Women.... and Other.... Beasts or "Why Can't a Woman Be More like a Man" Review by: R. J. Z. Werblowsky Numen, Vol.

29, Fasc. 1 (Jul., 1982), pp. 123-131 Published by: BRILL Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3269935 . Accessed: 21/01/2014 03:44
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1 Numen. Black Religion. obvious. the good fairy.XXIX. AND OTHER.e. 21 Jan 2014 03:44:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ... OR "WHY CAN'T A WOMAN BE MORE LIKE A MAN" WOMEN. Women in in Divinity Religion and the like seem to be flourishing particularly Schools and Faculties of Theology-a phenomenon forwhich there is a very simple and obvious explanation. The corollary of this basic fact is that social and cultural. Women's Studies and Women-in-Religion were ever heard of. but since this reviewarticle is not an essay on the sociologyof academic fads the subject shall not be further pursued here.. overcompensations etc.. In the firstplace it has always been taken for granted by most students(pace Bachofen and his small band of latter-daydevotees) that practically all historical cultures. cultures characterised by male dominance..complexes. the destructiveand cannibalistic weibliche.perhaps more than any otherbranch of the historicaland social sciences. institutionsreflectmale dominance. BEASTS (professorHiggins in My Fair Lady) (Reviewarticle) R. But to mitigatethe impressionof male chauvinism conveyed by the preceding lines it reactionary to re-state certaincommonplaces thatwere be may useful.30.. including the so-called primitive ones. Z.63.Fasc. hackneyed and tritecommonplaces.the mother-including Mother Earth.. The writer craves the reader's indulgence for repeating here some old. Consequently symbols of the feminine (whether the ewig the virgin. including religious. the whore.repressions. male interestsand (the psychoanalyst would add) male fears. The reasons forthis lop-sided state of affairsare not our present concern.143 on Tue. J. are male cultures i. WERBLOWSKY The studyof religionshas been blighted.however. demoness. obvious to everybodylong before Women's Liberation. by the appearance and mushroomingof fads of which one can only hope that theywill disappear much as they have come. This content downloaded from 207. male attitudes.Vol.

143 on Tue. Sierksma dealt with this aspect of the matterin his work on religious iconography (The GodsAs We Shape Them. 21 Jan 2014 03:44:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 1960) and Deities(unfortunately out of print especially in his Tibet's Terrifying both in the original and in the reprintedition). was very much pre-occupied by the problems which this situation generates. nobody This content downloaded from 207. Werblowsky Mother Goddess. Unfortunately Sierksma was also a great writer.63. according to him. Z. with a few exceptions. In 1962 he published (in Dutch) The Rape oftheWomen 's Mysteries. It is not only a source of desires. other languages than the one of which he was past master. but which they to men.30. and lastly. Magna Mater or what-have-you-are malesymbols and should not be mistaken for self-expressions of women. it would be the diary of a woman whose personalityand role had been formed(or de-formed)by a male-dominated culture. gression. J. see Historyof ReligionsV. In the aforementioned work Sierksma examined the various and widespread myths of the aboriginal power of women which they held thanksto theirpossession of certain mysteries. Among many other things. lusts and satisfactions. call forth. 1966. Sierksma also had an intuitiveinsight into the relations between sexuality and aggression.sexualityis also somethingwhich males never learned to master. but also of frustrations and fearswhich. a "secondary" response to male dominance). professorof the phenomenology of religion in the Universityof Leiden. 304).and his excessive sensitivityto styleand language as vehicles of expressionpreventedhim fromusing. it is obviously going to take a lot more time until our culture will have to enable women to be reallythemselvesand to changed sufficiently create a genuinelyand authenticallyfeminineview and symbolisation of reality. propriate intensify. when projected on the apsource and/or or displace agobject. His of lost the these subsequently analysis mythsenabled Sierksma to look withnew eyes at the phenomenon of male "secret societies" as well as female secretsocieties(the latterbeing.124 R. p. (I drew attentionto thisregrettable impoverishment of international scholarship due to Sierksma's linguistic fastidiousness in my review of his Dutch book on messianic movements. Without being a dogmatic Freudian. The late Fokke Sierksma. Even ifby a strokeof good fortune an archaeologistin Rome should dig up the secretdiary of one of the Vestal Virgins. Afterall. Thirdly.

