When God had a Wife

by Lorna Ebringer

Roman border  dark red

dark red quote 1 “Respect only has meaning as respect for those with whom I do not agree.” dark red quote 2


― Karen Armstrong, A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Sibylesque Signature dark redRoman border  dark red

 

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Where have all the goddesses gone, long time passing?

Where have all the goddesses gone, long time ago?

history of godIn the ancient world before there was one god there were many. Each one had a limited domain of power and different responsibilities. Karen Armstrong in her book “A History of God” pub.1993 tells us that they were often gods of place and as you moved from one location to another you would encounter a new set of gods and a different form of worship. These gods were both male and female and were served by both priests and priestesses. Because there were many gods the pagan religions were tolerant, there was always room for one more deity.

Asherah God's Wife

Asherah
God’s Wife

The founder of the idea of one god was Abraham, born in Ur in Mesopotamia in around 2000BCE though no one is quite sure of the date. Legend has it that for some reason Abraham and his family decided to migrate west. For many years they lived in Haran and then at the age of 75 he heard the voice of God for the first time. God instructed him to go to the land of Canaan.

On arrival Abraham encountered the gods of Canaan. In charge of the pantheon was El. He, together with a council of deities, kept order in the cosmos and in the human realm. El had a wife named Ashereh, goddess of fertility and symbolised by the tree of life. Their son Baal was the god of storm, their daughter Anat was the goddess of the harvest and in addition there were gods of the dawn, dusk, plague and death amongst others.

Erythean Sibyl Sibylesque with Text

The people of Israel were slow to adopt the idea of one god. The women in particular did not like the idea of losing their female fertility goddesses and there is evidence that for hundreds of years they refused to do this. Dr. Francesca Stavrakopoulou, biblical scholar, suggests that archeological finds at Ugarit in Syria and in the Sinai and in the bible itself show that worship of Asherah as the wife of God persisted for at least a thousand years until the Babylonian conquest of Israel. The loss of the temple in Jerusalem in the 6th century BCE led the scribes of the bible to abandon the pantheon of gods and turn to the one God for protection.

Dr. Stavrakopoulou suggests that the loss of Ashereh has led to religion becoming more masculine. If God is male then to be a man is to be like him.

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‘Monotheism then has disempowered women.’

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Lorna Ebringer’s passions include trekking  in remote areas of Georgia, China and Japan, opera appreciation and rock ‘n roll dancing.

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