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The Chalice and the Blade: Models of Partnership Between Women and Men

Riane Eisler's multi-disciplinary book, The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future (1987), has been hailed as "the most important work since Darwin's Origin of Species (1859)." The book derives from a ten-year study of 25,000 years of history. After reviewing the religion, art, history, economics, anthropology, psychology, politics, and archeology of Western civilization, Ms. Eisler concludes that patriarchy and warfare are "a 5,000-year dominator detour" from the peace and harmony with nature of the previous 20,000 years.

The book also indicates that the war of the sexes has relatively recent origins. The premise for this argument is that men and women lived under more equitable social structures in the time before recorded history, when people worshipped a life-giving goddess of nature. In such cultures women were respected as mothers and priestesses, but did not oppress men.

The Chalice and the Blade is the basis for the Center of Partnership Studies, which Ms. Eisler and her husband, David Loye, founded last year. The center's goal is to prove that the peaceful co-existence of 5,000 years ago is an option for today. Ms. Eisler maintains that if we managed to create an idyllic world once, we can do it again. Satellite centers in Seattle, Chicago, Princeton, San Francisco, Hawaii, and Santa Fe attest to the growing impact of Ms. Eisler's philosophy, a philosophy that "validates a belief in humanity's capacity for benevolence and cooperation."

If you would like to join Ms. Eisler for a 5:30 reception and 6:00 dinner, please complete and return the attached coupon to the Athenaeum. The lecture begins at 7:00.