She deals courageously with subjects that are. an enlarged and revised version of this controversial but highly stimulating and important study-alas. formany readers. outside the official her professionalexpertise (e.63.. and/orb) withthe need to guard the virginalpurityof theirwomenfolk. Altogether we owe a great debt to Sierksma's student. D... Jenner. The whole of chapter 1 is a This content downloaded from 207. again in Dutch.under the title"Religion.g.. 21 Jan 2014 03:44:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . O'Flaherty's recent book dealing with related problems. but-errafortiter! of all neo-Lutheran the battle-cry is not afraid to tackle tricky comparative religionists-she happily matters of substance as well as method.. One does not have to be a psychoanalytic expert in the mechanisms of projection in order to guess that the naturallypure men are the obvious and appropriate guardians of female purity. strictly fieldof speaking. Celtic mythologyand the role of horses and mares therein) and she unabashedly confronts(three cheers for Wendy!) the puritanical purists who still use the word "eclecticism" as a termof opprobrium. a male culture is (consciously or subconsciously) obsessed by its dubiously controlledsexual desires.. The way thisworksout in Indian cultureon the level of storiesand illustratedin the instructive and enjoyable folk-talesis delightfully of A and similar Amore Shinn. O'Flaherty and which.' The author is writingas one of the leading specialistsin Indian studies. the more it is also obsessed a) with the notion of the irredeemablylibidinous nature of woman.and other.Mr K. and valiantly to proclaim. Sexuality and Aggression". D. Equally controversial.beasts 125 can contemplate Tibetan yab-yum bronzes or other images without of sexualityand agthe combination struck extraordinary being by the even venture One might generalisationthat the more gression.Women. Wendy D. forhaving investedso much labour in producing. that sexual freedom (= licentiousness and profligacy) is essentially a corrupt and wicked importationfrom the corrupt and wicked West. will undoubtedly replace earlier translationsof this Indian classic.2 And what a comfort it must be to certain non-western pre-modern culturesto have mythologicalor theologicalassurance.30.' story-book message is transmitted the on in the new RIG VEDA anthology "Women" chapter by edited by W..143 on Tue.on the basis of Sierksma's subsequent work as well as his unpublished papers.highlystimulatingand importantis Prof.

J. thrownfroman archimedic point in India.126 R. if one may venture a guess. probably were.g.g.143 on Tue.tryFreud. except verbal similarity. Indeed so rich that no review can possibly do justice to it.. 10 of Pranabananda Jash's History of Saivism (Calcutta. and probook is fullof brilliantand provocativeinsights. Werblowsky methodologicalintroduction. Students of comparative religion deduce frommythology may wonder how much we can legitimately alone. expectingthe researcherto carrya verywide and catholic assortmentof tools in his box. though they may demur here and there. horses.63. Welsh and Irish mythological material. Strauss' bricolage. Students of Indian material have always been would go: fascinated by the extremes to which Hindu mythology their and their the seed bindu to super-asceteskeeping point thatthe them the makes celestial tapas generated by gods uncomfortable. ProfessorsDumezil and LeviStrauss. This content downloaded from 207.30. the reader remains grateful:instead of brushing aside her arguments he will preferto hopefully wait (to use an Americanism) for furtherevidence to strengthen e. present quoting samples because his enthusiasm mightrun away with him and he mightend up quoting the whole of this most quotable book. also tries to catch Greek. brilliantly is of The reviewer afraid vocatively expressed. Experts in Celtic or Greek mythologymay raise their eyebrows at the cavalier treatmentof some themes (e. The formerbecause the net. Thus it is one thingto talk about mythsor even iconography of Ardhanarishvara. mares and other equine beings). It is a great book. The two readers who must have enjoyed thebook most. Surely the subject deserves fuller treatmentthan accorded to it in ch. masterfully playing with the whole gamut of possible symbolic combinations and permutations. But even where O'Flaherty's supportiveevidence is inadequate. Needless to say that her toolbox apwithLeviproach has nothingin common. Z.and quite another to enquire ifhe ever formed the object of a (sectarian?) cult.. 21 Jan 2014 03:44:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and a very rich book. if it is about heresy try theology". the slender psychoanalyticbase of Carstair's or Kakar's sugAltogetherthe gestionsconcerningIndian culture-and-psychology. She advocates a "tool-box approach". 1974)."If it is about castration. Experts in Indian mythology will probably have most of the fun. The latter because O'Flaherty proves herselfa dazzling (and very oftenconvincing)jongleur.

