The third volume in Campbell’s monumental four-volume series, The Masks of God, traces the mythological underpinnings of Western religions: the shift from female-centered to male-dominated mythologies
Once upon a time in the West, the focal figure of all mythology and worship was the bountiful goddess Earth. She reigned supreme as the mother and nourisher of life and as the receiver of the dead for rebirth. As Joseph Campbell here elucidates, she was more than a symbol of fertility; she was “a metaphysical symbol: the arch personification of the power of Space, Time, and Matter, within whose bound all beings arise and die.”
How, when, and why did this change? Campbell shows how “the mythologies of the goddess mother were radically transformed, reinterpreted, and in large measure even suppressed by those suddenly intrusive patriarchal warrior tribesmen whose traditions have come down to us chiefly in the Old and New Testaments and in the myths of Greece.”
He goes on to describe the mythological underpinnings of Western religions — Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism — and their historical influence on one another. No one who cares about history, mythology, religion, or past or current events in Western civilization can do without this venerable yet perennially fresh analysis.