"Brilliant, cool and likeable - that's a rarity for television"
Katy Guest - The Independent on Sunday
"Fascinating, documentary as epic"
Historian Bettany Hughes reveals the hidden history of women in religion, from dominatrix goddesses to feisty political operators and warrior empresses.
In this provocative upcoming series, Bettany tells the stories of the extraordinary women whose legends and lives cast new light on some of the hottest arguments about the role of women in religion today.
Drawing on cutting edge scholarship and archaeological evidence, she reveals what her favourite women in religion tell us about the lives of the real flesh and blood women of their day.
Yet the connection between women and the divine has been so strong in all societies that when we follow the stories of 'divine women' we uncover new evidence for the character of humanity and a fuller, truer history of the world.
There was widespread media interest and worldwide discussion in the run-up to the broadcast of Divine Women, including news stories and lead comment features in The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Independent on Sunday, The Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, The Times of India, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Brisbane Times, The Bengali Times, The Evening Standard, The Age, and Fox News.
Divine Women was the top UK media story for the Huffington Post, and was featured on the US political/talk show The Big Idea, the UK's Woman's Hour the World Service Weekend World, and BBC One's The Big Questions.
Letters were also published in The Times, The Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Sunday Telegraph, and The Radio Times.
Send us your thoughts:
1. When God Was A Girl
Programme One looks at the evolution of the goddess in Turkey, Greece, Rome and India.
2. The Handmaids of God
Programme Two investigates the story of the priestess; from the poet Sappho on the island of Lesbos to Vestal Virgins in Rome and the elevated role of women in the early Christian church.
3. The War of the Word
Programme Three explores a missed 'golden age' for women, when historical characters such as the Empress Theodora in Byzantium, Wu Zetien in China (the Empress who called herself Emperor), the early women of Islam and Anglo-Saxon Hilda of Whitby, used the power of ancient traditions and new ideas about religion and philosophy to wield influence in a man's world - notably through the power of reform, education and the word. We look at evidence through the Byzantine Empire, early Islam, in China, Northumbria and Oxford.
Video of Bettany talking about Divine Women
Interview with Bettany in the Huffington Post
Bettany's article in The Guardian
Article about Divine Women from Europe.org.uk
BBC World Service
Broadcaster: BBC - 2012
Pick of the Day and Week
The Times, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Mail, The Mail on Sunday, The Observer, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, The Guardian, The Express, The Scotsman, The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Herald, The Radio Times, The Evening Standard, The Metro
"Brilliant, cool and likeable - that's a rarity for television"
Katy Guest - The Independant on Sunday
"Really interesting and germane...thoughtful, rigorous, combative."
A. A. Gill
Fascinating series ends too soon...it has shone a light on the previously dark but rich history"
John Dugdale - The Sunday TImes
"Turn on the box - you might learn something..."
The Mail on Sunday
"Fascinating, documentary as epic"
fascinating and compelling #divinewomen
@Bettany_Hughes so enjoyed #divinewomen series. Looking forward to your event at the Words in the Park festival
catch up on #Divinewomen facinating!
Caught up with the fantastic series #divinewomen.
@Bettany_Hughes #divinewomen Thank you. Intelligent, accessible-revealing hidden history & power of words in shaping humanity. Tell us more!
Weekly dose of #DivineWomen ! :D
I love this program so much! #divinewomen
@Bettany_Hughes #divinewomen was brilliant, I watched ep 1 and 2 back to back, women's role in religion is such an interesting topic!
Have really enjoyed The BBC series #DivineWomen with@Bettany_Hughes what great new insights into role of women
Another evening, another top quality history doc from the #BBC, this time #Divinewomen, by Bettany Hughes. Marvelous.
@Bettany_Hughes #DivineWomen totally stirring stuff, very empowering, well done to you and the team who made it! 10/10
Loved #divinewomen in BBC2 looking at role of women in the history of our major world faiths @Bettany_Hughes has made it v accessible.
#divinewomen is awesome
Only watched @Bettany_Hughes and BBC2's last episode of#divinewomen - loved it. Will watch again and the others on iPlayer
Just watched an inspirational doc #DivineWomen @ BBC . The focus made on #WomenofIslam and also #Christianity was fascinating.
Just watched #DivineWomen on @BBC1 an amazing and inspirational show! You must watch it - do it on iplayer if u missed it
Women brought life, spirituality, and light in the Dark Ages - wonderful series but more episodes needed to explore the#DivineWomen
#divinewomen Loved it :)
Absolutely loved #divinewomen. More please BBC2, and keep on giving us fab female presenters like Bettany Hughes and Mary Beard
#divinewomen so sad it's over. Bettany Hughes for pope!