the male thatwithholds(his semen) increases life-force. But the mythof the androgyne is only one of Prof. (milk.Women. and especially the great survey which also deals with Indian This content downloaded from 207.g. chastity/ libido.frustration/aggression.. equilibrium/disequilibrium. Rochebhave-Spenl6.g. instead of going in forthe golden mean it prefersthe two golden extremes.and other. the "erotic" versus woman as lover/consort non-eroticfemale).. control uninhibited release versus (both e.beasts 127 and on other occasions spilling their carefullyhoarded semen all over the place at the mere sight of a lovely maiden or apsaras. otherwise-. there also the mythof the androgyneis bound to turnup. but she does not hesitateto acknowledge her debt to the great mastereven where her verysophisticatedtreatmentgoes beyond him. perspective Psychology e. sweat and more). human/divine(including the different types and levels of good fluid/badfluid "hierogamies"). the limits set by algebra) to the possible combinations and permutations: the nourishing and the killing female/mother.Paris. Hermaphrodite... Needless to say that where completeness/incompleteness (and their concomitant mechanisms of fear-compensation-aggression) and/or the pair inequality/balancecome into play.eros/incest. 21 Jan 2014 03:44:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . The female that withholdsher fluid (especially milk. Paris. As is O'Flaherty put it in one of her earlier works: Hindu mythology not like Aristotelianethics. 1964. son/mother.. There is no end (except. for Greek mythologythe very short but excellent book by Marie Delcourt.g. husband/goddessthe merry-go-round consort. although thereare cases of poisonous and deadly milk too) is And so evil. Les Rdles Masculins et Feminins. has started: male/female. of course. O'Flaherty's many themes and hence it would be unfairto complain about the omission of certain referencesin the bibliography(e.e.30..143 on Tue.. in of Social as the Anne-Marie 1958. the and as mother(i. symbiosis/mutuality. O'Flaherty undoubtedof the subject broughtdown on him ly knew thatEliade's treatment some of the harshest (and rudest) criticism. and blood-menstrual tears.63.. in dance)-they all are deftlyexhibited before our eyes until the reader reels with dizziness. O'Flaherty probably intentionallyignored the Chinese material (which she could easily have quoted from van Gulik) showing how sexuality can be conceived as the male art of drawing the principle of life fromthe female partner withoutlosing his own to her.

examines the problem fromthe point of view of Mahayana texts This content downloaded from 207. Das DoppelteGeschlecht. It is hardly necessary to add that this story (apocryphal? authentic? reflectingthe attitudes of whom and of what period?) is a gifthorse-or rathera giftmare-to all students of "women-in-religion". predicting same time that as a result of this decision the sangha would suffer and its life-spanbe diminished. her general introduction introductions to the several chapters. Horner (see obituarynoticein NUMENXXVIII (1981). The author could have bolstered her case by extendingthe lessons to be learned fromthe androgynous (I apologise forthe tautology)Shiva Ardhanarishvara to the ubiquitous Shiva Nataraja who is practicallyalways (I am using a qualifying phrase since I do not feel competent to say "always" toutcourt)"androgynised" by providing him with one male (elongated) and one female (short. Z. 274-5) published her Women historicalsignificanceand possibly also karma in the factthatMiss Horner stilllived to writethe Foreword to Diana Paul's study. in 1930. but-as Freud would have noted with a satisfiedsmile-through "displacement upwards". (My colleague Dr D.128 R. Shulman tells me that this iconographic subtletyis canonical: it is not accidental but in accordance with the specificprescriptionsin the shastras).1955).: StuEthnologische in Ritus und Mythos.30. about to do. the late Miss I. Compared to the vibrantebullience of Sierksma and O'Flaherty. Paul ostensiblywants to provide an anthologyof anfromthe Sannotated texts(most of them translatedby her directly as well as the skritand Chinese originals). J. add up to a major thesis. Werblowsky material by H. ornament) ear. The "mysogyny" of early Buddhism has oftenbeen commented upon and discussed. There is pp.we must assume that he did so not in a moment of weakness but in full knowledge of what he was doing viz. Over fifty years ago. Diana Paul5 is almost humdrumlysolid. 21 Jan 2014 03:44:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . but adorned with a feminine jewel viz. There is male andien zur Bisexualitdt drogyneityversusfemale androgyneity.143 on Tue. Bi-sexuality? Yes. Almost but not quite. If the Buddha responded to Ananda's request at the and permittedthe establishingof an orderof nuns.Prof. Paul is concerned with the question how Buddhist egalitarianism and she came to termswith its even stronger heritageof mysogyny. B. under Primitive Buddhism. Baumann. for although Prof.63. combined with the texts themselves.

