LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for ANAHITA Archives


ANAHITA Archives

ANAHITA Archives


ANAHITA@LSV.UKY.EDU


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

ANAHITA Home

ANAHITA Home

ANAHITA  July 1997

ANAHITA July 1997

Subject:

Re: Asherah and monotheism.

From:

Tilde Binger <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Fri, 11 Jul 1997 13:50:00 -0400

Content-Type:

Text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

Text/plain (108 lines)

- Frank

You wrote:
> Some would say that images or pictures of YHVH et al in ancient Israel
> are evidence of the sort of idolatry and backsliding that the biblical
> prophets railed against.

This has been the "natural" assumption. However - depending on who
you ask, naturally - there is much evidence which clearly points in
the direction of the so-called monotheism of  the OT is a very late
postulate indeed.

The only evidence we have "for" a monotheism in "ancient Israel" in
the Iron-age is ... the OT, and this is problematic for at least two
reasons: one is, that much indicates that the bulk (if not all) of
these books were not written until well into the Persian or
Hellenistic age. (For anyone interested in the arguments here, read
just about anything of John van Seters, Thomas L. Thompson, or Philip
R. Davies and follow the leads they throw).

The other is, that the OT is not as monotheistic as we tend to think.
As I quoted in my former post, Deut. 32 is but one of many OT
passages, which knows of more than one god, passages - note well
-which presupposes, as a natural phenomenon, a multiple god/dess
pantheon (another beauty is Psalm 82, or the prologue to the book
of Job, where the sons of the gods (not necessarily singular here),
among them the Satan, approach the/ir sovereign, Yahweh).
These passages - and many others - show a living pantheon, and do not
at all moralize or defame this. They presuppose it as a natural
thing, as does the meagre inscriptional evidence we have.

So, we have contemporary (ie. Iron-age), un-edited iconographic and
inscriptional evidence, which tells us of a polytheistic society, and
we have a Persian/Hellenistic period set of books (the OT), which we
claim is monotheist, but which is not, or only partly monotheist.

An interesting piece of information is found in the existence of a
temple of the Yahwist colony in Elefantine (Egypt).
The Yahwists of Elephantine writes both the high-priest and
the Persian governor in both Jerusalem and Samaria (in 410 BCE, well
after the so-called Babylonian exile) in order to get permission to
re-build their Yahweh-temple. The permission is granted, as is the
permission to conduct sacrificial services in this said temple. (And
this at a time, where the OT wants us to believe that there is only
one Yahweh-temple, namely that of Jerusalem)
What is frightfully interesting here is the fact, that we not only
have the letters pertaining to this issue, we also have the
collection-lists of the community, and one of the entries are "To the
altar of Anat-Yahu" (Anat being a very well known goddess in the
bronze-age of Syria-Palestine). (re. Elephantine: see Tom Bolin's
article in Edelman (ed.) "The Triumph of Elohim", and proceed from
his list of litterature).
Another Yahwist temple is the one at Beer-Shewa, which - according
to the excavators, and the very bad excavation-report - is a
polytheist Yahweh-temple up until the middle of the second century
BCE where someone - presumeably John Hyrcan - razed it to the ground.

So, the monotheist (or monolatric) Yahwism of our fond beliefs is not
as clear-cut a case as we think.

So, I guess the answer to your question is:
No, there was no montheism before 586 BCE (the date of the so-called
Babylonian exile).
There is in all probability not anything resembling monotheism in
"ancient Israel" until (at the very earliest) the 2 c. BCE.
Yes, the claims in favour of monotheism, made particularly in Kings
and Chronicles, is late, and IMHO you are absolutely right when you
call them retrospective interpretations.

Tilde

P.S. the "depending on who you ask", in the initial paragraph refers
to the fact, that the historical part of biblical studies seem to
have split into what one could call a predominantly European school
and a predominantly Americal school.
The American "maximalist" school being the more conservative,
assuming the OT to be a reliable historical source (i.e. correct)
until proven faulty; the European "minimalist" school, assuming the
OT to be a historically reliable source only when the information
therein can be corraborated from other sources. These designations
are not absolute, there are European "maximalists" and American
"minimalists", just as every postion in between is defended by
someone (-: Asians, South Americans, non-US-North-Americans, and
Australians are sprinkled between the two "schools" :-).
Tilde Binger
University of Copenhagen
Dptm.of Biblical Studies
Kcbmagergade 44-46
DK-1150 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone +45 35 32 36 58
Fax   +45 35 32 36 52
e-mail [log in to unmask]

----------------------------------------------------
ANAHITA:
** To unsubscribe send the message 'UNSUBscribe ANAHITA' to
[log in to unmask] with a blank subject line.
** To subscribe send the message
'SUBscribe ANAHITA Firstname Lastname' to
[log in to unmask] with a blank subject line.
** To post to the group, send your message to [log in to unmask]
** If you have any trouble, send a message about it to
the list owners at the generic address:

                       [log in to unmask]

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

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998
April 1998
March 1998
February 1998
January 1998
December 1997
November 1997
October 1997
September 1997
August 1997
July 1997
June 1997
May 1997
April 1997
March 1997
February 1997
January 1997
December 1996
November 1996
October 1996
September 1996
August 1996
July 1996
June 1996
May 1996
April 1996

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LSV.UKY.EDU

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager