Tuesday, November 10, 2009


God and His Wife?

"Asherah and the God of the Early Israelites."

Fascinating, especially for those who imagine God as both/neither male-female.


Asherah was definitely Canaanite in origin. As you read the OT notice that many of "Hebrew" wives are actually Canaanite in origin, were kept apart from the worship of YHVH. Thus the women brought into the Hebrew culture, Ashera the Canaanite Goddess of home,child bearing, and hearth, and passed it down generation after generation, mother to daughter.

So there was a Goddess for the women and a God for the men. Asherah even appeared on the Sabboth table as a loaf molded in her image.

Asherah was also Goddess of life and knowlege and as such had groves of trees where she was worshipped. The were the groves of Sycamore Fig trees, which were grown not for the figs, although they were harvested and used, but for the hallucinigenic and anti-venom properties of its sap and bark.

In Eygypt the Sycamore Fig tree was the tree of life and depicted in temples and tombs. North of tropical Africa this tree can not reproduce or bear figs without human intervention in the process. Thus keeping the groves alive and productive was important work, these groves of Ashera.

Why you ask were they so important?
They were a source of prophecy.
Awesome. Solomon got in trouble, didn't he, for actively giving foreign women places to worship their gods? Was Asherah one of 'em? Hmm.
In that Solomon had Sycamore Groves planted I'd say probably.
By the way Canaanite = Phoenician.

Asherah = Ashteroth = Asarte
Syro-Phoenician then is Assyrian-Canaanite?
Syria (a place) was once occupied by the Assyrians (a people) who were from Assyria (a place).

Syro (the place) Phoenician (a people) is a Phoenician from Syria.

Syrian Canaanite would equal a Syrophoenician.

Then there is the Minoan-Phoenician connection referred to as the Sea Peoples. Who were allies with the Hyksos who looked like Hebrews and ruled lower Egypt for 350 years and may have been descended from Joseph's Hebrews but who really knows. They did however worship the brother of Osiris (the one who murdered him) named Set (aka Seth, Sutekh, or Seteh) whose statue (that of a typhonic beast)looks for all the world like that of Baal. Go figure.
We've talked about, or read about, the Sea Peoples and the Hyksos, but not the Seth part.
A big problem with understanding all of this is that it is a very hot political potato left over from the 20th century.

Egypt doesn't want the Hyksos connection explored for fear Israel would use it as a pretext to claim Egyptian territory. So every year, the archaeologist at the Hyksos sites have re-bury their excavations and get what they intend to publish about it filtered through the Government.

Israel gets pissed off when their history is blended in with all those Canaanite peoples and especially when it is pointed out that they weren't the historical cat's meow in the Levant after all.

Places like Syria and Libya claim pre-eminence when it comes to the Phoenicians and don't like to share their histories.

So add on to the geopolitics the academic politics and the problem academics would have if they pissed off their host countries where they need to do research or dig sites, you have one real mess of half truths.

You can't see the past when so much modern dust is kicked up to obscure it.
So, given the times I find a wanting of insight into medieval history and the classical and medieval east, there should be times when I applaud the display of concise erudition re eastern mediterranean antiquity.

Like here.
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