broad feet as well as his/herhalf-bare (male) breast) runs counter to Chinese notions of femininity. the greater Prajnaparamita in Eight Thousand Verses.to to the texts. referring to "Queen Shrimala (fortunately Who Had the Lion's Roar".e.Women.. a Chinese phenomenon. of course. the Lotus Sutra and many lesser-knowntexts. Paths forWomen Leading to Salvation (the nun and the good daughter.30. Paul will elaborate more fullyon the subject in her future work. chapter 7 of the Vimalakirti-nirdesha. deals with the iconography of the Indian Avalokiteshvara and not with the Chinese Kuan-Yin. Diana Paul's sense of humour enables her to bring out the wry humour implicit in many Mahayana sutras e. as Prof. Once Kannon appeared to him in a dream to assure him thatifbad karma should ever cause him-horribile dictu-to rape a woman. The transformation of Avalokiteshvara is. sticking in iconographic evidence.. de Mallman's standard monograph. transformed temporarily The moral of the Mahayana storyis clear: in true enlightenment the duality male/female is transcended and has become meaningless.g.and other.. Among the sutras adduced and translatedare the relevantchaptersfromthe Vimalakirti-nirdesha... Choosing her sutras with much various types: the Temptress and the circumspection.she identifies Mother ("traditional views ofwomen"). uncovered. among others). and one hopes that Prof. he (Kannon) would be thatwoman! In India he is male..63. Paul. let alone of Confucian propriety. Paul. The femininecharacter of Kuan-Yin is a dubious affair. Kuan-Yin as well as the "female Buddha" with a question-mark!)..althoughmentionshould be made of a curious incident in the visionary biography of Shinran Shonin.Prof. afterenquiring of the celestial maiden why she had not transformedherselfinto a male. There are Chinese texts in which the compassionate Kuan-Yin comes This content downloaded from 207.. where Sariputra. suddenly finds himself into a female and the maiden into a male. and-the Bodhisattvas with and without sexual transformations most intriguing and questionable ofall-''Images ofthe Feminine" including. But the iconography(Kuan-Yin's visible i. 21 Jan 2014 03:44:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . The chapter on Kuan-Yin invites further study. Nobody Japan would consider Kannonsama as essentiallyfeminine. referred to by Prof.does not deal withthe put it mildly.beasts 129 (wisely leaving aside Tantrism).143 on Tue. Paul correctlyobserves.Mme.

