We tend to think of the Hebrew tradition as one of solid monotheism and a consistent worship of a male God named Yahweh (or sometimes El). Many people know about the Bible story where Moses was angry with the Hebrew people on their way out of captivity in Egypt because they built a golden calf to worship (associated with the Egyptian cow Goddesses Hathor and Bat) while Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments from God on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 32:135). Little is said about Goddess worship in the Hebrew tradition after that incident in most writings, and many appear to assume this was the only lapse and that the Hebrew culture was monotheistic after Moses warned the people and brought back the first commandment that they should worship only Yahweh.
[...] Judaism did eventually become a monotheistic religion worshiping a single male God, but that fact does not erase the long history of Goddess worship in the Jewish tradition that helped to shape that culture and tradition. IV.The Hebrew Goddess The primary Hebrew Goddess of biblical times was originally a Canaanite Goddess by the name of Asherah. She was already present in Canaanite culture before the Hebrew tribes invaded Canaan. Scholars differ on the timeline for this, but the Israelites came into Canaan after wandering in the desert for 40 years sometime in the fifteenth to the thirteenth centuries BCE. [...]
[...] The Origins of Israel in Canaan: An Examination of Recent Theories. Themelios 15, 4–15,October 1989, retrieved April from http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/article_canaan_bimson.html Dedek, R.P. Ben. When was King Solomon's Temple built? November retrieved on April from http://www.magic-city- news.com/R_P_BenDedek_33/When_was_King_Solomon_s_Temple_built8976.shtml Frymer-Kensky, Tikva, In the Wake of the Goddess. New York: Macmillan Graves, Robert & Patai, Raphael, Hebrew Myths. New York: Doubleday Mellaart, James, Çatal Hüyük. New York: Thames and Hudson Stone, Merlin, When God Was a Woman. New York: Dial Press Truthnet.org. Israel restored: Biblical Archeology following the Babylonian Captivity, retrieved on April from http://www.truthnet.org/Biblicalarcheology/11/Israel_Restored.htm James Mellaart, Çatal Hüyük, (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1967) illus Merlin Stone, When God Was a [...]
[...] Archeologists believe that male energy was represented in those cultures by the animal figures found, such as figures of bulls. For many years Western scholars called these civilizations fertility cults and ignored the apparent worship of Goddess figures. The emphasis on sexual characteristics in those ancient cultures was sometimes discussed from a moralistic point of view. Scholars of the past appeared to assume that female “fertility figures” were not deities to the people who created them, therefore, those figures were not really religious. [...]
[...] That means that Goddess worship played a major role in the evolution of the Hebrew culture for almost millennium by the longest calculation, and that other male Gods were worshiped as well. This is an influence that deserves recognition and investigation. Other evidence, such as an inscription on a storage jar found at Kuntillet Ajrud on the border of the Sinai, indicate some connection between the worship of Yahweh and the worship of Asherah. Some translate the inscription as saying that she was his consort, but that translation is controversial. Scriptural stories also indicate that Asherah was worshipped among the Hebrews, but her worship was perceived as less of a threat to the worship of Yahweh than the worship of the male Canaanite God, Baal. [...]
[...] 44:20–23) In this speech Jeremiah represents the official view of the later Hebrew priests and scribes who recorded this story. The story makes clear that the Israelites were not monotheistic until after the Babylonian exile in the seventh to sixth centuries BCE. At the time of the exile, the Babylonians took prominent people and promising youth captive to Babylon where they could be trained in Babylonian culture. Other Jews spread out to other areas, many of them going to Egypt. [...]
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