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Yahweh had a wife who was edited out of holy books

porygon2:

Yahweh had a wife who was edited out of holy books

jonathan-cunningham:

“You might know him as Yahweh, Allah or God. But on this fact, Jews, Muslims and Christians, the people of the great Abrahamic religions, are agreed: There is only one of Him,” writes Stavrakopoulou in a statement released to the British media. “He is a solitary figure, a single, universal creator, not one God among many … or so we like to believe.”

“After years of research specializing in the history and religion of Israel, however, I have come to a colorful and what could seem, to some, uncomfortable conclusion that God had a wife,” she added.

Stavrakopoulou bases her theory on ancient texts, amulets and figurines unearthed primarily in the ancient Canaanite coastal city called Ugarit, now modern-day Syria. All of these artifacts reveal that Asherah was a powerful fertility goddess.

Asherah’s connection to Yahweh, according to Stavrakopoulou, is spelled out in both the Bible and an 8th century B.C. inscription on pottery found in the Sinai desert at a site called Kuntillet Ajrud.

“The inscription is a petition for a blessing,” she shares. “Crucially, the inscription asks for a blessing from ‘Yahweh and his Asherah.’ Here was evidence that presented Yahweh and Asherah as a divine pair. And now a handful of similar inscriptions have since been found, all of which help to strengthen the case that the God of the Bible once had a wife.”

Also significant, Stavrakopoulou believes, “is the Bible’s admission that the goddess Asherah was worshiped in Yahweh’s Temple in Jerusalem. In the Book of Kings, we’re told that a statue of Asherah was housed in the temple and that female temple personnel wove ritual textiles for her.”

J. Edward Wright, president of both The Arizona Center for Judaic Studies and The Albright Institute for Archaeological Research, told Discovery News that he agrees several Hebrew inscriptions mention “Yahweh and his Asherah.”

“Asherah was not entirely edited out of the Bible by its male editors,” he added. “Traces of her remain, and based on those traces, archaeological evidence and references to her in texts from nations bordering Israel and Judah, we can reconstruct her role in the religions of the Southern Levant.”

This blows my mind.  Three of the largest religious traditions in the world have erased the female counterpart of their God.  These are the same religions often accused of passing memetic sexism to their adherents- I don’t think this is at all a coincidence. 

Kinda surprised this isn’t well known. But then, this is what I studied in college, not what I learned in Sunday School ;) Going to go look up this book…

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3 comments to Yahweh had a wife who was edited out of holy books

  • This post made me smile.

    Here’s a quick bit about the divine feminine in the LDS church. http://mormon.org/me/1Q8H/Jenne

    Here’s a short excerpt:

    Already having a nontraditional past and understanding of religion but valuing “truth wherever it could be found” the concept of Heavenly Mother, too, resounded strongly with me. Most Mormons first learn about Heavenly Mother is one of the LDS hymns which reads “In the heav’ns are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare! Truth is reason, truth eternal, tells me I’ve a mother there.” This concept made so much sense to me, and, I expect, to others who are coming from a pagan, earth-based religious background or who are familiar with the history of goddess worship throughout the centuries of the world. Its wonderful to me that neither gender is pushed aside for the other, but male and female reign together as divine beings.

    In knowing about the existence of a Heavenly Mother and a Heavenly Father, I have a better understanding of who I am as a daughter of God. Though not much is taught about Heavenly Mother, I envision a womanly goddess who is capable, strong, intelligent and all-knowing, creative, hardworking and infinitely loving: the perfect woman and mother and equal to power and ability to God the Father. The vision I have of Heavenly Father is gentle, loving, compassionate, all-knowing, patient and sensitive: the perfect man and father. In both, I find the parents I need to feel loved, comforted, guided and supported. I am able to learn how to be a better parent and partner to my husband because of the example I envision my heavenly parents set for me.

    I thought what she had to say pertinent to the discussion of the divine feminine.

  • John P.

    I looked up the reference to Asherah in the bible that they mentioned in the book of Kings.
    It mentions the Asherah Pole and that it was taken down and burned because Asherah was a pagan god. Which would would imply that, yes, people worshiped Yahweh and Asherah at some point together. But that doesn’t mean that there were two gods, male and female, in the Abrahamic religions. It would only indicate that at one point they were worshiped as equals by some people. But at other points in the bible God is pretty specific that there is only one true God. (There’s also no biblical evidence where God refers to God’s self as male, only people assuming)

    Either way I think the findings are still fascinating and makes me think more about my religion. I’m up for discussion about this. I always like things like this because it makes me react “That’s not right” but then I stop and think “Why do I think that’s not right?” So It makes me examine my beliefs more closely.

  • John P.

    Hmm, okay, fair enough. It would make sense that if God had a gender/sex than there should be an equal opposite too. My idea is that one God means neither gender/sex. I was raised Episcopalian (and still am) and we had a song that went along the lines of “you are our father and mother” so for me God is neither and both sexes. At the same time we have a phrase that goes “To define God is to deny God”. So to identify God as either gender/sex would be to rob God of a complete identity.

    My priest frequently reminds us of that message by interchanging God with he/she/the Lord. She loved it when people would say “God’s not a woman” in response because then she would ask them, “how do you know that?” and then she would have a discussion with them about divine gender identification. Mostly she uses “the Lord” because Lord was originally a gender neutral title.

    Perhaps my immediate reaction to hearing anything along the lines of second god(dess) stems from my religion being very monotheistic. I mean it’s in the name, one-god.