The Hebrew Goddess

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions' started by donnann, Feb 6, 2014.

  1. Marcialou

    Marcialou We are stardust

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    Thanks. This makes sense now.

    The name of God appears in the bible as yud-heh-vav-heh (Yawheh) but since the name can only be said inside the Temple by the High Priest, the pronunciation, Adonai is substituted.
     
  2. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule Well-Known Member

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    Perfect … :)
     
  3. donnann

    donnann Well-Known Member

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    Not rubbish.
    Acknowledgement that YHVH has a female consort is correct. Look around you, do men spontaneously procreate? Wasn't adam and eve created in the image and likness being two who are also one? I did a lot of research some years back and found that the correct translation from the original Hebrew to English was In the beginning was the Creator(S) which is singular and plural at the same time. They replaced it all with the male form which is half the correct translation.
     
  4. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule Well-Known Member

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    If you say so ...
     
  5. b.finton

    b.finton Active Member

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    Re. rubbish.

    The Oral Tradition includes Notaricon, which posits that each letter of the Hebrew alefbet has specific meanings. Rabbi Ginsburg's site, The Inner-Dimension, provides a synopsis of traditional meanings.

    Although the Hebrew script engineered in Ezra's time reflects aspects of the hieroglyphic properties of Ancient Hebrew, it occludes the nuances of the original. Prior to the discovery at Qumran of a copy of the Hebrew scriptures in Paleo-Hebrew, there was little incentive to analyze its properties. That the Essenes preserved the scroll, however, is suggestive of its relevance for our time.

    b.
     
  6. b.finton

    b.finton Active Member

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    Jayhawker:

    Your avatar offers peace but your words do not.

    The letters, themselves, speak to those with eyes to see and ears to hear. Expertise is not needed. Only openness.
     
  7. donnann

    donnann Well-Known Member

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    well said.
     
  8. Marcialou

    Marcialou We are stardust

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    I found an interesting discussion of Yaweh and Asherah presented by NYU Biblical Scholar, Daniel Fleming. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rHF3ux4rx8&list=PL49208CAE353159FA&index=17. Actually it’s a video of a Freshman class he gave on Ancient Israel. I’m not sure when it was given but it was posted in 2012. It’s part of the Open-Ed program that the university offers to the public and is # 17 out of 27 class lectures. They are about 100 minutes long.

    The discussion centers around an archaeological site found in the 1970s in the Southern Negev Desert, and dates to the 9th or 8th century BCE. This was the time of the split monarchy and is far to the south of Judah and Israel. The site, called Kuntiliet Ajrud, contains two large jars with religious inscriptions that refer to Yaweh and Asherah along with some cryptic drawings. The findings raise two major questions:

    · Does “Asherah” refer to the Caananite goddess, married to the chief god, El, with El, perhaps being another name for Yaweh?
    · Or does it refer to a wooden pole or tree that possibly marks the presence of a god?

    Either way, any beliefs concerning Asherah the goddess or Asherah a sacred object contradicit the teachings of the Bible which was beginning to be compiled at about that time. It may show how ordinary Israelites worshipped, in spite of what their sages proclaimed. The professor’s conclusion as to whether God had a wife: maybe, maybe not.

    Fleming is both entertaining and thought provoking. He teaches largely by means of class discussion about original sources. I highly recommend this lecture and the whole series.
     
  9. donnann

    donnann Well-Known Member

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    Actually the two staffs given to moses one for him and one for aaron were ashera poles. It actually doesn't contradict the bible. The translation was originally the Creator(s) which is singular and also plural showing god has a female counterpart. Originally human beings were in this paired oneness and the split caused mortality.
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    the rib thing? Or male and female he created them?
     
  11. Marcialou

    Marcialou We are stardust

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    I agree with the first part of your statement. There are references outside the Bible that indicate that Asherah was probably worshipped alongside Yaweh by ancient Israelites. See my post #29. The Bible confirms this by the many times it condemns the practice.
    So Asherah is included in the current Bible but not in any positive sense.

