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ANAHITA  July 1997

ANAHITA July 1997

Subject:

Re: Male/female cult/society

From:

Susan Kray <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 9 Jul 1997 21:36:05 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (80 lines)

Dear Tilde,

I stand corrected. I meant to argue that evidence about representations of
gods, goddessses, or other gendered beings does not constitute evidence about
the everyday life experienced by women and men in society. But I am glad my
remarks, however confused, evoked your thoughtful and informative reply, for
which I thank you.

Of course I did not mean to deny that Yahweh and Asherah are paired in
inscriptions; but I am unaware of any pictures that one can unambiguously
identify as Y. I would argue for not going beyond evidence. Sometimes the
best reading is "One can't tell."

Regarding representations of Y. and Asherah....are you referring to the
material from Kuntillet Ajrud? I am aware that the inscriptions on the pithoi
pair Y. together Asherah. But in the picture, with the three figures, is the
male Yahweh? I thought it was Bes. Or maybe unidentifiable. What would compel
an identification one way or the other?  Or are there other representations I
should be looking up?

And are you referring to the inscription at Khirbet el-Qom? I'm aware of the
pairing of Y. with Asherah in that and other inscriptions, although I'm
always glad to learn more. And that strange morphology, Asheratw..."his
Asherah"--is the pair always named in those terms? I am under the impression
that that construction sounds as problematic to the experts as it does to me.
I'd also be interested to know how many such inscriptions have been found and
their approximate geographic and chronological distribution; if you happen to
know, or know of a source I might consult, I would be grateful.

The main things I have read so far are several extremely informative articles
by William Dever. I would be interested in any other references you suggest.

I read some place that Athirat Yam(mi) (?) had to do with a Phoenician view
of Asherah as "treading" on the sea serpent, but I have been told that is
wrong. Do you happen to know of any literature about that term and a better
understanding of it?

You are certainly right to challenge the term "monarchical"--I would
certainly argue against conflating biblical (textual) information and
pespectives with archaeological. Iron Age, then!

Of course, your info on Asherah in the Temple is from texts--biblical and
Greek--and were the Greeks who said there was a statue of y. in the temple
eyewitnesses? how did they know? I suppose there is no archaeological
evidence of either statue... If the Greek gentlemen were conveying hearsay, I
don't see how their testimony is any more helpful than the biblical redactors
or any other person who wasn't there. I don't have a stake either way (an
image or no image), but would like to know the credentials of the people
we're relying on and how they got their information, whatever it is.

About the inscription describing Y. and Asherah and "from the same find, the
picture of the two together...." 1. what is the "find"? Do you have a
citation? I would like to read about it. 2. how do we know we are looking at
those two (Y. and Asherah) together? In fact, how can we tell that a
representation of a male god is Yahweh and not El? Or are you claiming they
are one and the same? and if so, what is the evidence that they are?

Again, thank you for your attention to my question and for your help. I am
new to this list and it is wonderful to encounter someone so knowledgeable
and so willing to share knowledge.


Susan Kray
Indiana State University
Terre Haute, IN 47802

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Diotima's address: http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/gender.html

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