Male focused mythology has become very popular in recent times because many societies have been changing from matriarchal to patriarchal. The exploits of gods and other masculine figures have been given much attention by mythology scholars who have worked very hard to ensure that the masculine figures have been popularized. Proponents of matriarchal societies argue that matriarchal societies promote gender equality and peaceful coexistence without violence, while those opposed to the matriarchal societies see them as being backward and primitive and paint the patriarchal society as civilized (Leening, 1997).
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The manifestation of the masculine divinity in the Bible and other stories generates a great interest from mythology scholars who have divergent views about the male divine. This paper will classify the male story according to a system of types and, at the same time, highlight the roles and responsibilities of masculine figures in comparative mythology.
There are many stories that have been published to try and fully classify and identify the exact roles and responsibilities of the male divine. The male divinity has been the center stage in many spiritual circles around the world for some time before the re-emergence of the goddess divinity (Leening, 1997). The divine masculine is depicted in the three major stages of human life. The three stages are youth, maturity, and old age, which represent a trinity in Christian circles. According to the Hindu religion, the tripartite nature of the male divinity is represented by Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. These three deities of the Hindu religion differ in terms of their cultural aspects, but they still represent the tripartite nature of the divine masculine. The divine feminine becomes complete with the presence of the divine masculinity (Moore, 1996).
In the patriarchal system, men are portrayed as the central figures of authority in the social setup. The women and children fall under the authority of the father in the family unity. Women are expected to be subordinate to men in the institution of marriage. The adult men in a patriarchal society have authority over women and control the legal, political, economic, and social aspects of the society (Leening, 1997). This system has been regarded as unjust by the proponents of gender equality and in the process eliciting a lot of debate and competition.
There have been conflicting views about the gender of God with some religions arguing that God is of the male gender and others, arguing that God’s image envisions both male and female divinity. The male divine is characterized by power, energy, and authority. There are both regional and historical differences in the origin of these stories that makes it difficult for one to come up with a clear conclusion on the exact roles and responsibilities of the male divine (Moore, 1996).
|Myth||Male Devine roles and characteristics|
|Sumerian myth||Sexual imagery and civilization|
|Yoruba myth||Trickster elements with political leadership|
|Aztec myth||Survival of humans|
Fig1. A notes table showing the characteristics of the male divine roles
In conclusion, it is important to note that the subject of male divinity has become very controversial in current society. Despite opposition from feminine divinity proponents, many societies and religions still regard the masculine figure as the more superior of the two. The male divine is always associated with authority and power.
Leening, D. A. (1997). God: Myths of the male divine. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Moore, S. D. (1996). God’s gym: Divine male bodies of the Bible. New York, NY: Routledge.