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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences



SOPHIA: Goddess of Wisdom, Bride of God by Caitlin Matthews (Quest Books) takes the reader on a journey from pre-Christian spirituality to the present day, seeking out the presence of the Goddess--the divine feminine power of wisdom. It is an intensely scholarly yet highly poetic work. Modern history (his story) may have buried the Great Goddess under suffocating layers of denial and revisionism, yet as we move deeper into the "sophianic millennium," scraping away the fallow ground of patriarchy, She emerges anew. Author Caitlin Matthews unveils the veiled Black Goddess (the primal manifestation of the Divine Feminine) in her many hiding places over the last several thousand years. Disempowered and hacked to pieces, she has survived in the major Western religions, philosophies, and mystery schools in many guises. With the aid of the author's trained and intuitive eye, the reader tracks Her faint footsteps through the long dark night of the feminine soul. Along with The White Goddess by Robert Graves, this book is a must-read for those who wish to understand why the Goddess fled, where She went, and how we can reaffirm Her as the giver of practical and spiritual wisdom--celebrating Her primacy in the manifestation of all things.

Wisdom's Feast
Sophia in Study and Celebration
by Susan Cole, Marian Ronan, and Hal Taussig
Sheed & Ward, 115 E. Armout Blvd., P.O. Box 419492, Kanas City, MO 64141-6492; orders; 800-333-7373
$ 14.95, paper, 228 pages, notes, index; songs
ISBN 1-55612-856-8

Another review by Karen Vaughan of the 1986 edition.

In this updated edition of the 1986 work we are provided a unique handbook of how to invoke the divine feminine as identified with wisdom. It combines the theory and practice of the celebration of Sophia - whose name literally means "wisdom" - in one useful and handy volume. In this new edition of Wisdom's Feast, the authors combine exercises, liturgies, sermons, study guides, prayers and meditations to create the first book to guide book of rituals for experiencing Sophia in worshipful setting.The work has been popular with women's circle worship and among congregations who wish to extend their worship in gender inclusive ways. Highly recommended for Christians who feel some trepidation toward invoking the feminine divine because of its strong biblical basis and for anyone who wants more than a superficial orientation toward enriching their ceremonial life.

Susan Cole, Marian Ronan and Hal Taussig developed study and celebration of Sophia after years of research and implementation in women's groups. Cole and Taussig are Methodist ministers; Ronan is an author in the field of image-building.

Wisdom's Feast is a comprehensive work with much practical information that includes:

  • An introduction to Sophia.
  • Activities for women's groups, churches and academic settings.
  • Exercises on the most prominent Sophia themes in the Bible.
  • Meditations and sermons.
  • A comparative study of the biblical Sophia and other goddess figures.
  • Studies of Sophia as mother, creator, wisdom and teacher.

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