Talk:Asherah

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Unnamed section[edit]

It seems like reference 4 - the quote about mainstream thought in biblical archaology - is taken completely out of context. In the article linked to, it has absolutely nothing to do with Asherah. Perhaps this should be changed to something less misleading.

146.186.152.51 20:18, 28 April 2007 (UTC) Lauren K.



In this paragraph User:Rickyrab inserted the last italicized line:

In the lunar Islamic calendar, the Day of Ashurah, transliterated as Aashurah, Ashura or Aashoorah, falls on the 10th day of Muharram. On that day, in the year of the Hejira 61 (AD 680), Husayn bin Ali, the grandson of Muhammad was killed by Umayyad forces at the Battle of Karbala (now in Iraq). Still the Day of Aashurah, it is observed as a day of mourning by Shi'ites. Whether or not Ashurah festival has anything to do with Asherah, is unknown.

The point that it was the Day of Asherah, and still is, wasn't made strongly enough, I guess. How about this, then:

In the ancient lunar calendar that has become the Islamic calendar, the Day of Ashurah, transliterated as Aashurah, Ashura or Aashoorah, falls on the 10th day of Muharram. On that day, in the year of the Hejira 61 (AD 680), Husayn bin Ali, the grandson of Muhammad was killed by Umayyad forces at the Battle of Karbala (now in Iraq). Still called the Day of Aashurah, it has been observed ever since as a day of mourning by Shi'ites.

If I tell someone that Friday is "Freya's Day" and that the Crucifixion occured on a Friday, and they say "What does the Crucifixion have to do with Freya?" I'm a little stumped. Wetman 21:18, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Yeah, and how is the Muslim holiday (Ashora) connected to the goddess (Asherah)? Excuse me, but I thought Islam was always a monotheistic religion. Rickyrab 23:47, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

That's like asking why someone would mention Cupid (an ancient Roman God) in relation to Saint Valentine's Day (a Christian Holiday). Christianity also claims to be monotheist, yet pre-christian holdovers remain, as it is with Islam.68.148.123.76 (talk) 09:28, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Islam has in its roots paganism. this is not a bias statement it is a fact from history. unlike the judeo-christian tradition whereby the grass roots are monotheistic, polytheism is Islams base roots and foundation. As a result many pagan rituals are present.

"Allah was the supreme, though not sole, diety in Arabia before the arrival of Islam. He lived, together with other dieties, in the heavens and was said to have created the earth and bestowed water on it. In pre-Islamis times animism was prevalent thoughout Arabia: trees and springs were worshipped and certain stones were believed to contain sacred power. However, the prophet Mohammed (c. AD 570 - 632) adopted Allah as the one true god, to whom total submission was due, and proclaimed it blasphemous to worship any other diety. According to the Qur'an, polytheism is the greatest sin...Because Allah is believed to be completely different from everything he has created, it is forbidden for anyone to attempt to portray him." --Cotterell, Arthur & Storm, Rachel. Anness Publishing Ltd., 2003,p. 236

"The Ka'aba or 'Square House' is an oblong stone building, draped with black silk, which contains the sacred Black Stone of Islam. Situated within the mosque at Mecca. Islam's holiest city, the Ka'aba symbolizes the meeting of heaven and earth, and was an important shrine long before the time of the Prophet Muhammed (c. AD 570 - 632). It contained many images of gods and goddesses from the Arabian pantheon. According to the Qur'an, the Ka'aba was rebuilt by Abraham for the worship of the one true god, Allah - but the Meccans had enshrined a number of idols, "The Daughters of Allah", within it...In pre-Islamic times, a four-month truce was called each year between the warring tribes of Arabia, and people from different tribes and towns would visit the shrine and circle around the structure." --Cotterell, Arthur & Storm, Rachel. Anness Publishing Ltd., 2003,p. 291. it is important to note that as one of the five pillars of faith a muslim must complete the hajj, the pilgrimage to this spot in mecca. the rites include seven circumambulations around the ka'aba and kissing the sacred stone. it is interesting to note that in pagan idol worship practices common in religions such as those present in Ancient Babylon, kissing of erected stones or idols was common practice. and if you are thinking of a correlation with the Roman Catholic practice of kissing representations of mary and saints you're on the right track.