I heart Bettany Hughes. Such a good historian & great presenter of sometimes intricate topics #DivineWomen
@Bettany_Hughes #DivineWomen - great 3 episodes on BBC2 - pride in achievements of women from history, including Hilda of Whitby.
I could listen to Bettany Hughes talk about history all day.#DivineWomen #Divinewomen is so intresting!!!
Loving #divinewomen on #bbc2 very sad there are only 3 episodes & this is the last one. #divinewomen what an excellent program, really caught me by surprise :-)
Am loving this #divinewomen on beeb2 Thank you to @Bettany_Hughes for bringing these amazing women from history to life in #DivineWomen BBC2
#divinewomen bbc 2 forget the meatballs on bbc1, incredible!
Great that #divinewomen is covering more that the monotheistic faiths
Love the locations @Bettany_Hughes takes us to in her documentaries. #DivineWomen #history Love this series
#divinewomen celebrating the female.
3rd & final part of #DivineWomen with Bettany Hughes now on #BBC2- really enjoy it and have learned a lot. Watching the brilliant #divinewomen on #BBC2 now.
Now watching the best series on tv #divinewomen #imho #bbc2 #DivineWomen with @Bettany_Hughes is on now on #BBC2.I think its wrong I'm so excited
Seriously enjoying @Bettany_Hughes' #DivineWomen on BBC I-Player. There are reasons to study religion after all..
Watched first two episodes of @Bettany_Hughes #DivineWomentwice, looking forward to Pt 3 'War of the Words' -will watch whole series again
yo this #divinewomen series is amazing
Gosh, The Voice is noisy. Think i'm gonna watch Bethany Hughes be awesome about the priestesses of antiquity instead. #DivineWomen
Just watched ep.2 of #divinewomen about Priestesses - amazing stuff!
Has anybody seen the #divinewomen program on iplayer yet? Fascinating origins of religion.
ust caught up with #DivineWomen with @Bettany_Hughes. Makes me miss studying. I could be convinced to go for an MA now #ancient#history
Is anyone else loving BBC2 #DivineWomen
#Divinewomen will be a weekly must of mine from now on. Loving the contrasting positions on the historiography, though I'm a feminist so...
After @wmarybeard time to catch up with #DivineWomen by@Bettany_Hughes. Two presenters who personify why the BBC is so brilliant
Just caught up with #divinewomen epp.2 with @Bettany_Hughesfantastic, a must see thank you #bbc2 quality history programme on the #BBC
Another excellent episode of #divinewomen on #bbc2 w@Bettany_Hughes. Last wk she used the word 'fecund', this wk 'concupiscence' #winner
Brilliant programme #divinewomen. Something worth watching at last.
...Just watched #DivineWomen really interesting stuff! The inner nerd in me was really coming out!
#divinewomen fascinating, enlightening, provocative...an excellent doc. Feel like I nd to watch it again to absorb it all.
#DivineWomen on #bbc2 fabulous to see such a programme on primetime tv
Wish I could write about 5 different dissertations after watching#divinewomen Love it!!
#DivineWomen excellent programme. Bettany Hughes is always very engaging and clear
Thought #divinewomen was incredible.
#DivineWomen such a great and interesting programme - Bettany Hughes is so engaging!
#divinewomen Who needs Dan Brown when there's actual, fact based cover ups of women priests in 200AD? This is acecakes.
If you aren't watching #divinewomen you're seriously missing out. Make a date with iplayer and learn how women got written out of history
Really interesting stuff about women in Christianity on#DivineWomen. Lots of love for this series
Watching #divinewomen, really interesting documentary
#divinewomen is bloody interesting. There's catacombs and everything.
#divinewomen cracking stuff
watching another amazing episode of #divinewomen
@Bettany_Hughes over the years has shared fascinating history- tonight's 'Handmaids of God' another enlightening
#divinewomen Bettany Hughes always so watchable. Great series.
The role of women in religion is interesting stuff #divinewomen
should be studying but #divinewomen is just too good.
#divinewomen ditto, I love it too
#divinewomen. Just divine
#divinewomen is going by far to quick. The beeb are rocking history. I love it
Watching my fav prog all week #divinewomen.
Watching #divinewomen it's about time we had a decent programme like this
Time for some more Classics-based television viewing - tonight#DivineWomen. BBC2 doing a great job this week!
Watching #DivineWomen on BBC 2 =3 It's very interesting, particularly when you write stories about goddesses like these
Sat ready to watch #DivineWomen - goddess worship and the role of women in religion. So interesting :-) BBC2 right now!
