Vanity Fea

The Harem of a Jealous God

The Harem of a Jealous God

A commentary on David P. Barash’s Is God a Silverback?

How Monotheists Modelled God on a Harem-Keeping Alpha Male.

God as the harem-keeping alpha male. One may ask, where is God’s harem? Well, "we" are the harem. This makes me think of John Donne’s abject feminization in the face of an all-powerful God. An interesting evolutionary origin for the masculine monotheistic gods, although I would historicize this figure by way of an intermediate figure—the divinized kings of the ancient world. They might lead polytheist nations, for the most part, but the king-figure would soon ascend to heaven. The absolute kings of later ages would only continue this tradition in which God is a king in heaven, and kings are divine in their root and right.

Holy Sonnets: Batter my heart, three-person’d God   (Or: God as the Absolute Monarch as an Alpha-rapist)

By John Donne

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Freud on God


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