thus criticized Freud's Oedipus theory . His main works, which were received in the socialist and feminist matriarchal course, include the mother-right family and Oedipus complex (1924) and The Sexual Life of the Wild in Northwest Melanesia (1929).

“These natives are matrilineal [...] That means that the boy or girl belongs to the family, to the clan, to the community of the mother. [...] Above all, the husband is not considered the father of the children [...] physiologically he has nothing to do with their birth [...] The wife's behavior towards the husband is by no means submissive. It has its own property and its own private and public sphere of influence. "

Wilhelm Reich

Based on Malinowski, Wilhelm Reich (1897–1957) describes and criticizes in his book Der Einbruch der Sexualmoral (1932) what he calls “incest taboo”. There is also a dichotomy between, on the one hand, the free, needs-oriented love life of the Trobriandic youth, which corresponds to matriarchal traditions, and, on the other hand, a subsequent monogamous compulsion to marry and a subsequent “widow hypocrisy” for the Trobriandic wife, which indicates a break in patriarchal principles.

Bertha Eckstein servant

In 1932, the Austrian writer and travel journalist Bertha Eckstein-Diener (1874–1948) wrote a universal female cultural history under the male pseudonym Sir Galahad with her book Mothers and Amazons . It was the first of its kind to attempt to summarize all publications since Bachofen . Like Bachofen, Sir Galahad also mainly referred to the sources of mythology and to travel reports from early ethnologists.

Wilhelm Schmidt

Wilhelm Schmidt (1868–1954) was a missionary ethnologist with a Catholic background who formulated a theory of migration: Matriarchies emerged as hacking cultures in back India and then spread over the whole earth as hacking and arable farming cultures by water.

Robert Graves

The poet Robert Graves saw the main features of an original matriarchal cultural epoch in the entire Mediterranean and the Near East in the myth of an immortal and almighty triune goddess and her hero-king, which, according to Frazer, he formed as a ritual pattern ( Greek mythology. 1955) and “as narrative shorthand ritual games “understood. Frazer already has the theme of the hero as the companion of the great goddess and as her son-lover, who embodies ephemeral nature and who is regularly ritually killed in the form of a priest or sacred king.

Graves also addressed the symbolization of the goddess in the three phases of the moon. ( The White Goddess. 1948). According to Graves, the “white goddess” is the goddess of poetry or the muse. In doing so, he relied on the ancient scholar Jane Ellen Harrison , who had associated the goddess with the muses and similar figures of Greek mythology . Graves understood poetry as an "invocation of the goddess" and was convinced that it was an ancient cult that could be traced back to the Paleolithic. For Graves, the goddess he imagined acted as a source of inspiration for men, not of empowerment for women.

"But the woman is not a poet: she is either a muse or she is nothing."

Reception in spiritual feminism and in contemporary 'matriarchy research'

Since the late 1970s, followers of a movement that unites feminism and a spirituality geared towards goddesses have been using Graves' interpretations of myths and his ideas of a matriarchal past, without his rigid gender image (“Man does, woman is”), which is for contemporary women by no means provided equal rights to reject ideology-critical. Graves' attribution of the phases of the moon to the goddess in its three aspects white, red and black, which should also embody the age of the woman, have been a defining characteristic of spiritual or esoteric feminism since the 1980s. In feminist matriarchy research, it was combined with the Frazer hero theme to form a goddess-hero structure as the alleged basic pattern of religions of historical matriarchy.

James Mellaart

Reconstruction of an interior of Çatalhöyük in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations , Ankara

Matriarchy authors interpreted an archaeological find from 1958, which became known through the excavation findings and interpretations of its discoverer, the British archaeologist James Mellaart , as evidence of the existence of prehistoric matriarchies: the Neolithic settlement of Çatalhöyük in Anatolia . In doing so, they referred to Mellaart's book Çatalhöyük, A Neolithic Town in Anatolia (1967), which, according to their own statements, was aimed at a broad audience and is considered to be little scientific due to the lack of evidence, and popularized it further. From 1961 to 1964, Mellaart excavated the southern area of ​​the hill of ruins. In his interpretation he sketched a picture of the Stone Age that deviated from the assumptions that had been valid until then . According to this, an exchange of knowledge, services and goods took place as early as the Paleolithic and the Paleolithic caves, rock shelters and open settlements were already showing sedentariness . The agricultural culture of Çatalhöyük, in which hunting and foraging also formed the basis of life, is, according to Mellaart's argument, derived from an Anatolian culture of the Upper Paleolithic and is possibly the link between hunters and a food-producing society, “which is the basis of our civilization Mellaart assumed matrilocalism in Çatalhöyük and a religion of the Great Goddess in her three forms (virgin, mother, old woman) with her dying and resurrecting companion - an idea that suggests the influence of Jane Ellen Harrison and Robert Graves. The cult was centrally determined by women.

"It is extremely likely that the cult of the goddess was mainly in the hands of women, even if the presence of male priests cannot be ruled out [...]"

Christian Sigrist

In 1967 the Marxist sociologist and ethnologist Christian Sigrist took up the question of the emergence of political rule in his book Regulated Anarchy . In his analysis on the basis of secondary literature on patrilineal societies in Africa from the mid-19th century onwards, he put forward the thesis that there are still segmentary societies (i.e. not politically organized by a central authority) , that is to say, societies that live without domination. This is not done out of naivety, but “as an expression of collective will”. At the same time, he rejected another assumption as a prejudice, which was also the basis of Engels' evolutionism : namely, that these societies are only without authority because there is no differentiation in all areas of life. Contrary to such a “primitivity thesis”, segmental societies would show a variety of social relationships. In contrast to the Marxist view, according to Sigrist's argument, there are no “internal” reasons for the emergence of political rule. The equilibrium in segmentary societies can only be shaken from the outside; B. when climatic disasters or predatory attacks occur. Only in exceptional cases could a charismatic leader come to power and enforce his orders by means of a coercive staff even against resistance.

Although Sigrist had not dealt with the topic of matriarchy, his research was received by matriarchy authors (Göttner-Abendroth, v. Werlhof). Heide Göttner-Abendroth describes matriarchal societies as “regulated anarchies” and also wants to explain the process of developing patriarchies with reference to Sigrist.

However, Sigrist's thesis explicitly presupposes patrilinearity. He had examined population groups with 30,000 to 900,000 people. Of such large groups in need of sophisticated social practices he had found exclusively patrilineal organizations in Africa. From this he concluded that matrilineal societies are not in a position “[...] to achieve the same level of political integration and an equally high level of military performance as patrilineal societies. Such services are only possible for matrilineal societies if central authorities are present. "

Since 1974

Marija Gimbutas

The archaeologist Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994) played a central role in popularizing the matriarchal idea from the mid-1970s. Her specialty was the archeology of southeastern Neolithic Europe, which she called Old Europe (she later applied this term to all of Europe). In 1956 she presented her Kurgan hypothesis as part of her excavations in Anatolia . With her book Gods and Goddesses of Old Europe , published in 1974, she devoted herself to the topics of religion and gender for the first time. According to Gimbutas, before the Kurganisation of Europe, people lived peacefully together in unfortified villages and towns. Women are said to have set the tone in social and religious matters under the aegis of a Great Goddess. Gimbutas paints a picture of a happy time before the patriarchy, which was forcibly spread by warlike, nomadic horsemen from the Russian steppe ("Kurgan people"). With her method, which she herself called archeomythology , Gimbutas wanted to fundamentally question the prevailing model of archeology , which is purely economically material. In her last two richly illustrated works, which were aimed at an interested lay audience, The Language of the Goddess (1989) and The Civilization of the Goddess (1991), she placed religion and rituals, customs, social structure, agriculture and art in the world of ancient Europe , which was accepted by the supporters of the matriarchal idea as an archaeological confirmation of a matriarchal prehistory. An essential aspect of her work is the ideal of the " Great Goddess " popular in the first half of the 20th century . Although Gimbutas did not describe the old European cultures as "matriarchal" (instead she used the new formation " matristic "), her research is received by numerous proponents of matriarchal theories.

In the 1980s, Gimbuta's work was viewed by supporters of a movement that unites feminism and a spirituality geared towards goddesses as "evidence that prehistoric matriarchal or matricentric societies had been overthrown by patriarchal conquest", for example in publications by Charlene Spretnak and Riane Eisler .

According to scientific consensus, there was of course no general matriarchy and also not the cult of the Great Mother in ancient Europe accepted by Gimbutas - even if books by Gimbutas “have led many less informed readers to consider these alleged ideas of mother goddesses / matriarchies as a question of faith and To assume factuality ”. The archaeologists Colin Renfrew and Lynn Meskell also emerged as critics of Marija Gimbutas' theses.

The Old Testament scholar Christl M. Maier states: “While Gimbutas' archaeological studies are mostly received with appreciation, their strongly generalizing interpretation of the old European and proto-Indo-European cultures and their religion is controversial in several respects: The fact that they are very different excavation finds in Central Asia is summarized under the heading of Kurgan culture and requires the domestication of the horse as a riding animal without further evidence ... In addition, Gimbutas' universal historical image of a replacement of matriarchal by patriarchal culture in the period from 4500–3000 BC is presented. BC in no way does justice to the variety of sites, settlement structures and phases of settlement. Archaeological finds and texts from the Middle East also contradict Gimbutas 'one-goddess thesis, as they testify to a multitude of deities at the beginning ... Gimbutas' thesis, which is at least partly based on excavation finds, was widely received in feminist matriarchy research, but further simplified to Image of the one goddess who encompasses all areas of life such as youth (virginity), motherhood (fertility) and old age (death). "

Ruth Tringham judges that Gimbutas basically "mystified" the interpretation process and presented her own conclusions as objective facts.