then why was There are. to the Prof.g. have liked to hear Judge Dee hold forth and one wishes that Diana Paul would place us even more in her debt by taking up this subject in a futuremonographic study. worthywas Hsfian-tsang) and his companions suddenly find themselvespregnant! The ambiguities revealed. Z. 21 Jan 2014 03:44:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Diana Paul could have spiced her book witha reference hilarious episode in the novel (ch. Yu's masterfuland sensitive version of which vol. Arthur Waley's inadequate and very abbreviated translationof one of the many versions is now superseded by Prof. 53) were our unruly monkey's master.If the iconography of Indian male faces seemed "effeminate" to the Chinese. On the otherhand quite a number of Chinese porcelain figuresof e. Prof.63. however. her n. 267 ff. Werblowsky perilouslyclose to being a whore. Kuan-Yin the chosen victim of sexual transformation? in fact. prostrateyourselfon your faces and worship him This content downloaded from 207.30. the Bodhisattva Manjusri are as feminineas any Kuan-Yin in "her" capacity of Goddess of Mercy could ever possibly be.130 R. In the sutra translatedand quoted by Diana Paul (p. Speaking of ambiguities and mythologicalbeasts. though perhaps not irrelevant. or ratherpre-supposed. The Gospel according to Thomas.plentyof extremelymasculine Chinese Kuan-Yins. 36 has recentlycome offthe press. one of the best known textsfromthe Gnostic libraryfound at Nag Hammadi. by the works reviewed seem to be ubiquitous. One would on thisparticularquestion. Is the Chinese female semi-transformation due to specifically Chinese elements?Is it because what was male to Indian eyes looking at Indian iconography is "effeminate" and ultimately feminine to the Chinese beholder? This "explanation".. Yu is less interestedin legensees as reflecting dary monkeysthan in the novel whichhe correctly the Taoist-Confucian-Buddhist syncretismof Ming (but not only Ming) China-the same religious realitythat found its theoretical expression in the discussions and controversiesregardingsan chiao. Anthony C. makes Jesus say "When you see the one who was not born of woman. J.) there is no evidence at all that the Bodhisattva is female. the saintlymonk "Tripitaka" (the proper Chinese name of this 7the cent. briefmention should also be made of the monkey-heroof Wu Ch'engen's wellknown novel. 280 says the truthnot only about that particularline but about the whole text. 17 on p.143 on Tue. is hardly sufficient.

. Lustful Kings. Harmondsworth). it even had thismother survive her divine son! Buddhism. in order that the man is not the man and the woman is not the woman . pp. Chicago). Mythical 5 Diana Y. 1981. Women.. + 333.unlike the orthodoxChristian. to theWest. University Chicago). (Asian Humanities Press. 6 4 en Agressie Fokke Sierksma. TheJourney This content downloaded from 207. Berkeley. 198. 1981. thenyou will enter[thekingdom]".vol. (pp. Queen Shuddhodana.. Beasts(The and Other Androgynes Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty.:Buddhist Hindu Stories ofLife (Oxford Univ.?2. Shinn.beasts 131 forHe is your Father". Hence Queen Maya had to die seven days after giving birth. and The One. Religie... xxii 1980. pp. This sounds and almost like a mottoforMircea Eliade's The Two very edifying. Lancaster-Miller Publishers.). foreverywoman who makes herselfa man will enterinto the kingdomof heaven". TheRig Veda: one hundred and eight translated and anselected. pp. on the other hand.143 on Tue. Transcending dualities? The same gnosticGospel has Jesus say: "when you make the two one and the inside like the outside. Horner.63. 453. xviii+ 382. has Simon Peter say "Let Mary not referring from us.25.). pp. pp. Groningen).Non-gnosticChristianity not only opted fora birthwithout an earthlyfather but froma Virgin Mother. But the truthwill out. New York-Oxford-Toronto). P. Amore & Larry D. ofChicago Press. for women are not worthyof life". though to any Bodhisattvas. vanBaaren anda postscript 1979. 3 a Preface Th. and you make the man and the woman a single one.and Prince Siddharta was broughtup by his less compromising aunt.Sexualiteit (Uitg. RJZW MaidensandAscetic and Roy C. Press..with byProf. and Jesus go away he had not read the Mahayana sutras translated because (perhaps by Diana Paul) replies "Lo... 293-341) byK. viii + 341.. could not bear the idea of the Perfect Redeemer's birth from a mother.. Yu (transl. Women in Buddhism. pp. 1980.30. could not bear the idea of a mother of flesh and blood co-existingwith the Buddha.. 3 (University of Chicago AnthonyC.and other. Jenner. 2 notated by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty (Penguin Books. Paul. It is withreliefthatone turnsfromthe gnostic Gospel to the Vimalakirti-nirdesha. chapter 7. 1979. The gnostic. Calif. Forewordby I. I will draw her so thatI will make her a man so that she too may become a living spiritwhich is like you man.Women.. Konstapel. 21 Jan 2014 03:44:55 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . hymns. B. D. and the gnosticGospel. 343. Press.