The Mutable GoddessParticularity and Eclecticism within the Goddess Public
Marilyn Gottschall received her Ph.D. from the Social Ethics Program, School of Religion at the University of Southern California in 1998. She is an Assistant Professor in the Religion Department at Whittier College, in Whittier, California. Her research interests include feminist ethics and postmodern culture, and New Religious Movements. She has been a participant and observer within the Goddess Movement for more than ten years.
Gottschall reminds us that examining a phenomenon through a particular lens allows us to see some things more clearly, but often obscures those things that fall outside the boundaries of the lens. Looking at Goddess Spirituality as a religion, within its traditional framework of meaning, may limit what we can see. Gottschall suggests we shift our perspective to understand better how the Goddess community approaches the sacred. Rather than a New Religious Movement, her survey research presented in her chapter indicates that Goddess Spirituality is an expression of popular religiosity, which is dynamic, syncretic, and more typical of this time in human history than our traditional understanding of religion can accommodate. And typical of its participants are increasingly idiosyncratic beliefs, practices and spiritual identities.
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