Feminist ideas of matriarchy since the second women's movement

In the course of the women's movement in the second half of the 20th century, the concept of matriarchy was adopted by groups belonging to the cultural or essentialist branch, while representatives of social feminism took a critical to negative attitude towards the idea of ​​matriarchy.

"The collective take up of the topic of 'matriarchy' started from around 1976 within the German-speaking women's movement, at the same time as the growing interest in magic, astrology, mysticism and esotericism."

- Sonja Distler

In the late 1960s and early 1970s women began to question the universality of the patriarchal social order. The leading question was whether there were or are cultures in which women were the creators of living conditions and how these societies look like in contrast to patriarchy . In this context, there is a feminist theory based on the thesis of gender difference . Accordingly, women and men are essentially different or have in fact been made different, and women as the other are not responsible for the violent course of history, so that they want and could create a different, non-violent world.

"They wanted to oppose a world full of injustice and violence with their own women's world."

- Cillie Rentmeister

A search for traces of positive evidence for the matriarchy in the past and present began. The ideas and concepts of the supporters of the matriarchy idea in relation to world views and utopias were influenced by the results and theories of the new feminist cultural history research, especially by American authors, as well as earlier publications of the matriarchal classics as well as an undifferentiated reference to literature from the ethnic and National Socialist milieu 1920s to 1940s. The feminist criticism within archeology of the androcentric patterns of interpretation ( male bias ) that were common up until the 1970s often led to a simple reversal in the reception of matriarchal supporters, a mechanism that now “gives women a general credit for the development of all cultural techniques”.

At the same time a feminist spirituality related to a modern goddess developed - initially in the USA - which arose from women's criticism of the male-dominated Christian and Jewish theology, the misogyny of their writings and the search for female images of God. In connection with the matriarchy idea and spiritual feminism, there are also eco-feminist designs and a positive re-evaluation of female biology, especially childbearing as a creative force in analogy to an earth with feminine connotations and generally maternal things . The spiritual feminists "are convinced of a worldwide, peaceful matriarchal cultural level, a golden age that has been forcibly replaced by the patriarchy [...]" and "understand their own fate as closely connected with that of the goddess / earth, they consider this connection as holy. "

Another aspect of feminist matriarchal ideas was the interpretation of witches as the last adherents of a religion of the 'Great Goddess', which was to be wiped out by "Christian lords and statesmen" in the early modern witch hunt. It was against this background that the American Starhawk in particular developed a witch religion that had a great influence on the ritual practice of spiritual feminism.

The most important authors of feminist matriarchal ideas and spirituality in the English-speaking world are: Carol P. Christ, Adrienne Rich , Merlin Stone, Elizabeth Gould Davis, Charlene Spretnak, Riane Eisler , Peggy Reeves Sanday; in German-speaking countries: Cäcilia Rentmeister (she is the only one who does not primarily associate a religious worldview with matriarchy and criticized a “certain matriarchal enthusiasm” and the “attempts to revive matriarchal rituals”), Heide Göttner-Abendroth , Gerda Weiler , Carola Meier-Seethaler, Christa Mulack .

At the end of the 1970s in the USA, the Jewish feminists and theologians Judith Plaskow and Annette Daum first drew attention to anti-Semitic and anti-Judaist tendencies in the writings of many representatives of spiritual feminism and feminist matriarchal ideas, according to which the Jews were responsible for the development of patriarchy and the 'death of the goddess 'are responsible (including Elizabeth Gould Davis, Merlin Stone, Gerda Lerner,). In Germany, the discussion began in the mid-1980s. Above all, the feminist, Protestant theologian Christa Mulack ( Die Fraulichkeit Gottes , 1983) and the matriarchy researchers Gerda Weiler ( I reject the wars in the country. The hidden matriarchy in the Old Testament , 1984) and Heide Göttner-Abendroth ( The Goddess and her Heros , 1980).

Most of the feminists criticized responded with the excuse that "these were attempts to discredit their beliefs [...] and their criticism of the patriarchy was misunderstood as anti-Semitism." Gerda Weiler was the only one to admit mistakes and revised hers in the third edition Book under the title Das Matriarchat im Alten Israel (1989) some of the anti-Jewish formulations, but stuck to the matriarchal thesis.

The subject of matriarchy played no role in the feminist theories and currents in Italy and France.

Merlin Stone

The American sculptress and art historian Merlin Stone postulated in her book When God Was a Woman (1976, German: As God Was a Woman , 1989) prehistoric religions as matriarchal and sketched an image of ancient cultures, including the Egyptian, as matriarchal paradises that of patriarchal Indo-Europeans had been destroyed. According to Stone based her ideas on Margaret Murray and Robert Graves, whose theses are now considered scientifically refuted.

She advocated the thesis that the Hebrew Levites were an Indo-European tribe who had forcibly replaced an alleged prehistoric matriarchy in Palestine with the patriarchy. According to Stone, the Indo-Europeans should be considered the inventors of the patriarchy, but the Jews (and then the Christians) were the main culprits for the downfall of the religion of the Great Goddess .

"Though the Indo-Europeans had initiated a great many changes, it was later the duty of every Hebrew and then of every Christ to suppress and destroy the worship of the female deity wherever it still existed."

Stone presented in her book including the thesis that Adolf Hitler had changed his surname from "Schickelgruber" to "Hitler" because he is so that the aura of Indo-Aryan Hittite (English hittite wanted to give) teacher. This claim is not only factually and linguistically incorrect, but also symptomatic of the pseudo-historical theses in Stone's work.

In the 1970s and 1980s, your book had a major influence on spiritual feminism and feminist ideas of matriarchy in the USA and (West) Germany.

Heide Göttner-Abendroth

From 1978 onwards, Heide Göttner-Abendroth , who describes herself as a matriarchy researcher, published a series of publications that claim to provide a methodology for researching matriarchy. Her book The Goddess and Her Heros (1980) and her subsequent three-volume main work Das Matriarchat (1989–2000) were widely received . In 1986 she founded the private Hagia Academy , which has since provided the framework for her free research activities as well as a ritual practice in which she “tries to re-establish the religion and the consciousness of the prehistoric matriarchy.” In the ethnological part of her work Das Matriarchat (Volume II , 1 and II, 2) she expanded her structural definition of matriarchy , which she presented, among other things, at the conferences she organized. Some of the indigenous authors who research their own ethnic groups and to whom Göttner-Abendroth refers appeared as speakers. The volumes on historical matriarchy and the emergence of patriarchy, which she had announced in 1985, have not yet appeared.

A joint publication by Heide Göttner-Abendroth, Claudia von Werlhof , Carola Meier-Seethaler, Christa Mulack and others interprets the weakening or abandonment of theories of a general matriarchy as an effect of the fact that matriarchy authors began to draw political conclusions from their assumptions and research results in the 1990s pull, while the strong women's movement in the 1970s and 80s had tended to decline.

This interpretation contradicts the fact that in the English-language prehistory and early history as well as in ethnology the matriarchal thesis was largely abandoned from the mid-1960s; it has not played a role in West German archeology since 1945. Meret Fehlmann points out that in spiritual feminism and in feminist matriarchy research, archaeological works were mostly received with a certain time lag, which therefore “no longer represented the latest scientific status […]”. The concept of matriarchy was largely rejected by feminist ethnologists as early as the mid-1970s.

Göttner-Abendroth's works are controversial: "In ethnology, anthropology, archeology and religious studies one is usually rather negative about their theory, since the existence of the matriarchy it describes cannot be proven with its method, [...]".

Hypotheses on the religion of historical matriarchies

Goddess-hero structure according to Göttner-Abendroth. Above: The moon symbolizes the three figures of the great goddess: girl, woman, old woman. Below: The sun represents the male hero (companion, son-lover) of the goddess. The blue background symbolizes the vastness of the cosmos, the sky, the sea, etc.

According to Göttner-Abendroth, the religion of the “historically developed matriarchates” of the Middle East and Europe was the cult of the Great Goddess , who appeared in three forms. However, it was not a matter of a transcendent deity outside the world, but the whole world was thought of as divine. In this sense, the cosmos - three-parted in the view of the ancient peoples - was presented as being completely permeated by female forces. Göttner-Abendroth claims to have obtained the “goddess-hero structure” as a model of this religion through analysis of myths, medieval epics and fairy tales, which she also understands as an expression of an earlier social practice.