"The Kaabah was a temple were the two statues of Asaf and Naelah, the famous Kuhhan of Jinn, were located. The Hajj began there and progressed to the statues of Wind-Jinn. Copies of the statues of Asaf and Naelah were placed over the hills of Safa and Marwa. One can not fail to observe the role of the temple of Mecca as a place of worship for the Jinn religion, as well as being a place for the worship of the Arabian Star Family. Another element which helps us to understand the role of the Temple of Mecca is that it united the two main religions of Arabia: the Jinn religion, and the Star Family religion. In the Star Family religion, Allah was the biggest star. His wife was the sun, and his daughters were Manat and al-'Uzza, each representing a planet. The Kuhhan who represented the Jinn religion to Arabians who practiced other pagan religions, such as the worship of the Arabian Star Family, were accepted by the people who considered the Kuhhan to be gods. The tribe of Quraish considered Iblis - another name for the devil - and Allah to be brothers.[i][1] They said that between Allah and the Jinn, there is great kinship.[ii][2] They believed that the angels where daughters of Allah, and that the mothers of the angels were the daughters of the “Jinn’s lord.”[iii][3] The Jinn were viewed as superior to the angels. Pagan Arabians gave this exalted position to the Jinn because they believed the Jinn were in close relationship and kinship with Allah. Because the Jinn replaced the angels, they left their fingerprints on the Qur’an." by Dr. Rafat Amari

http://religionresearchinstitute.org/mecca/roleoftemple.htm .

Muhammed was born into a culture where moon god worship was prevalent. more importantly he was born into the Quraish tribe, which were followers of the Arabian Star Family, whose chief deity was Allah. Khobeb (talk) 22:46, 9 August 2011 (UTC)Khobeb



User:Jallan informs us that the word for "ten" in Arabic is Aashurah and removes the following text:

"In the lunar Islamic calendar, the Day of Ashurah, transliterated as Aashurah, Ashura or Aashoorah, falls on the 10th day of Muharram. On that day, in the year of the Hejira 61 (AD 680), Husayn bin Ali, the grandson of Muhammad was killed by Umayyad forces at the Battle of Karbala (now in Iraq). Still called the Day of Aashurah, it is observed as a day of mourning by Shi'ites. As for the meaning of Asherah, non-Muslims will be interested to read that Muslims are taught the following:

"The conventional meaning of Ashura in the Shariah refers to the 10th of Muharram-ul-Haraam. In his distinguished book, Ghuniyatut Taalibeen, Sayyiduna Ghaus-ul-Azam, Sheikh Abdul Qaadir Jilani (radi Allahu anhu) writes that the Ulema have a difference of opinion, as to why this day is known as Ashura. Since the reason has been explained in various ways, the consensus of the majority of the Ulema is that it is known as Ashurah because it is the 10th day of Muharram, while certain Ulema say that from the sacred days that Almighty Allah blessed the Ummat-e-Muhammadi with, this day is the 10th most important day, and it is for this reason that it is known as Ashurah. (Ghuniyatut Taalibeen, pg. 428)"

The day sacred to Asherah falls on the tenth of Muharram. Asherah can be disguised as "Aashurah," but only suppression of all references to the fact that these are identical will satisfy Islamist concerns. Asherah is Aashurah, as Makkah is Mecca. Though the connection may be suppressed, we are not fooled. Wetman 14:57, 24 May 2004 (UTC)


I have temporarily removed the following text here to Discussion:It is generally believed that her name is a shortening of the expression Athirat Yamm 'She who walks on the sea'. Names of gods are never shortenings. Quite to the contrary, secondary epithets always make the deity more local or more concrete. Besides, if this etymology were genuine, what would one make of Asherah's connection to Yahweh in the inscriptions at Kuntillet Ajrud, mentioned in the entry? Since Yam is the god of the wild sea, surely Asherah is the Queen or Consort of these other deities. Wetman 16:05, 24 May 2004 (UTC)


Whatever meaning is associated with the name, the name Ashirat Yammi does appear in the Ugaritic texts and the full translation of "Ashirat of the Sea" in books and articles if they mention any interpretation of the name is the one I gave, at least so far as I know. A quick check confirmed it as given on page 4 of John Gibson's Canaanite Myths and Legends and on page 21 of Frank Moore Gross's Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic. The translation can probably be found in almost any book about the northwest Semitic gods or the Ugaritic pantheon. No-one so far as I know has questioned it, simply presenting without any special comment as though self-evident to anyone who can read Ugaritic.

