REINVENTING EVE: Modern Woman in Search of Herself by Kim Chernin

REINVENTING EVE: Modern Woman in Search of Herself

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

In this book-length essay, poet and theoretician Chernin (The Flame Bearers, The Hungry Self) imagines how woman's life and consciousness would be different if Judeo-Christian culture embraced woman's miraculous ability to give birth and suckle, rather than take revenge on it. Arguing that the story of Adam and Eve transforms ""woman's ability to give life into a biological curse, instead of being celebrated as a creative force entirely analgous to the power of a Goddess,"" Chemin draws on mythology, psychoanalytic theory, literature, and comparative religion to prove her point. Simultaneously a personal essay about Chernin's own movement toward a woman-identified spirituality and a well-organized and scholarly account of how Goddess religions and feminine power have been squeezed out of Western culture, this work offers a wealth of information, but is not always credible or convincing. Chernin makes a huge fuss over the Gnostic Gospels--early Christian writings which include accounts of worship of both a Mother and a Father--without exploring why these texts, discovered in 1945 and widely publicized, have had minimal impact on contemporary religion. In like vein, she details ""the breast theory"" of human development--which focuses on the child's unpleasant discovery that the mother is not a magical, infallible Goddess--without explaining why the discovery that the mother is human should be so upsetting. Nevertheless, this is a book that philosphers, feminists, and religious leaders will find full of valuable insights. Like Susan Griffin (Made from this Earth, 1983), Marilyn French, and Carol Christ, Chernin's writings about women's history and culture place feminist theory into a larger context.

Pub Date: Sept. 28th, 1987
Publisher: Times Books