  • In heaven "lives the bright, youthful, atmospheric goddess, embodied in the hunting girl."
  • The middle - land and sea - is the home of the woman goddess, "who with her erotic power makes earth and water, animals and people, land and sea fertile and thus sustains life."
  • “In the underworld lives the old goddess, the death goddess as an old woman, who dissolves all life in the abyss and at the same time lets it rise again from the depths. She is the mysterious deity of eternal doom and eternal return; it determines the astronomical cycles (setting and rise of the stars) and thus also the cycles of vegetation and human life; thus she is the mistress of the cosmic order and the eternal wisdom in person. "

All three figures form a deity, they are never completely separated from one another. Her symbol is most often the moon with its three phases, as a rising crescent moon symbol of the girl goddess, the red full moon represents the woman goddess and the invisible new moon is assigned to the underworld goddess. Accordingly, the sacred colors of matriarchy are also white, red and black. The male hero is believed to be the companion and lover of the goddess. His symbol is the sun among many others . He goes through the stages of initiation in the sense of performing great deeds, holy marriage with the goddess, and sacrificial death and rebirth by the goddess. In relation to the eternal goddess, he represents mortal people.

According to Göttner-Abendroth, there were no dogmas or holy books in matriarchal religions , but a large variety of myths and cult acts within the framework described above.

  • In the spring the goddess in her youthful form and the initiation of the hero were celebrated. This also symbolized the return of life.
  • In the summer which was sacred marriage was celebrated between the Goddess and hero. This should ensure the fertility of the land.
  • In autumn , the "death" of the ripe grain was understood as a prerequisite for human life. The sacrificial death and the journey to the heros-king symbolized the mortality of man, he went to the underworld goddess to pray for the welfare of his people. In autumn the ancestors of the clan were also thought of.
  • The rebirth of life was celebrated in winter . It was concretely imagined that the souls of the deceased would be reborn in the children of the same clan.


In academic discourse, Göttner-Abendroth's works are mostly quoted “in footnotes or with critical distancing, in the context of society and gender”. Some authors who hold on to the idea of ​​matriarchy relate positively to their definition of the term matriarchy. According to Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen in the foreword to her book Juchitan, Göttner-Abendroth's definition of characteristics made it possible for her to research the special circumstances of Juchitan. City of women. About life in matriarchy . Others are Claudia von Werlhof and Kurt Derungs. As a “classic of matriarchy research”, however, it is “to be described above all with regard to its popular effect”.

They experience a much stronger reception in neo-paganism ( Neopaganism ), especially in goddess spirituality and Wicca .

Scientific assessment

The historian Felix Wiedemann points out that the scheme of matriarchal religions described by Göttner-Abendroth was significantly shaped by Robert Graves. The central figure of the Triune Goddess and her hero / son-lover does not come from an archaic pantheon, but must essentially be viewed as a synthetic product of the myths of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Marburg Old Testament scholar Christl M. Maier states: "Similar to Gimbutas, Heide Göttner-Abendroth simplifies the very complex different myths of the different peoples living around the Mediterranean into the myth of the one goddess and her son's lover, without, however, identifying individual sources or relevant specialist literature".

Angela Schenkluhn cites Göttner-Abendroth as an example of how feminist research on matriarchy is a re-evocation of a better society, a utopia that has been shifted into the past ; the “matriarchy” in Göttner-Abendroth is subject to a “counter-mythologization” in the sense of a peaceful “mythical time”, contrary to the evaluations of Bachofen, for example.

The feminist philosopher Helga Laugsch sums up her criticism of Göttner-Abendroth as follows: “She relies primarily on Bachofen and Graves, distancing herself from them late and ideologically somewhat sparsely. Your own contribution to the interpretation of the myths is difficult to determine because it is hardly marked. Philosophically she makes a circular reasoning by proving her initial size (matriarchy) with the same. "

Susanne Heine criticizes the mixture of ideology criticism and the formulation of new knowledge in a circle of assumption and result. This leads to the fact that what is not allowed to be - an attitude that is reminiscent of totalitarian systems [...]: indications that speak against the existence of matriarchy are rejected as patriarchal prejudices, while that is viewed as objectively valid, what corresponds to your own interests.

The Zurich religious scholar Christoph Uehlinger characterizes Göttner-Abendroth's publications as follows: "Major parts of your presentation are not reasoned rationally on the basis of the critical interpretation of sources." The aim is rather a “vision of overcoming a consciousness disfigured by patriarchal ideology”, the gesture of “ideology-critical unveiling”, as it were, “revelation of new knowledge” […] “It is in a certain way comparable to positions of anthropo- and theosophy and other new religious movements that combine neo-mythology with a scientific claim. " What is special about her approach is the reference to prehistory and early history. The reconstruction of a better prehistory in a certain way continues the traditional history of the «lost paradises». "

Stefanie Knauß comments: "The judgmental language of her descriptions [...] as well as the polemical defense against criticism of her theories [...] does not speak for the scientific claim that she herself places on her research."

The ethnologist Dominique Stöhr criticizes the publications of Göttner-Abendroth: “Apart from the reversal of the negative evaluation of a matriarchal culture form into a positive one, not much has changed in the thought patterns of these matriarchal researchers since the evolutionist approach. At first glance, this model of 'Spiritual Eco-Feminism' appears tempting, but on second glance it turns out to be a utopia that is neither based on a scientific basis nor pursues feminist goals. What is hidden behind this 'women-driven' research are simply gender dualisms, which are attached to a conservative, biological determinism and arbitrarily ascribe all positive human characteristics to a female principle. "

Meret Fehlmann assesses Göttner-Abendroth's methodology as follows: "Caution is just as important with your declared ideological criticism as with the interdisciplinarity, which is mainly limited to presenting the results of research from different disciplines [...]". The ideology-critical point of view that she has announced is greatly lacking. Her main concern is to present her view of the matriarchal past.

In Göttner-Abendroth's descriptions of matriarchal religions and rituals, Fehlmann states a “certain tolerance of violence”: “Göttner-Abendroth never tires of emphasizing that the events celebrated in these festivities and thus the sacrificial death of the hero were actually carried out and not imitated. [...] The regular sacrificial death of the hero / man happens as 'voluntary self-sacrifice' and is therefore not understood as problematic. "

Helmut Birkhan criticizes Göttner-Abendroth's view of the Hieròs gámos under the catchphrase "The Goddess and Her Heros" (1980), which asserts an ideal world of matriarchy as a counterpart to the "patriarchal perversions of a happy original state" ( Birkhan) carry. He classifies the autonomous educational institution Akademia Hagia, which she founded in 1986, as an ashram - or sect-like institution, in which initiates are inaugurated in an initiation ceremony headed by Göttner-Abendroth as the personification of the goddess Brigid .

Reeves Sanday

Peggy Reeves Sanday is a professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and a feminist with the Second Women's Movement in North America . On the basis of her research on the Minangkabau on Sumatra since 1981 and after dealing with Bachofen and its reception, she developed her own definition of the term matriarchy.

Sandy’s very broad use of the term matriarchy was e.g. B. rejected by anthropologist Janet Hoskins. “Matriarchy” becomes a “collective term for societies in which female achievements in reproduction, nutrition and upbringing of children are valued”. This definition is too broad to be used for comparative purposes. What actually exists with the Minangkabau would otherwise be z. B. described simply as "women-related".

Christa Mulack

Christa Mulack is a Protestant, feminist theologian who published in 1983 on the alleged matriarchal requirements of the image of God. Mulack is concerned with reconstructing what, in their opinion, is the original message of the Bible in an effort to reform Christianity in a feminist way. This is where she differs from other feminist exponents of the matriarchal thesis. According to Mulack, women and their qualities are the basic foundation of Christianity. CG Jung's gender psychology serves as the basis for her thesis of a psychological and spiritual superiority of the feminine, which she supplements with reference to “biology as confirmation of female priority”.

In her portrayal, Mulack not only makes use of anti-Semitic stereotypes, she identifies Judaism with “the patriarchy” par excellence.

In her book Jesus - the Anointed of Women , published in 1987, she portrays Jesus as a type of matriarchal man and “overcomer of the Jewish-patriarchal tradition”. As a student of women, the Jewish man only had Jesus through several encounters with foreign [ie non-Jewish ] Women can overcome “male Jewish pride” as well as the “racism and sexism that has been inoculated into them”. In this context, Jesus becomes the “anointed” of a matriarchal “order of priests”.

The anti-Semitic character of Mulack's argument emerges particularly clearly in her assertion that “even National Socialist executors of the murder of Jews like Adolf Eichmann are ultimately in the tradition of Jewish-patriarchal legal morality.” Felix Wiedemann sees it as “one of those attempts to make Jews responsible for their own persecution do as anti-Semites have always produced to justify their resentment. "

In the scientific discourse, Mulack is received, often together with Gerda Weiler, in connection with the accusation of anti-Judaism or anti-Semitism and is often mentioned as a critical distancing from the concept of matriarchy.

Gerda Weiler

In 1984 Gerda Weiler (1921–1994) wrote the work I reject in the land of wars , which deals with allegedly matriarchal patterns among the tribes of ancient Israel.

Riane Eisler

The book Kelch und Schwert (1993, The Chalice and the Blade , 1987) by Riane Eisler was also influential . As an alternative to patriarchy and matriarchy, she proposes a society organized in partnership, which she calls Gylanie .

Gy is derived from the Greek word gyne for 'woman', an in turn from ana for 'man' […] the letter l [stands] for the solution of our problems through the liberation of both halves of humanity from a dumbing as well as distorting one, through androcratic Hierarchies of power imposed by the definition of roles. "

- Riane Eisler

Eisler's partnership model is reminiscent of Mathilde Vaerting's pendulum theory , who in her book New Foundation of the Psychology of Man and Woman, Vol. 1. The feminine peculiarity in the male state and the male character in the female state (1921) also rejected single-sex rule.