That doesn't mean it is correct. It wouldn't be the first time almost all scholars in a field have been wrong. But unless someone can provide a more recent theory as an alternative, "She who treads on the Sea" belongs in the article as the standard translation accepted by scholars.

As to `Ashurah, stating that it is fact that `Ashurah does not really mean 'ten' and is actually related to Asherah does not make it a fact. I have nothing philosphically against the equation. But to me the suggestion appears to be crank linguistics of a very normal sort: the words look alike therefore there must be a relationship.

I don't know Arabic, other than individual words in literary and linguistic contexts and very small amount of grammar. But I do know some Hebrew, Akkadian and Ugaritic and somewhat about proto-Semitic and the relationships between the Semitic languages. The equation looks wrong.

I could be wrong, of course.

But if anyone thinks the equation is not crank linguistics, then that person should provide evidence that it is not. jallan 03:55, 27 May 2004 (UTC)


I'd like to propose moving the redirect from Qudshu. Qudshu really should redirect to Qetesh, as Qudshu is not the same as Asherah but may just be related. Then the Qetesh article can mention Asherah as a see also. If no objections in a week or so I'll go ahead.Bookgrrl 00:58, 20 May 2006 (UTC) Upon removal from temple mount Asherah and Qadesh were associated. A tossed note at a junkheap in the desert does not confirm any association.

Name of Sacred Sea[edit]

The sacred sea (lake) upon which Asherah trod was known as Yam Kinneret and is now called Lake Galilee.

Could someone provide a source for this? Thanks! --TimeDog 15:28, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

I am very skeptical of the connection to lake Galilee. I can find no other corroboration of this. This is significant since it seems to link Ashera very directly to the miracle in the Christian new testament. If this were the case, wouldn't there be more written on this? Smells fishy, perhaps related to current neo-pagan worship of the goddess, but not archaeological evidence. Unless someone can provide a source for this, this should probably be deleted, or at least clarified. --Solarinus 22:34, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Agreed with the above two: If this is true, it has some very provocative and fascinating implications with regards to the story of Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee in the Gospel of Matthew. As it is, Wikipedia seems to be the primary source of this information. "Citation needed" has been there for over a year, and no one has come up with a reference or anything suggesting that this is anything other than a rumor. Because of the potential for controversy this probably should have been removed immediately rather than getting a fact-tag (see WP:BURDEN); as it is, there has been more than enough time to find an actual source for this information. --Rimbo (talk) 18:02, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Several other points:

  • I have suggested that Asherah Pole. is merged with this page. Most of what is covered there is covered here but in more detail, and from a slightly more neutral POV.
  • This article seems to gloss over current theories regarding a Deuteronomist censure/suppresion of Asherah, in particular as it regards to the creation story of Genesis and the symbol of the serpent. While this does not have to be represented as fact, or even mainstream thought, it is highly relevant to this subject.
  • For Asherah often a wooden-made rudely carved statue planted on the ground of the house was her symbol, and sometimes a clay statue without legs and stood in the same way. Her idols were found also in forests, carved on living trees, or in the form of poles beside altars that were placed at the side of some roads. This appears to reflect a far more detailed understanding of Judaic Asherah worship than I believed the current evidence supports. This also needs a source or needs to be revised.

Anyway, seems this article has been ignored for a while. I hope I can generate some discussion here. --Solarinus 05:03, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Asherah Pole and Qudshu[edit]

The "Asherah Pole" is named after the goddess, although the jury is still out on what it actually was. It would be appropriate to merge "Asherah Pole" with this article since without the discovery of "Asherah" at Ugarit we would still likely have "groves" as a translation for the Hebrew word.

