Why are sex and jewelry so often connected? In ancient stories about rings, men accuse women of unchastity only to have the ring prove that it was the man, in fact, who was unchaste; the ring also validates the woman’s child as the true heir. In modern stories about necklaces, real jewelry proves that the woman was false. According to foremost religious scholar Wendy Doniger, these stories show how widespread the desire is to project the responsibility for sexual betrayal onto an external force like a gold ring or a diamond necklace.
Doniger will discuss “The Mythology of Women and Their Jewelry,” in a public lecture on Monday, November 9, 5:30pm, in Rockefeller Hall, room 300. This event is the Religion Department’s 2015 Frederic C. Wood Lecture and is free and open to the public.
Author of more than thirty books including Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Siva, The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology and Women, Androgynes, and Other Mythical Beasts, Doniger is also the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago. Currently, she is the editor of the journal, History of Religions. Recently her book The Hindus: An Alternative History, was recalled by the Penguin Press India after legal pressure from Hindu nationalists. The book then became a cause for free speech activists world-wide.
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