Barbara Alice Mann

Barbara Alice Mann is a lecturer in Native American Studies at the University of Toledo. Of Iroquois descent (Ohio Bear Clan Seneca), she researches history and traditions of her own society and calls them matriarchy . Barbara Mann is not a recipient of Bachofen or its recipients like Heide Göttner-Abendroth. Several other indigenous peoples in the USA and Canada also refer to their traditional society as matriarchy , for example in a statement by the Six Traditional Women's Council Fire . This use of the term is a relic from the contacts with European missionaries and ethnologists in the 18th and 19th centuries (Lafitau, Morgan), who called this form of society maternal law , in order to express their idea of ​​otherness in comparison to Christian-Occidental society bring to. The Iroquois are said to have known a "golden matriarchal age" by the 18th century. With the forced sedentariness of both sexes, the strong position of women was gradually reduced.

Critical studies on the genesis and reception of matriarchal theories

Uwe Wesel

The legal historian Uwe Wesel argues in a study published in 1980 (new edition 1999), Der Mythos vom Matriarchat. About Bachofen's mother right and the position of women in early societies before the emergence of state rule , that there was never a matriarchy as a cultural stage in human history. Bachofen's method of understanding myths as a reminder of real circumstances is scientifically unsustainable. Rather, he himself created a myth in which the alleged moral and intellectual superiority of men had laboriously prevailed against the cultic dominance of women. At most, in some societies, under certain conditions, there was a separation of the sexes in everyday life and the resulting matrifocality.

Brigitte Röder, Juliane Hummel and Brigitta Kunz

The prehistorians Brigitte Röder , Juliane Hummel and Brigitta Kunz set the goddess twilight in 1996 (new edition 2001) . The Matriarchy from an archaeological point of view a publication in which they examine the feminist "matriarchy research" and criticize it as unscientific. Her conclusion: The matriarchy can neither be proven nor refuted by archaeological means, which also applies to the patriarchy.

Cynthia Eller

In her book The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory, the American philosopher, professor of women's studies and religious studies, Cynthia Eller criticizes the matriarchal thesis primarily from an ideology-critical point of view. According to her, this is the wishful thinking of supporters of the differentialist branch of the women's movement. The thesis of matriarchy has a function comparable to that assumed in the description of " primitive communism " in the labor movement of the 19th century, and is due to purely ideological needs. In her opinion, the archaeological finds do not stand up to closer examination either. In their 2011 study Gentlemen and Amazons. The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory, 1861–1900 she examines the intellectual history of the matriarchal myth towards the end of the 19th century.

Peter Davies

In his study Myth, Matriarchy and Modernity , published in 2010, the literary scholar Peter Davies examines the roots of matriarchy myths in German culture. It shows how Bachofen's work on mother law was read in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the context of the debates on the relationship between myth, modernity and history, feminism and anti-feminism, utopianism and the criticism of rationality.

Meret Fehlmann

In 2010, the Swiss cultural scientist Meret Fehlmann submitted with her doctoral thesis The Speech of Matriarchy: On the Usage History of an Argument, a comprehensive study on the genesis and ideological use of hypotheses of historical matriarchies and a "cult of the great goddess" in socialist, ethnic, esoteric and feminist contexts among others within the first and second women's movement and the life reform movement. The historian Beatrix Mesmer writes: "She shows the sources from which maternal law ideas are drawn and how the theories adopted from a wide range of scientific disciplines have been processed over time by very different movements into an identity-creating" history of use "."

Helga Laugsch

In her dissertation, The Matriarchy Discourse (in) of the second German women's movement (1995: revised and expanded new edition 2011), the philosopher Helga Laugsch discusses the matriarchy theories that have been established since Bachofen and questions them in terms of their gender and social ideologies. The focus is on the controversy between the pro and contra matriarchal groups within feminism.

See also

Receiving works in fiction and film (selection)