I've been excited about #divinewomen all day
Watching 1st episode of #DivineWomen again. Love that religion has given birth to society.
caught up with #divinewomen today, also thought it fascinating and looking forward to pt 2 tonight
#divinewomen on tonight BBC2 at 9. Hope it's as good as last week's!
@Bettany_Hughes I've been looking forward to it all week!#DivineWomen
Loving Bethany Hughes's #DivineWomen. Really interesting and thought provoking.
...Brilliant, fascinating, timely, powerful documentary!
Watching #divinewomen absolutely fascinating insight into women deities across the globe
Whatever your views on religion, "When Gods Were Girls" with@Bettany_Hughes is fascinating
Everyone should watch @bbc's #DivineWomen w/@Bettany_Hughes. Fabulous show that fills my pagan, warrior-queen heart with pride! :)
Caught up with #divinewomen tonight. Loved hearing about sites/places I've been to and read about and new theories behind them. Fascinating.
Loved 1st part of @Bettany_Hughes new series #DivineWomen. Anyone who uses the word 'fecund' is a winner for me.
Caught up with #DivineWomen fascinating & revealing. Also, welcome news that its a series not just a one off!
Great to see #Catalhoyuk and Shahina on #DivineWomen on the#BBC last night. Really interesting programme: 'When women were Gods'..
#DivineWomen Really enjoyed this last night Bethany Hughes is a really good presenter-intelligent, and unobtrusive, when need be.
If you missed #divinewomen on BBC2 yesterday watch it on iplayer. Fascinating history of goddess worship http://bbc.in/IJFMlA
If anyone didn't see #divinewomen on BBC2 watch it on iplayer! Fascinating and illuminating history of goddess worship.@bettany_hughes
Yes! Bettany Hughes #DivineWomen
I really enjoyed @Bettany_Hughes presenting #DivineWomen, a bit of a chocolate box of ancient goddess worship. Feminist theology, please!?
#DivineWomen was too good! I swear all i watch nowadays are Documentaries and Eastenders...
That was ace, I love Bettany Hughes! #divinewomen
@Bettany_Hughes proves that the archaeology and history of religion is such dangerous territory. #divinewomen
Loving #divinewomen on BBC. I want to be Bettany Hughes.
#DivineWomen @bettany_Hughes Excellent programme. Seriously impressed with your translating Ancient Greek direct to camera. Sphynx next?
#DivineWomen Fascinating programme! Why didn't we have programmes like that when we were at college? Well worth a watch
Enjoyed Bettany Hughes's prog on BBC2. Like the thought of Cybele beneath St Peter's Basilica, waiting to rise up suddenly.#divinewomen
Excellent piece from @Bettany_Hughes on how women have been written out of history http://bit.ly/HBNYEW #Divinewomen
@Bettany_Hughes It was great - fascinating and exhilirating! Looking forward to the rest of it. #divinewomen
@Bettany_Hughes just watched your #DivineWomen programme - absolutely fabulous - roll on next episode
Really well put together. Quite impressed with the narrator's enthusiasm for her subject. #DivineWomen
#divinewomen on BBC 2 now is fascinating and exhilirating. Bettany Hughes traces the history of women in religion. #whengodwasagirl
#divinewomen is fantastic Telly, where on earth has that almost hour gone?? Kali is one kinda kick ass lady
Kali and Derga - the epitome of female multi-tasking. Too awesome for words #divinewomen
So interested by #divinewomen on BBC2
Are you really all watching #TheApprentice? For goodness sake, you're missing the excellent #DivineWomen on BBC2. *shakes head sadly*
Bettany Hughes is to history programs what Nigella was to celebrity cooking #divinewomen
I seem to be the only person in my Twitter feed who isn't watching#theapprentice. #divinewomen on BBC3 is bloomin' brilliant, people!
Self castration, Roman drag queens, Mother Goddesses... Why would you watch The Apprentice instead? #divinewomen
#divinewomen enjoying it immensely. Best thing on all week.
Going to find some people who are opting for the best piece of tv tonight - no I don't mean #apprentice its #divinewomen
Loving Bettany Hughes on #divinewomen on BBC2 @ the moment. All Hail the Mother Goddess! Or something.
Depictions of women at centre of 1st temples - amazing or what!#divinewomen
Almost delicious irony to have #DivineWomen on #BBC2 at the same time as #apprentice on #BBC1 - Sublime feminist history v. macho posturing
Good old Bethany Hughes. #DivineWomen
Glad to see more professional female TV trailblazers. Along with Dr Alice Roberts we have Bettany Hughes #DivineWomen. Great role models.