Miriam Robbins Dexter

Miriam Robbins Dexter

MRDexterMiriam Robbins Dexter holds a Ph.D. in ancient Indo-European languages, archaeology, and comparative mythology, from UCLA. Her first book, Whence the Goddesses: A Source Book (1990), in which she translated texts from thirteen languages, was used for courses she taught at UCLA for a decade and a half. She completed and supplemented the final book of Marija Gimbutas, The Living Goddesses. (1999) Her 2010 book, co-authored with Victor Mair, Sacred Display: Divine and Magical Female Figures of Eurasia, won the 2012 Association for the Study of Women and Mythology Sarasvati award for best nonfiction book on women and mythology. In 2013, Miriam and Victor published a new monograph, “Sacred Display: New Findings” in the University of Pennsylvania online series, Sino-Platonic Papers. In 2015, with Vicki Noble, she edited the anthology, Foremothers of the Women’s Spirituality Movement: Elders and Visionaries (2015) (Susan Koppelman award for best edited feminist anthology, 2016). Miriam is the author of over 30 scholarly articles and 11 encyclopedia articles on ancient female figures. She has edited and co-edited sixteen scholarly volumes. For thirteen years, she taught courses in Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit languages in the department of Classics at USC. She has guest-lectured at the New Bulgarian University (Sophia, Bulgaria) and “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University (Iaşi, Moldavia, Romania).

She is particularly interested in the honoring of all possible facets of the female character—the erotic, the ferocious, the monstrous —although it is frequently a particular patriarchal culture which assigns monstrosity to a female figure such as the Greco-Roman Medusa, the Germanic Ran, and other frightening female figures. In patriarchal cultures, this monstrous aspect of the female divine is something which must be murdered, usually by a patriarchal “hero” such as Perseus. Her work stresses the importance of seeing all facets of what male-centered cultures have labeled a “feminine monster” and to look at the female figures through a non-biased rather than a male-centered lens.

“As always, my goal for my work is a feminist one: in all of my work I discuss and honor the feminine divine (rather than a singular male divinity). This allows women to identify with the divine, just as men are able to identify with an anthropomorphic male divinity. I believe that this is an important part of radical feminism. “



“Sacred Display: New Findings.”  Miriam Robbins Dexter and Victor H. Mair.  Sino-Platonic Papers.  (Online Journal, University of Pennsylvania)  http://sino-platonic.org/    (September, 2013)

“Sheela-na-gig: Sexualität und die Göttin im AltenIrland.”  In Kelten Kulte Göttinnen: Spuren einer verborgenen Kultur, edited by Kurt Derungs, Ph.D.  Verlag edition amalia, Akademie der Landschaft.  German translation of “The Sheela na gigs,  Sexuality, and the Goddess in Ancient Ireland.” Miriam Robbins Dexter and Starr Goode, 243-271. 2013.

LA TERRIBILE, EROTI CA E “BELLA” MEDUSA E IL SERPENTE E L’UCCELLO NEOLITICI.  Italian translation of my article, “THE FEROCIOUS AND THE EROTIC: ‘Beautiful” Medusa and the Neolithic Bird and Snake.’” Translated by Mariagrazia Pelaia.  Prometeo: Rivista trimestrale di scienze e storia. Anno 31 Numero 122.  June, 2013, 20-29

“The Monstrous Goddess: The Degeneration of Ancient Bird and Snake Goddesses into Historic Age Witches and Monsters.” Izkustvo & Ideologiya: Ivan Marazov Decet Godini Po-K’sno (Art and Ideology: Festschrift for Ivan Marazov).  The anthology is in Bulgarian and English. (Chapter in Anthology) Sophia: Universitetsko Izdatelstvo “Sv. Kliment Ochridski,” 2013, 390-403.

“Further Thoughts on the V and the M in theDanube Script: The Danube Script and the Old European Goddess.” Fifty years of Tartaria Excavations. Festschrift in honor of Gheorghe Lazarovici on the occasion of his 73rd birthday.  Ed. Joan Marler.  (Sponsored by “Eftimie Murgu” University, Resita and the Institute of Archaeomythology, Sebastopol.) Sebastopol: Institute of Archaeomythology; Reºiþa: Universitatea “Eftimie Murgu,” 139-161. 2014.

Sacred Display: Divine and Magical Female Figures of Eurasia. Miriam Robbins Dexter and Victor H. Mair.  Amherst, New York: Cambria Press, 2010.

Whence the Goddesses: A Source Book. Pergamon Press, Athene Series, 1990. Reprinted by Teachers College Press, Columbia University, Athene Series, 1992.

Varia on the Indo-European Past: Papers in Memory of Marija Gimbutas (1997).