False Goddesses 
            Thealogical Reflections on the Patriarchal Cult of Diana,
                                            Princess Of Wales
                                                               by Melissa Raphael

        Melissa Raphael  considers herself a thea/theologian.  She is Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education, UK,  teaching in the field of religion and gender.  Her research interests include thealogy and Jewish feminist theology.  She is the author of  Thealogy and Embodiment: The Post-Patriarchal Reconstruction of Female Sacrality,  Rudolf Otto and the Concept of Holiness, Thealogy: Discourse on the Goddess, and the forthcoming  The Female Face of God in Auschwitz: A Jewish Feminist Theology of the Holocaust.  She is  married and has a young daughter.

        In her chapter, Raphael warns that sometimes the representations created in Goddess Spirituality  appear to be subversive but are really very traditional.  She takes a unique approach by examining reactions to the death of Princess Diana to explore the contemporary meaning of the Goddess.  She argues that the “Cult of Diana” mourned an image of sanctity that was constructed and mediated by patriarchy, which creates an idea of female divinity that women can never hope to achieve.  In this manner, it furthers women's sense of spiritual unworthiness. Raphael discusses what it means when women discover the Goddess/self and say they are the Goddess. She concludes that the Goddess is indivisible from post-patriarchal female becoming, but cautions that there is a danger that women will be bought off by post-Christian, but still patriarchal, visions of female divinity.

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