    I don't know whether the priesthood became very male dominant or always had been in the ancient Israelite religion. Are they Israelite or Canaanite texts that you refer to?

    What is the translation originally the Creator(s)? Is it something you can quote chapter and verse? What evidence do you have for your two statements: the two staffs given to moses one for him and one for aaron were ashera poles and It actually doesn't contradict the bible?

    Thanks.


     
  12. donnann

    donnann Well-Known Member

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    Its not included in a positive sense because the female was brought lower than the male which is an imbalance. I did a lot of research some years back and got some of my information from Jerusalem universities as well as other sources. Unfortunately I took in all the information but did not keep records of the sources. An Asherah pole was a sacred tree or pole that stood near Canaanite religious locations to honor the pagan goddess Asherah, also known as Astarte. While the exact appearance of an Asherah pole is somewhat obscure, it is clear that the ancient Israelites, after entering the land of Canaan, were influenced by the pagan religion it represented.

    In the Bible, Asherah poles were first mentioned in Exodus 34:13. God had just remade the Ten Commandment tablets, and Moses had requested God graciously forgive the Israelites for worshiping the golden calf. Verse 10 begins the covenant God made: if the Israelites obey Him, He will drive out the tribes living in Canaan. But they must cut down the Asherah poles. Deuteronomy 7:5 and 12:3 repeat the command nearly verbatim, while Deuteronomy 16:21 commands the Israelites not set up any wooden Asherah poles of their own. Two books later, In Judges 3:7, “The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.”

    Gideon became the first to fight against the infestation of Asherah poles, although, in his fear, he chopped his father’s Asherah pole down at night (Judges 6:25-27). The books of 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles tell a long story of one king chopping down Asherah poles and another building them back up. King Manasseh of Judah went so far as to install a pole in the temple of the Lord (2 Kings 21:3, 7). In the midst of a great cleansing, King Josiah took out the Asherah pole and ground it to powder, further defiling it by spreading the dust over graves (2 Kings 23:6).

    Most areas in that time and place had a god and goddess designated as responsible for the well-being of crops and livestock. Likely, in the constant evolution of pagan gods and goddesses, Asherah was one of the names given for a fertility goddess in the region. The relationships ascribed to Asherah’s varied depending on the times and the beliefs of the people—ranging from the Canaanite creator-god El to the god of fertility Ba’al, to, horrifically, even Jehovah Himself. Asherah poles were wood poles (sometimes carved, sometimes not) or trees planted by the “high places” where pagan worshipers sacrificed, although the specific purpose of the poles is not clear. It’s interesting to note that while the once-essential “Asherah” has morphed from goddess to wooden pole to obscurity, Father God, Creator of the universe, has never changed.

    Recommended Resources: The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible by Geisler & Holden and Logos Bible Software.


    Read more: What is an Asherah pole?
    The medical symbol of two serpents are suppose to represent ashera poles. They are for healing and to consume evil (portrayed in the moses movie by the staff turning into a snake and consuming pharoehs snakes). When societies tried to create these poles but use them in an evil way they were destroyed.
     
  13. Marcialou

    Marcialou We are stardust

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    Donnann, Thanks for the information. Considering how many times the Israelites strayed and returned to worshipping Baal, it seems likely that they were also worshipping his consort, Asherah, as well.
     
  14. Jane-Q

    Jane-Q ...pain...

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    Did God Have a Wife? . . . is the provocative title of respected archeologist William G. Dever's 2005 book on this subject.
    Yet only chapters 6, 7, and 9 deal specifically with the Asherah issue.

    The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel . . . is equally intriguing. Mark S. Smith is a brilliant and insightful biblical linguist and discusses the Asherah issue at length in chapters 1 and 3.

