DONIGER (O'FLAHERTY), WENDY


DONIGER (O'FLAHERTY), WENDY (1940– ), U.S. scholar of the history of religion. Born in New York City, educated at Radcliffe College (B.A., 1962), Harvard (M.A., 1963; Ph.D., 1968) and Oxford (D.Phil., 1973), Doniger taught at Harvard, the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London (1968–75), the University of California, Berkeley (1975–77), and the University of Chicago (from 1978), where from 1986 she was Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the Divinity School. She also held an appointment in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations and was a member of the university's Committees on Social Thought and the Ancient Mediterranean World. In addition she was the director of the university's Martin Marty Center.

Doniger's work focuses primarily on the comparative historical study of religious mythology and its social and cultural meanings, with particular reference to gender relations, and on the history and culture of Hinduism, on which she is acknowledged to be among the greatest contemporary authorities. Her most important works include Women, Androgynes, and Other Mythical Beasts (1980), Dreams, Illusions, and Other Realities (1984), Tales of Sex and Violence: Folklore, Sacrifice and Danger in the Jaimaniya Brahmana (1985), Other People's Myths: The Cave of Echoes (1988), The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth (1998), Splitting the Difference: Gender and Myth in Ancient Greece and India (1999), and The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade (2000). She edited a number of important collections, including Purana Perennis: Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts (1993), Off With Her Head! The Denial of Woment's Identity in Myth, Religion, and Culture (1995, with Howard Eilberg-Schwartz), and Myth and Method (1996, with Laurie L. Patton), and also published translations of culturally significant texts, including The Rig Veda: An Anthology (1981), the Oresteia (1989), and the Kamasutra (2002, with Sudhir Kakar), as well as Mythologies (1991), a translation of Yves Bonnefoy's landmark Dictionnaire des Mythologies.

[Drew Silver (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.