Qudshu, I agree, is not the same as Asherah. A strong case has been made that this conflation is a modern creation and does not fit the evidence. Sawiggins 14:56, 24 April 2007 (UTC)Steve A. Wiggins

I support adding Ashera Pole, go ahead whoever wants to do it - and remove the banner ;) Qudshu is from the same root as holy, qodesh in modern Hebrew. As for the earlier talk of the muslim "Ashura" and Ashera - the two are noy connected. "Asura" (as well as the Hebrew and Arabic words for "ten") begind with an 'ayin. Ashera is with an aleph. Uri

As per Dever (2005) and other sources, there is a close association between the goddess Asherah and the 'pole' or whatever it was. It makes sense to merge these articles. Bondegezou 16:16, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

A few minor edits[edit]

I made a few minor edits, aimed at combining sections that seem to belong togther, and then combining/moving paragraphs within those sections so that themes are clarified and repetition avoided where possible. Nothing major. But I did make the language a little more assertive than perhaps it was - there's really no dispute at all in scholarly circles about the worship of Ahserah in ancient Israel and the late development of monotheism. Also added a ref to Dever's book. Cheers. PiCo 11:07, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Go ahead[edit]

I think so. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 207.199.222.142 (talk) 21:16, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Cats?[edit]

The two-sentence bit at the end about the Ashera cats needs to be either elaborated or deleted. As it is, it's written almost like an advertisement. I just don't understand its relevance other than a similar name. Does it even belong here? TheMadChild (talk) 21:05, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Some sources (esp with regard to consort of Yahweh)[edit]

[1][2][3] [4] Dougweller (talk) 20:46, 3 May 2009 (UTC)

Watch your language[edit]

Can somebody transliterate אשרה? TREKphiler hit me ♠ 17:22, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

I'm having issues getting the Ugaritic characters to display. I've tracked down freeware fonts for nearly all other non-Latin scripts used in Wikipedia, but the three Ugaritic freeware fonts I've found aren't displaying the characters here, nor are my Unicode fonts. It would be nice if Wikipedia required the font used for non-Latin alphabets to be explicitly identified in the page contents, because "View Source" is of no help for this, at least in my experience. Thanks! Jakk42 (talk) 21:03, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

connection between Asherah and 'Ashurah[edit]

There is no connection between Asherah (starts with Aleph or Alif) and 'Ashurah (starts with 'Ayin, a completely different letter). If that wasn't enough the second letter of the roots of the two words, the "sh," have completely different origins. The Shin of Asherah comes from the Proto-Semitic "Th" which evolved into "Sh" in the Northwest Semitic languages but remained in Arabic, becoming Thaa. If the day of 'Ashurah was related to Asherah, it would more likely be called Athurah, with no 'Ayin. Instead, 'Ashurah most likely comes from the word for 10 in Arabic, 'Asharah. As it says on the Asherah page, the Day of 'Ashurah "falls on the 10th day of Muharram." On the Day of 'Ashurah page, it doesn't even mention Asherah at all, even in the etymology section of the page.

I suggest a deletion of the entire "Day of 'Ashurah" section.--Vgp0012 (talk) 00:51, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Misinformation in quote[edit]

I have to question the veracity of this 2004 Devers quote:

"We do not know for sure what the belief in the god Yahweh meant for the average Israelite. Although the biblical text tells us that most Israelites worshipped Yahweh alone, we know that this is not true... The discoveries of the last fifteen years have given us a great deal of information about the worship of the ancient Israelites. It seems that we have to take the worship of the goddess Asherah more seriously than ever before."

This is simply distortion and false information and should probably be removed. Especially this statement: "Although the biblical text tells us that most Israelites worshipped Yahweh alone, we know that this is not true..."

On the contrary, the biblical text tells us repeatedly that most Israelites did NOT worship Yahweh alone, but that they repeatedly introduced Asherah into their ceremonies (and also that Yahweh eventually punished them for it). The archaeological discovery of relics showing that the Israelites worshipped Asherah alongside Yahweh, is thus 100% in confirmation of the biblical accounts that say the Israelites worshipped Asherah alongside Yahweh. It never ceases to amaze me to see what spin minimalists will put on the Bible, counting on people to be ignorant enough of scripture to fall for it. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 21:12, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

Dever isn't a minimalist, but still you have a point. Personally I feel that sentence is rather off-topic in any case - the article is about Asherah, not ancient Israelite religion in general, and I don't think it adds anything to the preceding material. PiCo (talk) 07:47, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
It's phrased differently now, but the article still has the same incorrect statement: that the biblical text doesn't state that Israelites regularly worshipped Asherah, when in fact they do say that repeatedly. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.73.70.113 (talk) 17:14, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Astar[edit]

Was Asherah equivalent to Astar (god) of the Axum Empire? (That article needs work...) Wnt (talk) 03:45, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