    Smith's careful analysis of biblical texts comes to the conclusion that the Canaanite "Queen of Heaven" ("Asherah" with a capital-A) had largely been reduced to the asherah-pole ("asherah" with a small-a, as one "quality" of the male deity manifested symbolically in the pole) in the theological view of the temple priests, long before the puritan reforms which outlawed even the asherah-pole.

    When Yahweh (a minor Canaanite deity, the tribal-god of hill-country Israelite clans) rose in stature in the south of Canaan during the period of the judges, he began to supplant both the storm-god Baal (taking on Baal's warlike traits) and the high-god El (taking on El's qualities as a just master). Smith says Yahweh also subsumed the wisdom-traits of Asherah as well. Symbolic objects associated with Baal or El or Asherah can be found in the Jerusalem Temple imagery or within the religious rites. But never "representations" of these deities. Yahweh was never represented, either. The Yahwist priests were very careful about this. No anthropomorphism. Symbols, however, were okay for awhile until the later reforms of Hezekiah and of Josiah - when even most of the trait-symbolism was excluded as well.
    But, in the sophisticated view of the priests, Yahweh was not (nor could ever be) conceived of as "married." Yahweh is not male or female or anything anthropomorphic. Yahweh is invisible. The priests (and the Priestly authors of the Hebrew Bible) had worked very hard (over centuries) to de-anthropomorphize Yahweh. Their piety demanded it:
    Yahweh is holy - that is all anyone needs to know.

    The high religion of the Temple priests, even before there was a Temple, had developed a unique view of divinity which could not stomach any sexual connotations for the divine.
    This is not just Smith's view, from his close reading of biblical texts. Other scholars, with different expertise, have come to the same conclusion.
    In the high Israelite religion, Yahweh was never married. Not to Asherah. Not to any goddess (nor, temporarily, to any human woman). Yahweh was celibate, and thoroughly nonsexual in character.

    I personally do not understand how this actually evolved, but agree with Smith's (and other scholars') conclusion.
    No wife.
    This should be the end of the story. But it isn't.

    The subtitle to Bill Dever's book (mentioned above) is Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel.
    Out in the countryside, away from the Jerusalem Temple and its sophisticated priesthood, religion in ancient Israel had a different flavor. Archeology is turning up a lot of evidence for this disparity between the high religion of the priesthood and the folk religion across the countryside. The Canaanite deities did not dissolve from view (first into symbolic objects then erased entirely), but they continued to evolve too, within the popular imagination. El survived in the Northern Kingdom to become another name for Yahweh, and was (very anthropomorphically) pictured as a forgiving/loving father-figure. This image comforted ordinary folk, in a way that abstract notions of "holiness" never could.
    In the end, this vision of God influenced the prophets. And this image continued to influence religious thinking down to the time of Hillel and Jesus.

    In this folk tradition, was Asherah ever married to Yahweh? Or to Israelite (no longer Canaanite) El in the Northern Kingdom? The evidence is inconclusive. But Canaanite-style beliefs lingered within Israelite religion long past the time of the Judges. The evidence of that has become very clear in recent years. Canaanite-style beliefs and imagery lingered even past the monarchy into the time of the Babylonian exile, and beyond. So, at some time and at some places within the Hebrew-speaking homeland, the marital association between Yahweh and Asherah was probably inevitable, and difficult for religious authorities to completely squash. People will be people, and to many persons this divine marriage image would have been a very comforting image. Particularly to Israelite women.

    So . . .
    Did God Have a Wife?
    In the Israelite high religion? . . . Probably not.
    In Israelite folk religion? . . . It is more than likely.

    Jane.

     
  15. donnann

    donnann Well-Known Member

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    Human was created in the image of the Creator(s). Orignally the bible read the Creator(s) which was singular and plural at the same time. Since human was created in this image being two one male and one female that even though two were also one at the same time this leads to commonsense that god has a female counterpart just like adam had eve.
     

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