The Alphabet Versus the Goddess
The Conflict Between Word and Image
By Leonard Shlain
(Phoenix Audio, Audio Cassette, Abridged, 9781574535693)
Publication Date: September 2005
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Is it sheer coincidence that the European witch hunts quickly followed the invention of the printing press? In his groundbreaking work The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, Leonard Shlain proposes that the invention of writing, particularly alphabetic writing, rewired the human brain, causing profound cultural changes in history, religion, and gender relations. While the advent of literacy brought innumerable benefits to society, the switch to left-brain thinking upset the balance between men and women. The rise of male dominance led to a corresponding decline in goddess veneration and the status of women. Ending on a positive note, Shlain notes that the return of an image-oriented culture - through the media of photography, film, television, and the Internet - has brought about a sharp rise in the feminine values denigrated during the 5,000-year reign of patriarchy and literacy.
Leonard Shlain is Chairman of Laparoscopic Surgery at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco and is Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. He is the author of "The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image" and "Sex, Time, and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution". Dr. Shlain lectures internationally and has been featured on "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer" and NPR. He lives in Mill Valley, California.