Feature films


  • Joan Bamberger: The Myth of Matriarchy (PDF; 291 kB). In: MZ Rosaldo, L. Lamphere (Ed.): Women, Culture, and Society. Stanford University Press, Stanford 1974, pp. 261-280.
  • Anne Baring, Julia Cashford: Myth of the Goddess. Arkana, New York 1991, ISBN 0-14-019292-1 .
  • Carol P. Christ: Rebirth of the Religion of the Goddess. In: Rosemary Skinner Keller, Rosemary Radford Ruether (Eds.): Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America. 3 volumes, Indiana University Press, Bloomington 2006, pp. 1200-1207. ( Page views on Google Books )
  • W. Conkey, Ruth Tringham: Archeology and the Goddess: Exploring the Contours of Feminist Archeology. In: Domna C. Stanton, Abigail J. Stewart (Eds.): Feminisms in the Academy. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor 1995, ISBN 0-472-06566-1 , pp. 199-247 ( page views in Google Book Search).
  • Peter Davies: Myth, Matriarchy and Modernity, Johann Jakob Bachofen in German Culture 1860-1945. Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2010, ISBN 978-3-11-022708-6 ( reading sample in the Google book search).
  • Deborah B. Gewertz (Ed.): Myths of Matriarchy Reconsidered. Oceania Monographs, University of Sydney, Sydney 1988, ISBN 0-86758-296-0 .
  • Cynthia Eller: Ancient Matriarchies in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Feminist Thought. In: Rosemary Skinner Keller, Rosemary Radford Ruether (Eds.): Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America. 3 volumes, Indiana University Press, Bloomington 2006, pp. 804–809 ( page views in Google book search).
  • Cynthia Eller: The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory . Why an Invented Past Won't Give Women a Future . Beacon Press, Boston 2000, ISBN 0-8070-6793-8 (1st chapter online ).
  • Meret Fehlmann: The talk of matriarchy. To the history of use of an argument. Chronos, Zurich 2011, ISBN 978-3-0340-1067-2 (also dissertation at the University of Zurich 2010).
  • Meret Fehlmann: Matriarchy - a supposedly ancient story. (PDF; 252 kB) In: Swiss Folklore Archive. 106 (2010), pp. 267-290.
  • Heide Göttner-Abendroth : The matriarchy I. History of its research . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1988, ISBN 3-17-009807-1 .
  • Susanne Heine : Revival of the Goddesses? On the systematic criticism of a feminist theology. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 1987, 1989, ISBN 3-525-60623-0 .
  • Janet Alison Hoskins: Matriarchy. In: MC Horowitz (Ed.): New Dictionary of the History of Ideas . Vol. 4, Routledge, London, UK / New York, NY 2004; Thomson Gale 2005, pp. 1384-1389. ( Can be viewed online , the first subsection is linked, further sections can be reached via "next").
  • Helga Laugsch: The Matriarchy Discourse (in) of the Second German Women's Movement. The (counter) talk of the “other” society and the “other” sex. ... problems, implications, ideologies. Utz, Munich 1995 (doctoral thesis 1995 LMU Munich; extended new edition 2011: ISBN 978-3-8316-4132-1 ).
  • Gerda Lerner: The Creation of Patriarchy. Oxford University Press, New York 1986, ISBN 0-19-503996-3 .
  • Eva-Maria Mertens: The Myth of the Peaceful Matriarchy. In: Antje Hilbig, Claudia Kajatin, Ingrid Miethe (eds.): Women and violence. Interdisciplinary research on gender-based violence in theory and practice. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2003, pp. 33–46 ( side views on Google Books ).
  • Paul Reid-Bowen: Goddess as Nature. Towards a Philosophical History. Ashgate, Aldershot 2007, ISBN 978-0-7546-5627-2 (especially p. 15 ff. On Goddess movement , p. 23 ff. On Goddess feminism ).
  • Brigitte Röder, Juliane Hummel, Brigitta Kunz (eds.): Göttinnendämmerung. The matriarchy from an archaeological point of view. Droemer Knaur, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-426-26887-6 .
  • EB Tylor: The Matriarchal Family System. In: Nineteenth Century. 40: 81-96 (1896).
  • Marie-Theres Wacker: Of goddesses, gods and the only god. Studies on biblical monotheism from a feminist-theological point of view. Lit, Münster 2004, ISBN 3-8258-6829-X . (= Theological research on women in Europe, Volume 14)
  • Uwe Wesel: The myth of matriarchy. About Bachofen's mother law and the position of women in early societies before the emergence of state rule. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1980, ISBN 3-518-27933-5 .
  • Felix Wiedemann: Racial mother and rebel : images of witches in romanticism, folk movement, neo-paganism and feminism. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-8260-3679-8 .
  • Carola Meier-Seethaler: Origins and Liberations. The sexist roots of the culture. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1992, ISBN 3-596-11038-6 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The first description of a so-called maternal society comes from the Iroquois missionary Joseph-François Lafitau : Moeurs des sauvages américains. Comparées aux moeurs des premiers temps. 2 volumes. Paris 1724 ("Morals of the American savages compared with the customs of the first days"; reading sample in the Google book search). Lafitau is considered to be the founder of comparative social anthropology .
    Hartmut Zinser noted in 1981 that Lafitau had indeed discovered matrilineal succession , but beyond that one could not speak of a matriarchal theory in Lafitau, see Hartmut Zinser: Der Mythos des Mutterrechts. Negotiation of 3 current theories of the gender struggle. Ullstein, Berlin a. a. 1981, pp. 38-39.
  2. Elke Hartmann : On the history of the matriarchy idea (= public lectures. Issue 133). Inaugural lecture . Humboldt University, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-86004-178-9 , p. 19 ( PDF file; 304 kB; 37 pages ).
  3. ^ EW Müller: Mother Law. In: Dieter Quast (Hrsg.): Historical dictionary of philosophy . Volume 6. Schwabe, Basel 1984, p. 261.
  4. Compare for example Franz Borkenau : From the Minoan to the Greek culture. In: Same: End and Beginning. Stuttgart 1984 (original: Two essays on Greek mythology. In: Psyche. April 1953).
  5. Compare Birgit Heller: Matriarchat. In: Lexicon for Theology and Church. Volume 6. 1997, column 1475: “The M [atriarchat] controversy is still ideologically overloaded today and [nd] often serves to legitimize social power relations”.
  6. Compare for example Meret Fehlmann: The Speech of Matriarchy. Zurich 2011, p. 142.
  7. Compare for example Elke Hartmann: On the history of the matriarchy idea. Inaugural lecture (= public lectures at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Volume 133). Berlin 2004, p. ?? (2nd edition. 2006).
  8. Birgit Heller : Matriarchy. In: Lexicon for Theology and Church . Volume 6: Church history up to Maximianus. Freiburg / Br. 1997, column 1475. Heller outlines the term matriarchy as follows: “M [atriarchat] is often used synonymously with mother right in different meanings. What is usually meant is a social form that is characterized by the dominance of the mother or woman, or the parentage u. Succession to the mother, who more or less favorably relies on the position v. Women affects. ”Under other definitions (such as some proponents of matriarchal ideas suggest them, e.g. Göttner-Abendroth), of course, other generalizations of the state of historical research can result.
  9. Gerda Lerner : The Creation of Patriarchy. Oxford University Press, 1986, ISBN 978-0-19-505185-8 , p. 31.
  10. Margaret Ehrenberg: Women in Prehistory. London British Museum Publications 1989, ISBN 0-7141-1388-3 , pp. ??.
    Bruce Trigger: A History of Archaeological Thoughts. 2nd Edition. Cambridge University Press, 2006, quoted in: Meret Fehlmann: Die Rede vom Matriarchat. Zurich 2011, p. 135 ff.
  11. Article Matriarchy. In: Konrad Fuchs, Heribert Raab (Hrsg.): Dictionary history. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 2001, p. 515.
  12. The Dutch legal ethnologist George Alexander Wilken was the first to use the technical term "matriarchy" in 1884 in his book Das Matriarchat (The Mother Law) among the ancient Arabs .
  13. Further works are: Primordial Religion and Ancient Symbols (3 volumes 1926) as well as Mother Law and Primordial Religion (1927).
  14. Compare Jesuit missionary Lafitau (1724), the philosopher and historian John Millar (1771), the historian Emil Rückert (1846), Mme. EA Casaubon (1852) ,; the journalist and publisher Émile de Girardin (1852) quoted from Meret Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy. 2011, p. 53. Elke Hartmann also mentions the state theorist Thomas Hobbes (* 1588; † 1679), for whom “in the state of nature power was in the hands of women”.
  15. ^ Compare Peter Davies: Myth, Matriarchy and Modernity: Johann Jakob Bachofen in German Culture 1860–1945. De Gruyter, Berlin a. a. 2010, ISBN 978-3-11-022708-6 .
  16. Meret Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy. 2011, p. 53.
  17. ^ For example, Elisabeth Gould Davis: The First Sexe. 1971; Elaine Morgan: The Descent of Woman. 1972
  18. ^ Letter from Bachofen to his publisher Cotta in 1857, quoted in Peter Davies: Myth, Matriarchy and Modernity. 2011, p. 11.
  19. Johann Jakob Bachofen: The mother right. 4th edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1982, p. 28.
  20. Felix Wiedemann: Racial Mother and Rebel : Witch Images in Romanticism, Völkischer Movement, Neo-Paganism and Feminism. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzbung 2007, p. 70.
  21. Bachofen: The mother right. P. 99.
  22. Bachofen: The mother right. P. 130.
  23. a b Elke Hartmann: On the history of the matriarchy idea. Inaugural lecture at Humboldt University Berlin 2004
  24. ^ Peter Davies: Myth, Matriarchy and Modernity. New York 2011, p. 23.
  25. Helga Laugsch: Der Matriarchatsdiskurs (2011), p. 91.
  26. Bachofen: The mother right. P. 302, quoted by Meret Fehlmann: Die Rede vom Matriarchat , p. 69.
  27. Helga Laugsch: Der Matriarchatsdiskurs (2011), p. 92 f. Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy, p. 67 ff.
  28. ^ The mother right . 1861, p. 23 books.google
  29. Bachofen: The mother right. 1861. p. 54 r.Sp. books.google
