Lilith: A Proto-Feminist Analysis

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Congress that “the woman of our day, like Eve, stretches out her hand for the fruit of the tree of knowledge that she may know good from evil”. She also provocatively suggests that if Adam would eat more of the fruit, as Eve asked him, his male descendants “might have become too wise to deny women the capabilities equal to men’s”.

In the same way, towards the end of the nineteenth century Lilith was turned into a feminist icon as well. For example in 1880 Moncure Daniel Conway defines Lilith as “a protomartyr of female independence” in his work Demonology and Devil-lore. And Ada Langworthy Collier takes Lilith as a subject for her book Lilith: The Legend of the First Woman (1885), portraying her as an independence seeking woman and a proto-feminist.
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Goldenberg (Goldenberg 1979). As was discussed above, many feminist have build their rationale on arguing for the society’s need to move away from religion in order to provide women with tools of emancipation and build gender equal society. One of such tools is secularism as a concept of liberation of the state’s political and social decisions from religious influence, or simply the separation of Church and State. The secular arguments in feminism were developing slowly in the religious era and became louder and prominent only by the end of the 18th century. French feminist and revolutionary Olympre De Gouge famous for her Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen (1791), even if often speaking about God, was a strong campaigner against religious marriage which she deemed "love and trust's grave”. A Polish feminist, who had publicly confessed her disbelief in Judaism, Ernestine Rose, opposed referring to religion when discussing women’s rights during her lecture in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1851. She claimed that human rights and freedom of women were predicated upon "the laws of humanity" and therefore, women did not require the written authority of either Paul or Moses, because "those laws and the claim are prior" to both. Rose, Ernestine. "A Troublesome Female"Archived from the original on…show more content…
( Joan Scott) The ideas about women being more spiritual and less intellectual were widespread among secularist movements in Europe. Moreover, the previously discussed differences suggested in religiosity of genders were reasons for low participation of women in early secularist movement (Infidel Feminism). Women were often excluded from the secularist movement as it emphasised rationalist intellectualism which was not compatible with Victorian understanding of femininity. Therefore, it would be misleading to suggest that secularism is inherently a feminist principle. Despite that, secularism was embraced by feminists and eventually adopted as a principle favouring gender-equality for its stance on neutrality of citizenship and a potential to ensure a weaker role of the Church in state affairs, which would ease the campaigning for gender equality. Thus, secularism should be considered as a tool to support feminist

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