A quick online search tells me that Astar was a male god and the head of the pantheon, and lived (if that's the word) in the first half of the first millennium AD - so a connection seems unlikely IMO. But you're welcome to do some research. PiCo (talk) 05:54, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

Removal of material based upon reliable sources[edit]

The edits of User:HesedHashem are supported by The Bible Unearthed, book which says that this is the new consensus in archeology and history. As quoted from a reliable source on the documentary hypothesis, "A majority of scholars, if by no means all, continue to follow some version of the classic formulation of the Documentary Hypothesis". While there can be a question of how many Deuteronomists were there, it is clear that there is a Deuteronomistic history, this is consensual among historians. Tgeorgescu (talk) 14:53, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

I've restored it. Dougweller (talk) 15:15, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Always be sure to "attack the editor", eh Dougweller? Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 21:01, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
Ok, I'll remove that. I don't see it as much different, though, than your edit summary comment "not a shrine to your POV." which looks like an attack on someone. Dougweller (talk) 05:30, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
I saw that Til Eulenspiegel finds offensive and a breach of POV policy calling the Bible "a myth". However, theology is theology and science is quite another matter. History, religious studies, Higher Criticism and Lower Criticism are science. Holding the Bible as 100% literally accurate is not science, it is theology, and even a kind of awkward theology, seen what Bart D. Ehrman affirms on http://www.scribd.com/doc/19959475/Bart-Ehrman-Jesus-Interrupted (pages 3-5, from "baby Bible" exam to "baby Bible" exam again). Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:38, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
Here is a brief quote: Ehrman, Bart (2010). "A Historical Assault on Faith". Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them) (in English). HarperCollins e-books. pp. 3–4. ISBN 9780061173943. Retrieved 18-10-2010. My hunch is that the majority of students coming into their first year of seminary training do not know what to expect from courses on the Bible. ... Most students expect these courses to be taught from a more or less pious perspective, showing them how, as future pastors, to take the Bible and make it applicable to people's lives in their weekly sermons.
Such students are in for a rude awakening. Mainline Protestant seminaries in this country are notorious for challenging student's cherished beliefs about the Bible -- even if these cherished beliefs are simply a warm and fuzzy sense that the Bible is a wonderful guide to faith and practice, to be treated with reverence and piety. These seminaries teach serious, hard-core Bible scholarship. They don't pander to piety. They are taught by scholars who are familiar with what German- and English-speaking scholarship have been saying about the Bible over the past three hundred years.
  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help) Tgeorgescu (talk) 20:59, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

'Controversy' section[edit]

I find this title unhelpful. My attempt to change it has been reverted, so I've taken it up at WP:Trying to get an NPOV section heading at Asherah hoping for a section heading that is both NPOV and informative so that readers looking at the toc will know what the section is about. Dougweller (talk) 13:09, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

I hope the change in title helps. Also, the quote of one review of Dever's book rather sounded like name calling; I changed that based on a read-through of the review article in question. PЄTЄRS J V TALK 19:35, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Deuteronomy 33:2[edit]

Last night the BBC showed the second part of a documentary series called The Bible's Buried Secrets (not to be confused with an American PBS series from a few years back), fronted by Francesca Stavrakopoulou, an academic lecturer in theology and religion from the University of Exeter.

The topic of the programme was polytheism in ancient Israel, with a fair amount about Asherah.

One of the things she raised was the word "aishdat" in Deuteronomy 33:2. The meaning of this word is flagged by translators as uncertain. It's often split into two, aish=fire and dat=law, so "a fiery law" (KJV, JPS 1911; NASB: "flashing lightning"); but that doesn't make a lot of sense in the context; and also, at least according to Gesenius, dat appears to be a comparatively late Persian loan-word, only otherwise found biblically in the Book of Esther. [5]. The NIV instead offers: "from his mountain slopes" with the note "meaning of the Hebrew uncertain".

What the programme suggested was that "aishdat" is in fact a scribal mis-copying, or even deliberate substitution, for asherah; noting the similarities of the letter-shapes in hebrew: אשרה --> אשדת

In the context, Asherah does fit rather well:

The LORD came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran.
He came to them with his myriad holy ones; Asherah was at his right hand.