  30. Meret Fehlmann: Die Rede vom Matriarchat (2011), p. 63.
  31. Elke Hartmann: On the history of the matriarchy idea. Inaugural lecture (= public lectures at the Humboldt University in Berlin 133). Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-86004-178-9 , p. 10.
  32. ^ Peter Davies: Myth, Matriarchy and Modernity. P. 13.
  33. Felix Wiedemann: Race mother and Rebellin. 2007, p. 72.
  34. Susanne Lenward: Myth, mother right and magic. On the history of concepts of religious studies, Reimer Verlag Berlin 1993, p. 78.
  35. Helga Laugsch: The matriarchy discourse . P. 95.
  36. Meret Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy. P. 71.
  37. Stefanie v. Schnurbein: belief in gods in times of change. Claudius Verlag 1993, p. 115.
  38. The missionary and ethnographer Joseph-François Lafitau came to the conclusion at the end of the 18th century that the Iroquois use a different kinship system than the Europeans.
  39. Meret Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy. Chronos Verlag Zurich 2011, p. 82.
  40. ↑ In 1851 Morgan published the first study of the Iroquois social system, League of the Ho-dé-no-saunee, or Iroquois , which he dedicated to Parker.
  41. H.-R. Wicker: Introductory Lecture in Social Anthropology 2005, Institute for Social Anthropology, Bern ( PDF: 520 kB, 45 pages ( Memento from October 21, 2013 in the Internet Archive )).
  42. German: The Urgesellschaft. Investigations into the progress of mankind from savagery through barbarism to civilization in 1908
  43. ^ LH Morgan: Ancient Society. quoted in Fehlmann, pp. 88/89
  44. Meret Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy. Chronos Verlag Zurich 2011, p. 81 ff.
  45. Peter Davies: Myth, matriarchy and modernity. De Gruyter, New York 2010, p. 60.
  46. ^ Compare Friedrich Engels: The origin of the family, private property and the state. Berlin 1962, p. 59 f., Also on the Internet: ML-Werke
  47. Friedrich Engels: The origin of the family, private property and the state. Berlin 1962, p. 61, also on the Internet: ML-Werke
  48. Compare the reception history: Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban: Marxist reappraisal of the matriarchate. In: Current Anthropology 20 (1979), pp. 341-359.
  49. Meret Fehlmann: Die Rede vom Matriarchat (2011), p. 260 f.
  50. ^ Peter Davies: Myth, Matriarchy and Modernity. DeGruyter, NY 2010, p. 1 f.
  51. Meret Fehlmann: Die Rede vom Matriarchat (2011), p. 266 f.
  52. August Bebel: The woman and socialism. 1996 edition, p. 263 f.
  53. August Bebel: The woman and socialism. 1996 edition, p. 656 f.
  54. ^ Peter Davies: Myth, Matriarchy and Modernity. DeGruyter, NY 2010, p. 107.
  55. On the "collective term" ( Martin Broszat ) "völkisch" and subordination of "National Socialist" as a variant of the "Völkisch" see for example: Martin Broszat, Der Nationalozialismus. Weltanschauung, program and reality, Stuttgart 1960, p. 56; Wolfgang Benz , Hermann Graml , Hermann Weiß (eds.), Encyclopedia of National Socialism, Munich 1998, 3rd edition, p. 784; Eckard Reidegeld, State Social Policy in Germany, Vol. II, Social Policy in Democracy and Dictatorship, Wiesbaden 2006, p. 306; Dina Kashapova, Art, Discourse and National Socialism, Berlin et al. 2006, p. 10.
  56. Ludendorff quoted from Meret Fehlmann: Die Rede vom Matriarchat (2011), p. 342 f.
  57. On Bergmann see: Uwe Puschner, The völkisch-religious movement in National Socialism: A relationship and conflict story, Göttingen 2012, passim.
  58. Meret Fehlmann: Völkische Movement or the goddess of the species. In: The Speech of Matriarchy . Chronos Verlag, Zurich 2011, p. 335 f.
  59. Günther quoted from Meret Fehlmann: Die Rede vom Matriarchat. P. 340.
  60. ^ Peter Davies: Myth, Matriarchy and Modernity. De Gruyter, New York 2010, p. 351 f.
  61. Robert Briffault: The Mothers. New edition Howard Ready New York 1993, p. 27.
  62. Meret Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy. Chronos Verlag Zurich 2011, p. 101.
  63. Robert Briffault: The Mothers. New edition Howard Ready New York 1993, p. 326.
  64. Peter Davies: Myth, Matriarchy and Modernity (2010), p. 391.
  65. ^ Bronislaw Malinowsi: Maternal family and Oedipus complex. A psychoanalytic study. Internationaler Psychoanalytischer Verlag, Leipzig 1924, pp. 216-217. Quoted from Laugsch: Der Matriarchatsdiskurs (2011), p. 75.
  66. Wilhelm Reich: The break-in of sexual morality. On the history of the sexual economy. 2nd, expanded edition. Verlag für Sexualpolitik, Berlin 1935; rev. New edition ad T. The collapse of forced sexual morality. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 1972 ( digitized 2nd edition on archive.org).
  67. Compare Heide Göttner-Abendroth: Das Matriarchat. Volume 1. P. 69 ff.
  68. Sir Galahad ( Bertha Eckstein-Diener ): Mothers and Amazons - an outline of female realms. Released. Non Stop Verlag, Berlin 1975 (original: Langen Verlag, Munich 1932) ( read online at arsfemina.de , accessed on June 6, 2013). Compare also Heide Göttner-Abendroth: Das Matriarchat. Volume I, p. 155 ff. Published again in 1996 under the title:
    Sir Galahad, Bertha Eckstein-Diener: Mothers and Amazons. Love and power in the female realm. Ullstein Tb, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-548-35594-3 .
  69. Compare Heide Göttner-Abendroth: Das Matriarchat. Volume 1. p. 64 ff .; Wilhelm Schmidt: The mother right. Johnson, New York 1966 (1st reprint of the edition Verlag der Missionsdr. St. Gabriel, Vienna-Mödling 1955).
  70. Robert Graves: The White Goddess. The language of myth. ISBN 3-499-55416-X , p. 79 (English 1948: The White Goddess ): “The new moon is the white goddess of birth and growth; the full moon is the red goddess of love and struggle; the new moon the black goddess of death and fortune-telling. "
  71. Meret Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy. Chronos Verlag Zurich 2011, p. 124.
  72. Robert Graves: The White Goddess. 1991 (1948), p. 537.
  73. Compare Helga Laugsch: The Matriarchy Discourse. Utz, Munich 1995, pp. 38–39 (extended new edition 2011).
  74. Meret Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy. Zurich 2011, p. 121 ff.
  75. See Heide Göttner-Abendroth: The goddess and her hero. (1980) exp. New edition 2011.
  76. Compare Heide Göttner-Abendroth: Das Matriarchat. Volume 1. P. 102 ff.
  77. James Mellaart: (in German translation) Catal Hüyük - city from the Stone Age . Lübbe Verlag, 1967, p. 272.
  78. Meret Fehlmann: Die Rede vom Matriarchat (2011), p. 165.
  79. James Mellaart: Catal Hüyük - City from the Stone Age. Lübbe Verlag, 1967, p. 236.
  80. Sigrist quoted from Laugsch: Der Matriarchatsdiskurs. 2011, p. 65.
  81. Helga Laugsch: The matriarchy discourse . 2011, p. 69.
  82. ^ Compare Claudia von Werlhof: The reversal: The project of the patriarchy and the gender dilemma. Promedia, Vienna 2011, ISBN 978-3-85371-332-7 .
  83. Heide Göttner-Abendroth: The matriarchy. Volume I, p. 56 ff.
  84. So far, Göttner-Abendroth has only represented her thesis on the emergence of patriarchy in lectures; the book publication announced in 1985 is still pending. Compare Laugsch: Der Matriarchatsdiskurs (2011) p. 69, footnote
  85. Christian Sigrist: Regulated Anarchy: Investigations into the absence and emergence of political rule in segmentary societies in Africa. EVA 1994, p. 95 f.
  86. Marija Gimbutas: Gods and Goddesses of Old Europe, 7000-3500 BC: Myths, Legends and Cult Images. Thames & Hudson, 1974, ISBN 0-500-05014-7 . (engl.); German edition: Goddesses and gods of ancient Europe. Myths and cult images 6500 to 3500 BC Chr. Arun-Verlag, 2010.
  87. German editions: Marija Gimbutas: The language of the goddess. The buried symbol system of western civilization. Frankfurt am Main 1995; Marija Gimbutas: The civilization of the goddess. The world of old Europe. Frankfurt am Main 1996.
  88. Compare Meret Fehlmann: Marija Gimbutas and Old Europe. In: The Speech of Matriarchy. Zurich 2011, pp. 168–177.
  89. ^ Rosemary Radford Ruether : Goddesses and the divine feminine. A Western Religious History. University of California Press, Berkeley / Los Angeles / London 2005, ISBN 0-520-23146-5 , p. 6: “In the 1980s, Goddess feminists appropriated the work of archaeologist Marija Gimbutas as proof of prehistoric matriarchal or matricentric societies overthrown by invading patriarchalists, a viewpoint popularly disseminated by writers such as Charlene Spretnak and Riane Eisler. "Ruether refers to Charlene Spretnak (ed.): The Politics of Women's Spirituality. Essays on the Rise of Spiritual Power Within the Feminist Movement. Anchor Books, Garden City 1982; and Riane Eisler: The Chalice and the Blade. Our history, our future. Harper & Row, San Francisco 1987.
  90. Russell Dale Guthrie: The Nature of Paleolithic Art. University of Chicago Press, London 2005, p. 368 ( page view in Google book search): “notions of a golden age of matriarchy remain indelibly writ in many popular views of human history. Books by Gimbutas (eg, 1982) and Ann and Myers-Imel (1995) have led many less-informed readers to take these purported mother goddess / matriarchy ideas as a matter of faith and fact. "Guthrie is referring to Martha Ann, Dorothy Myers Imel: Goddesses in world mythology, ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, Calif. 1993 / New York 1995. Comparisons for classification and evaluation also (received by Guthrie) Lynn Meskell: Goddesses, Gimbutas and 'New Age' archeology. In: Antiquity. 69/262 (1995), pp. 74-86. ( online )
  91. Christl M. Maier: Mother Goddess. In: Michaela Bauks, Klaus Koenen (Hrsg.): The scientific Bible lexicon on the Internet (WiBiLex). Stuttgart 2008.
  92. Ruth Tringham: Review of Gimbutas: Civilization of the Goddess. In: American Anthropologist. 95/1 (1993), pp. 196-197, here p. 197: "Feminist archaeological research is based on a celebration of the ambiguity of the archaeological record and the plurality of its interpretation, and the subjectivity of the prehistories that are constructed as a part of its discourse. Gimbutas, however, has mystified the process of interpretation and has presented her own conclusions as objective fact. "Compare for example the review by William Barnett: Review of Gimbutas: The Language of the Goddess. In: American Journal of Archeology. 96/1 (1992), pp. 170-171.
