Gentle Readers,

Dr Ley and I started a discussion that left everyone one out. Not on purpose but here we will try to catch you up. Sorry, the enter key is mightier than the mind at times.  

From Biblical times until today, Jews have invoked the Divine in feminine terms--both "the Jewish God" and "other goddesses". This is a selection of texts for study, mostly in chronological order, with a minimum of commentary. As always, comments and questions are welcome by e-mail (JJLatpost.queensu.ca). Note: The Tetragrammaton, the four-letter Hebrew name of God, is given in transliteration as YHVH. For a brief discussion of the pronunciation and meaning of this name see http://www.msgr.ca/msgr-8/name_calling.htm

c. 750 BCE, Sinai Desert

An inscription on a piece of pottery, found in 1975/76 at Kuntillet Arjud in the

Sinai desert, reads Berakhti et’khem l’YHVH Shomron ul’Asherato. "I have blessed you by YHVH of Samaria and His Asherah."

("Shomron" could also be read "shomrenu", our Guardian; but note II Kings 13:6: "and the Asherah remained standing in Samaria".)

A similar inscription on pottery from the same site—which scholars think was a resting place, of a religious nature, for travellers following trade routes through the Sinai—says "I bless you by YHVH of Teman and His Asherah." There may be another reference to YHVH and His Asherah in an inscription on the building wall. And references to YHVH and His Asherah, from around the same time, have also been found in an inscription at Khirbet el-Qom, near Hebron in the Biblical heartland of the Land of Israel.

Scholars disagree as to whether Asherah in these inscriptions, and in several hostile Biblical references, is the Near Eastern goddess Asherah (known in Canaanite texts from Ugarit, Syria, as Athirat, a great mother goddess associated with the sea), or merely a ritual object that had an association with her. According to Biblical references, this would likely be a tree (see e.g. Deuteronomy 16:21)….

To be continued . . .

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