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ANAHITA  December 1999

ANAHITA December 1999

Subject:

Re: the book "When God was a Woman"

From:

Mary Frances Wogec <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Wed, 22 Dec 1999 16:15:16 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (56 lines)

Sheila Shiki y Michaels wrote:
>    As for the Ashera & the Teraphim...do you think they're associated?  For
>those outside these studies, the Ashera was represented by a tree, stylized
>tree, or pillar at the door of the sanctuary, (& perhaps sometimes within?).
>She was a great goddess in Canaan & seems to have been the mate of Judah's &
>Israel's god, as she was of the god El in Ugarit.  The Teraphim were figures,
>either great enough to be mistaken for a man, such as David, or small enough
>to have been hidden in a sedan chair, as did Rachel.  They were found in both
>households & sanctuaries.  They seemed often to be associated with women:
>Rachel, Michal, Micah's Mother, Gomer.  They were used to give prophecy.

>    Saul Olyan's _Ashera & the Cult of Yahweh_ is the book to read on the
>Ashera, but it is not easily accessible to the casual reader.  Neither is
>Frank Moore Cross' _Canaanite Myth & Hebrew Epic_.  Looks to me like
>something should be done to get the stories of the Ashera into the hands of
>the laity.
>

While Olyan's book is still a good study of Ashera, newer studies have
appeared (as has newer evidence), and should be consulted, especially:

Steve Wiggins, A Reassessment of Asherah: A Study according to the Textual
Sources of the First Two Millennia BCE (Neukirchen-Vluyn, 1993)

Tilde Binger, Asherah: Goddesses in Ugarit, Israel and the Old Testament
(Sheffield, 1997)

In addition, see Othmar Keel and Christoph Uehlinger, Gods, Goddesses and
Images of God (Fortress Press, 1998)

For the teraphim, as well as ANE (Ancient Near Eastern) religion generally,
see Karel van der Toorn, Family Religion in Babylonia, Syria and Israel
(Leiden, 1996).  Van der Toorn makes a strong case that the biblical
"teraphim" were in fact images of divinized ancestors, a cult that was
practised throughout the ancient northwest semitic area..

Mary Frances Wogec
UC Berkeley/Graduate Theological Union

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