A New Reading of the Serpent Myth in the Ancient and Modern Arab Culture
Starting from Babylon to Greece, India and other parts of the old world, the symbol of the serpent occurred constantly in the myth, culture and religion of man. Mediterranean deities are represented carrying a snake in one or both hands. In addition, the serpent’s knowledge was associated with the wisdom of the gods. The serpent is one of the oldest symbols of female power. Woman and serpent together were considered holy in ancient Arabia, since both seemed to embody the power of life. Serpents were considered immortal because of their ability to renew themselves by shedding their old skins, while woman’s procreative attributes made her seem immortal.
Raja Alem’s novel Fatima: A Story of Arabia (2002) is concerned with this mystic relationship. The heroin is a semi-illiterate woman who has the ability to cross over the human domain into the reptile world. She is a woman-serpent. This paper will use the cultural approach to explore the mysterious relationship between woman and serpent as presented in the novel. The focus will be on how the image of woman-serpent has developed and metamorphosed from ancient Arabian age into modern times, shedding lights onto historical facts and cultural innuendoes.
Key words: Serpent; Goddess; Arabian woman; Pre-Islamic religion; Arabian Peninsula
Agha-Jaffar, Tamara (Ed.). (2004). Women and Goddesses: In Myth and Sacred Text. Pearson: Longman.
Albright, W. F. (1966). The Proto-Sinaitic Inscriptions and Their Decipherment. Cambridge: Harvard UP.
Alem, R. (2002). Fatma: A Novel of Arabia. New York: Syracuse P.
Briffault, Robert (1977). The Mothers. New York: Antheneum.
Campbell, J. (1977). Primitive Mythology. London: Penguin Books.
Exhibtion Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (2010). Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities.
Frazer, J. (1971). The Golden Bough. New York: Macmillan.
Frye, N. (1957). Anatomy of Criticism. Princeton: Princeton UP.
Frye, N. (1970). The Stubborn Structure. Ithaca: Cornell UP.
Harding, M. Esther (1976). Woman’s Mysteries. New York: Harper & Row.
Hofner, Maria (1970). Religionen der Menschheit Die vorislamischen Religionen Arabiens, Kohlhammer.
Hume, K. (1984). Fantasy and Mimesis: Responses to Reality in Western Literature. New York: Methuen.
Langdon, S. H. (1931). The Mythology of All the World, Semitic Vol 5. Norwood: Plimpton Press.
Mackenzie, D. A. (2005). Myths of Babylonia and Assyria. E. Book Distributed Proofreader.
Nielsen, D. (1904). Die Altarabische Mondreligion und Die Mosaische, K. J. Trübner, Strassburg.
Wolkstein, D., & Samuel Kramer (1983). Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth. New York: Harper & Row.
ابن منظور الافريقي. لسان العرب. المجلد 12. بيروت: دار صاد
- There are currently no refbacks.
If you have already registered in Journal A and plan to submit article(s) to Journal B, please click the CATEGORIES, or JOURNALS A-Z on the right side of the "HOME".
We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Copyright © 2010 Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture
Address: 730, 77e AV, Laval, Quebec, H7V 4A8, Canada
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org