  93. Sonja Distler: Mothers, Amazons & Triune Goddesses. 1989, quoted in Laugsch: The Matriarchy Discourse . 2011, p. 417.
  94. Christina Thürmer-Rohr : Changes in the violence debate in the last 30 years. In: Antje Hilbig, Claudia Kajatin, Ingrid Miethe (eds.): Women and violence. Interdisciplinary research on gender-based violence in theory and practice. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2003, p. 18 ( side view in the Google book search).
  95. Cillie Rentmeister: Women's Worlds - Far, Past, Alien? The Matriarchy Debate and the New Women's Movement. In: I.-M. Greverus (Ed.): Kulturkontakt - Kulturkonflikt. To experience the foreign. Contributions to the 26th German Folklore Congress 1987. Institute for Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology, Frankfurt 1988 ( PDF file; 567 kB ).
  96. Compare the works of Charlene Spretnak, for example: Lost Goddesses of Early Greece. Moon Books, Berkeley 1978.
  97. Helga Laugsch: The matriarchy discourse . (2011), pp. 178, 179.
  98. Meret Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy. 2011, p. 436.
  99. Eva-Maria Ziege: Mythical coherence. (Diss.) UVK Verl. Ges. 2002, esp. P. 220.
  100. Felix Wiedemann: Race mother and Rebellin. 2007, p. 300 ff.
  101. David W. Anthony: Nazi and eco-feminist prehistories: ideology and empiricism in Indo-European archeology. In: Philip L. Kohl: Nationalism, Politics and the Practice of Archeology . Cambridge University Press 1996, reprinted 2009, pp. 82-96.
  102. Meret Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy. Zurich 2011, p. 145.
  103. Since ancient times, goddesses have experienced different ways of looking at things. The figure of the 'Great Goddess' in its three aspects, which also embody the biological life phases of women, is based in spiritual feminism essentially on the myths of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Compare Meret Fehlmann: The Speech of Matriarchy. 2011, p. 103 ff. Compare Felix Wiedemann: Racial Mother and Rebellin. 2007, p. 296.
  104. Carol P. Christ: Rebirth of the Goddess. In: Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America. 2006 ( excerpt in the Google book search; Christ traces the history of the North American "goddess movement" since the 1960s).
  105. Compare, for example, Mary Daly : Beyond God the Father . Beacon Press, Boston 1973; Mary Daly : Gyn / Ecology. A Metaethic of Radical Feminism . Women's offensive Munich 1981, ISBN 3-88104-109-5 . A work that was widely received in Germany by supporters of the matriarchal idea and feminist spirituality
  106. Meret Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy. 2011, pp. 393-394.
  107. Compare Jules Michelet (1798–1874) quoted by Silvia Bovenschen and others: From the time of desperation , Suhrkamp 1977.
  108. Starhawk: The Spiral Dance. A Rebirth of Ancient Religion of the Great Goddes. HarperCollins, New York 1979. ( partly available from amazon ); German: The witch cult as the original religion of the great goddess , 1983.
  109. Women's worlds: distant, past, strange? The Matriarchy Debate in the New Women's Movement. In: Ina-Maria Greverus (Hgin): Kulturkontakt - Kulturkonflikt. To experience the foreign. Contributions to the 26th German Folklore Congress 1987. Frankfurt / M. 1988
  110. Elizabeth Gould Davis: The First Sex. (1971)
  111. Merlin Stone: When God was a Woman (1976)
  112. Gerda Lerner: The Creation of Patriarchy (1986)
  113. Compare Katharina von Kellenbach: Anti-Judaism in Feminist Religious Writings (American Academy of Religion Cultural Criticism Series). Oxford University 1994, ISBN 0-7885-0044-9 .
  114. Helga Laugsch: The matriarchy discourse . 2011, p. 357 ff.
  115. Compare Leonore Siegele-Wenschkewitz : The repressed past that pressures us: feminist theology in responsibility for history. Kaiser Verlag Munich 1988.
  116. Eva-Maria Ziege: The "Murderers of the Goddesses". In: Julius H. Schoeps , Joachim Schör (Hrsg.): Antisemitismus. Prejudices and myths . Piper, Munich 1996, p. 180 ff.
  117. Charlotte Kohn-Ley, Ilse Korotin (Ed.): The Feminist Fall? Anti-Semitic prejudices in the women's movement. Picus Verlag, Vienna 1994.
  118. Katharina Walgenbach among others: Gender as an interdependent category. Barbara Budrich Publishing House, Leverkusen 2007, p. 36.
  119. Meret Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy. Zurich 2011, p. 436.
  120. ^ Annette Daum: Blaming Jews for the Death of the Goddess. In: Lilith 7, 1980, from Meret Fehlmann: Die Rede vom Matriarchat , Chronos Verlag Zurich 2011, p. 418 f.
  121. Merlin Stone: When God was a Woman. Harvest Books 1976, p. 131.
  122. ^ Philip G. Davis (1993): The goddess and the academy. In: Academic Questions. Volume 6, No. 4, pp. 49-66.
  123. Until 1990 the name was Hagia. Academy and Coven for Spiritual and Matriarchal Research and Experience. Felix Wiedemann sees a reference to the neo-pagan witch cult in the adoption of the term coven as well as in the neo-pagan ritual and festival structure, which is considered genuinely matriarchal ; compare Felix Wiedemann: Racial Mother and Rebel. 2007, p. 293.
  124. Meret Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy. To the history of use of an argument. Dissertation. Chronos Verlag, Zurich 2011, p. 130.
  125. In 2003, 2005 and 2011, under the direction of Göttner-Abendroth, three conferences of the World Congress for Matriarchy Research took place, which she herself initiated.
  126. Compare Heide Göttner-Abendroth (Ed.): Society in Balance. Gender equality consensus culture in matrilineal, matrifocal, matriarchal societies. Documentation of the 1st World Congress for Matriarchy Research 2003 in Luxembourg. Kohlhammer / Stuttgart and Edition Hagia, Winzer 2006; this. (Ed.): Societies of Peace . Matriarchies Past Present and Future. Inanna Publications and Educations, Toronto, Canada 2009, ISBN 978-0-9782233-5-9 .
  127. Claudia von Werlhof, Carola Meier-Seethaler, Christa Mulack, Göttner-Abendroth and others (eds.): The discrimination of matriarchy research. A modern witch hunt. Edition Amalia, Bern 2003, ISBN 3-905581-21-3 , p. 36.
  128. Meret Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy. To the history of use of an argument. Dissertation. Chronos Verlag, Zurich 2011, p. 135 ff.
  129. Compare, for example, Ilse Lenz: Gender-symmetrical societies: where neither women nor men rule. In: Ruth Becker, Beate Kortendiek: Handbook women and gender research. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 2010, p. 30 ff.
  130. Stefanie Knauß: Heide Göttner-Abendroths (born 1941). A critical presentation of the classic matriarchy research. P. 99.
  131. All quotations from: H. Göttner-Abendroth: The Goddess and Her Heros. 1984.
  132. Compare Heide Göttner-Abendroth: The Goddess and Her Heros. Munich 1984, p. 17 ff.
  133. Compare Heide Göttner-Abendroth: The Goddess and Her Heros. Munich 1984, p. 20.
  134. Compare Heide Göttner-Abendroth: Matriarchal Spirituality, Part II: Matriarchal Forms of Life - Suggestions for Celebrating Life. ( Memento from March 26, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) In: KursKontakte. Issue 120, undated, accessed on August 24, 2019.
  135. Göttner-Abendroth: The matriarchy. Volume II, 1, 1991 Kohlhammer Verlag, p. 56.
  136. Compare Heide Göttner-Abendroth: The Goddess and Her Heros. Munich 1984, p. 32 ff.
  137. Stefanie Knauß : Heide Göttner-Abendroths (born 1941). A critical presentation of the classic matriarchy research , p. 95.
  138. Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen: Juchitan. City of women. About life in matriarchy. Reinbek near Hamburg 1994; Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen: A matriarchal society in times of globalization: Juchitan in Mexico. (Lecture). In: Heide Göttner-Abendroth (Ed.): Society in Balance. Winzer 2006, p. 144 ff.
  139. Stefanie Knauß: Heide Göttner-Abendroths (born 1941). A critical presentation of the classic matriarchy research. In: A.-K. Höpflinger, A. Jeffers, D. Pezzoli-Olgiati (eds.): Handbook Gender and Religion. UTB / Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-8252-3062-3 , pp. 95-106. (partly available from Libreka) Here p. 95 and 103.
  140. Felix Wiedemann: Racial Mother and Rebellin (Diss.). Königshausen & Neumann, 2007, p. 296.
  141. Christl M. Maier: Mother Goddess. In: Michaela Bauks, Klaus Koenen (Hrsg.): The scientific Bible lexicon on the Internet (WiBiLex). Stuttgart 2008.
  142. ^ Angela Schenkluhn: Matriarchy / Patriarchy. In: Kocku von Stuckrad (Ed.): The Brill Dictionary of Religion. Brill, Leiden / Boston 2006, pp. 1177–1179, here 1178: “Feminist matriarchal research is recall of a better society, and so of an anterior utopia… With Heide Göttner-Abendroth (1980), for example, the matriarchy still described by male theoreticians as a 'primordial morass' (Bachofen) and chaos, becomes, by means of counter-mythologizing, a peaceful 'mythic time.' "
  143. Helga Laugsch: Matriarchy at issue. (Historical) reality, lie, possibility? Lecture series at the University of Konstanz 1997, In: Helga Laugsch: Der Matriarchatsdiskurs. Munich 2011, p. 422.
  144. Susanne Heine: Revival of the Goddess? On the systematic criticism of a feminist theology. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1987, p. 92 f. quoted from Stefanie Knauß: Heide Göttner-Abendroth , Handbuch Gender und Relegion, 2008
  145. Quoted from Rolf App: Lost Paradises. In: St. Galler Tagblatt . May 12, 2011.
  146. Stefanie Knauß: Heide Göttner-Abendroth (born 1941). A critical presentation of the classic matriarchy research. In: A.-K. Höpflinger, A. Jeffers, D. Pezzoli-Olgiati (eds.): Handbook Gender and Religion. UTB / Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8252-3062-3 , pp. 95-106. (partially available from Libreka) Here p. 102.
  147. Dominique Stöhr: Christa Wolfs Kassandra in the field of tension between feminist ethnology, gender studies and the reception of myths. Master's thesis in anthropology submitted to the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität. Heidelberg 2001, p. 29, online
  148. a b Meret Fehlmann: The speech of the matriarchy. To the history of use of an argument. Chronos Verlag, Zurich 2011, pp. 131–133.
  149. Helmut Birkhan Post-Antique Celtic Reception. Praesens Verlag, Vienna 2009, ISBN 978-3-7069-0541-1 , p. 590 f.
  150. Compare to Sandays' matriarchy concept: Matriarchy as a Sociocultural Form. An Old Debate in a New Light. Lecture manuscript. Melaka 1998 ( online at upenn.edu).
  151. ^ Peggy Reeves Sanday: Women at the Center. Life in a Modern Matriarchy. Cornell University Press, Ithaca 2002 ( excerpt from Google book search).
  152. Janet Alison Hoskins: Article Matriarchy. In: MC Horowitz (Ed.): New Dictionary of the History of Ideas . Volume 4. Routledge, London a. a. 2004; Thomson Gale 2005, pp. 1384–1389, here p. 1388 ( online at jrank.org): “The use of matriarchy as an umbrella term for societies that value women's reproductive and nurturing powers seems too broad to be of much use for comparative purposes. What Sanday wants to call matriarchic has been described by Annette Weiner as' woman focused '(1976), by Sherry Ortner as an' egalitarian hegemony ', by Karen Sacks as a' sister-based society ', and by Eleanor Leacock as a' precapitalist form of sexual equality '. "
  153. Christa Mulack: The femininity of God. Matriarchal prerequisites for the image of God. Kreuz Verlag Stuttgart 1983.
  154. Compare Helga Laugsch: Der Matriarchatsdiskurs. Munich 2011, p. 182 ff.
  155. a b c Felix Wiedmann: Racial mother and rebel. Images of witches in romanticism, folk movement, neo-paganism and feminism. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-8260-3679-8 , pp. 274-280, and 381 ( page views in the Google book search).
  156. Compare also Doris Brockmann: Whole People - Whole Gods. Critique of Jung's reception in the context of feminist-theological theory formation. Schöningh, Paderborn 1991.
  157. Compare also Sven Glawion: “Whole Men” between CG Jung and Jesus. Overcoming fantasies of the “men's movement”, in: Sven Glawion et al. (Hrsg.): Redeemer: Figurations of male hegemony , transcript, Bielefeld 2007, pp. 155–168, here p. 157 ( reading sample in the Google book search).
  158. Compare Susanne Heine : The Feminist Defamation of Jews. In: Ilse Korotin , Charlotte Kohn-Ley (eds.): The feminist "fall into sin"? Picus, Vienna 1994, pp. 15–59, here p. 32 ff;
    Anita Natmeßnig: Anti-Semitism and Feminist Theology. In: Koritin / Kohn-Ley 1994, pp. 185-209.
  159. Compare, for example, Susannah Heschel: Configurations of Patriarchy, Judaism and Nazism in German Feminist Thought. In: Kohn-Ley / Korotin 1994, pp. 150-184, bes. 168 ff or Susannah Heschel: Configurations of Patriarchy, Judaism, and Nazism in German Feminist Thought. In: Tamar Rudavsky (ed.): Gender and Judaism: The Transformation of Tradition , New York University Press, New York-Kondon 1995, pp. 135–156, here 138 ( side view in Google book search); Susannah Heschel: Reading Jesus as a Nazi. In: Tod Linafelt (ed.): A Shadow of Glory. Reading the New Testament After the Holocaust. Routledge, New York 2002, pp. 27–42, especially pp. 36–37 ( side view in the Google book search); Susannah Heschel: Jewish-Feminist Theology and Anti-Judaism in Christian-Feminist Theology. In: L. Siegele-Wenschkewitz (Hrsg.): Repressed past that presses us. Feminist theology in responsibility for history , Munich 1988, pp. 86–88. Susannah Heschel: Anti-Judaism / Anti-Semitism. In: Letty M. Russell, J. Shannon Clarkson (Eds.): Dictionary of Feminist Theology. Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky 1996, pp. 12-13, here p. 13 ( side view in the Google book search); Susannah Heschel: Does atrocity have a gender? Feminist Interpretations of Women in the SS. In: Peter Hayes, Jeffry M. Diefendorf (Eds.): Lessons And Legacies VI: New Currents in Holocaust Research. Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Illinois 2004, pp. 300-324, here 314 ( side view in Google book search).
  160. Compare Christa Mulack: The Femininity of God. Matriarchal prerequisites for the image of God. Kreuz, Stuttgart 1983, p. 196.
  161. ^ Sara Litchfield: Feminist Theology and the Holocaust. In: Feminist Theology. Volume 18, No. 3, 2010, pp. 332-340 ( abstract ( memento of December 30, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) can be viewed online); Meret Fehlmann: The talk of matriarchy. Zurich 2011, p. 415 ff; Anita Natmeßnig: Anti-Semitism and Feminist Theology. In: Ilse Korotin , Charlotte Kohn-Ley (eds.): The feminist "fall into sin"? Anti-Semitic prejudices in the women's movement , Picus, Vienna 1994, 185–209; Katharina von Kellenbach: Overcoming the Teaching of Contempt. In: Athalya Brenner, Carole R. Fontaine (Eds.): A Feminist Companion to Reading the Bible: Approaches, Methods and Strategies . Sheffield Academic Press, Sheffield 1997, pp. 190–203, here pp. 195 ff. (Side view in the Google book search); Eveline Valtink: Feminist-Christian Identity and Anti-Judaism. In: Luise Schottroff , Marie-Theres Wacker (Eds.): Carried by the Root: Christian-Feminist Exegesis in Confrontation with Anti-Judaism , Brill, Leiden 1996, pp. 1–28, here 3 ff. Et passim ( side view in Google Book search); Katharina Walgenbach: Gender as an interdependent category. In: Katharina Walgenbach et al. (Ed.): Gender as an interdependent category: New Perspectives on Intersectionality, Diversity and Heterogeneity , Budrich, Opladen 2007, pp. 23–64, here 36 ( side view in Google book search); Micha Brumlik : Post- Holocaust Theology: German Theological Responses since 1945, in: Gerard Stephen Sloyan, Robert P. Ericksen, Susannah Heschel (eds.): Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust, Augsburg Fortress, Minneapolis 1999, p. 169– 188, esp. 186 ff. ( Side view in the Google book search) and in other articles in the volume. Micha Brumlik: The fear of the father. Anti-Jewish tendencies in the vicinity of new social movements. In: Alphons Silbermann, Julius H. Schoeps (Ed.): Anti-Semitism after the Holocaust. Inventory and manifestations in German-speaking countries. Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik, Cologne 1986, pp. 133–162. Micha Brumlik: The Anti-Alt. Against the terrible peacefulness. Eichborn, Frankfurt am Main 1991, p. 86 ff .; Othmar Keel : Canaan - Israel - Christianity. Plea for a “vertical” ecumenism. In: Jacobus Cornelis de Vos, Folker Siegert (ed.): Interest in Judaism: The Franz Delitzsch Lectures 1989–2008 , Lit, Berlin 2008, pp. 363–392, here 384–385 ( page views in the Google book search ); Silvia Schroer : Feminism and Anti-Judaism. To the story of a constructive dispute. In: W. Dietrich, M. George, U. Luz (Eds.): Antijudaismus - christliche Erblast , Stuttgart 1999, pp. 28–39; Susanne Gorges-Braunwarth: Images of women - images of wisdom - images of God. In Prov. 1–9: Wisdom personified in the image of God in the post-exilic period. Lit, München 2002, pp. 23–24 ( page views in the Google book search); Liliane Kandel: Feminism and Anti-Semitism. In: Gabriele Griffin, Rosi Braidotti (eds.): Thinking Differently: A Reader in European Women's Studies, Zed Books, London 2002, pp. 182–204, here p. 186 ( side view in Google book search); Leonore Siegele-Wenschkewitz : Tendances de la théologie féministe. In: Liliane Kandel (ed.): Féminismes et Nazisme, Odile Jacob, Paris 2004, 236–249, here pp. 246–247 ( page views in the Google book search).
  162. Gerda Weiler: I reject the wars in the country. The hidden matriarchy in the Old Testament. Verlag Frauenoffensive, Munich 1984.
  163. Riane Eisler: Cup and Sword. Our history, our future. Feminine and masculine principles in history. Arbor Verlag 1993, p. 139.
  164. Extensive chapter on Mathilde Vaerting's pendulum theory in Helga Laugsch: Der Matriarchatsdiskurs. Utz Verlag, Munich 2011, p. 128 ff.
  165. Barbara Alice Mann: Iroquoian Women: The Gantowisas. New York 2000; Barbara Alice Mann: Daughters of Mother Earth: The Wisdom of Native American Women (Native America: Yesterday and Today). 2006. The Tainted Gift: The Disease Method of Frontier Expansion. Praeger Frederick 2009.
  166. ^ Six Nations Traditional Women's Council Fire: Report to the United Nations Committee to End All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). "Since time immemorial, we have always existed alongside the Six Nations Traditional Men's Council Fire with an equal voice in all matters affecting the Original Five Nations (the Cayugas, Oneidas, Mohawks, Onondagas, and Senecas) in this matriarchal society. We later became the Six Nations when the Tuscaroras joined the Six Nations Confederacy in the 17th century. "
  167. The Jesuit ethnologist Lafitau (1681–1746) reports that the Iroquois and Hurons are organized matrilineally and that women have predominance in the family and society, which Lafitau assessed as positive. JF Lafitau: Moeurs des sauvages amér. comparées aux moeurs des premiers temps 1. 2. Paris 1724.
  168. Meret Fehlmann: The speech of matriarchy. 2011, p. 54.
  169. Uwe Wesel: The myth of matriarchy. About Bachofen's mother law and the position of women in early societies before the emergence of state rule. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1980.
  170. Compare Cynthia Eller: The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory. Beacon, 2000, ISBN 0-8070-6792-X .
  171. Cynthia Eller: Gentlemen and Amazons. The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory, 1861-1900, University of California Press 2011, ISBN 978-0-520-26676-6
  172. ^ Peter Davies: Myth, Matriarchy and Modernity. Johann Jakob Bachofen in German Culture 1860–1945. De Gruyter, New York 2010, ISBN 978-3-11-022708-6 .
  173. Meret Fehlmann : The speech of matriarchy. To the history of use of an argument. Chronos, Zurich 2011, ISBN 978-3-0340-1067-2 , pp. 260-261 (doctoral thesis 2010).
  174. Beatrix Mesmer : How science relativizes belief in matriarchy. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung. August 28, 2011, p. 19 ( PDF file; 3.4 MB; 28 pages on nzz.ch).