Question: is this claim a widespread assertion; and does it deserve a place in the article, for example at the end of the "Biblical sources" section, albeit couched in a suitably tentative way ? Jheald (talk) 13:35, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Some more data:
  • The proposal was apparently suggested by H.S. Nyberg. ZDMG 92 320--344 (1938), p. 335 (German) citation 1 citation 2
  • It was revived in 1996 by Moshe Weinfeld, Vetus Testamentum 46 527--528;jstor citation; Weinberg had previously also warmly noted the idea at page 4 in this 1984 paper.
  • It was also argued by Meindert Dijkstra (not the footballer) in 1995, Yahweh, El and their Asherah, pp. 68-9 citation; and in 2001, El, the God of Israel – Israel the people of YHWH: On the Origins of Ancient Israelite Yahwism in Only One God?: Monotheism in Ancient Israel and the Veneration of the Goddess Asherah (Biblical Seminar) Sheffield Academic Press 2001, p. 115, more detailed discussion at 117. citation
  • Also Karel van der Toorn, Family religion in Babylonia, Syria, and Israel: continuity and changes in the forms of religious life. Brill, 1996. p. 324
  • David Steinberg offers a very slightly different reconstruction (preserving the tav) [6].
  • Joseph Blenkinsopp also avers that the emendation "may be permissible". [7], JSOT 33(2) 131-153 p. 138 (2008)
An alternate reading, not involving Asherah, was offered by Richard Steiner, JBL 115 695-696 (1996) citation.
Such proposals are reviewed by Carmel MacCarthy in Lemaire ed. (2001), pp 125 to 132; and DDD p. 918 (not on Google Books) Jheald (talk) 14:22, 23 March 2011 (UTC)
Well, you have named enough scholars who have argued this to merit a mention of their views, although surely others would take issue with this kind of speculative methodology in Bible criticism ('let's just replace a word with a different word, then it will say what we want it to say' might be called a kind of strawman logic). Your wording just above seems neutral enough; maybe the best tweak would be something like: "The proposal was suggested by Nyberg in [get year], and has also been argued by Dijkstra, Weinfeld, and Stavrakopoulou." Obviously a hypothesis like that isn't going to fly with all schools of thought; have you looked for any more critical reviews of that idea? Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 15:21, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Monarchal period[edit]

This article mentions the "monarchal period." Does that mean the period in the article Kingdom of Israel (united monarchy)? ChangMei (talk) 01:31, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Alan Millard[edit]

Til, if you think this is a reliable source, take it to WP:RSN (and say you have on this talk page). So far you are just reverting without an acceptable reason, even admitting so far as I can see that the section you are reinstating is too lengthy. You need to both find a reliable source and show that this view is significant - the burden to do so is on you. Dougweller (talk) 07:50, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. If a reliable source cannot be found taking this position, then it does not need to be in the article. The source used is unacceptable, and therefore the section falls within WP:PROVEIT; the burden of referencing the material falls upon the restorer. :bloodofox: (talk) 15:45, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Misleading information regarding section "In Israel and Judah"[edit]

The section, "In Israel and Judah" provides misleading information regarding the relationship of the god of Israel, Yahweh, and Asherah. The information provided may not be inaccurate, but is entirely incomplete and requires clarification regarding the historic relationship between the deities. A section regarding the role of Asherah in terms of Israel cannot reasonably avoid the somewhat extensive historical documentation found in the Hebrew scriptures. Mr. Ian Thomson removed my entire entry with the claim that it was inappropriate original research and was not from a neutral point of view; however, it would appear that the bias is on the part of Mr. Thomson. Below is my edited version of the post that was removed. The original content, and its appropriate intent, remains in the final paragraph. The posting appears to me to be properly documented and factually based on recognized sources. If there is clarification or correction needed, Mr. Thomson or others are asked to kindly provide direction in order to provide a complete picture of the topic.

Asherah (Strong's reference H842), a female proper noun, is mentioned 40 times in Hebrew scriptures and is translated in the KJV as "groves" (for idol worship). Most modern Bible translations use a more appropriate transliteration of the Hebrew name as "Asherah", or "Ashera Pole" as the object of worship. The term is used in Biblical literature as "a Babylonian (Astarte)-Canaanite goddess (of fortune and happiness), the supposed consort of Baal, her images, and may refer to a) the goddess, goddesses, b) her images, or c) sacred trees or poles set up near an altar." [1]

Biblical records consistently portray Yahweh warning Israel in no uncertain terms against bowing to foreign gods, and specifically Asherah worship [2]. Most occurrences of the name are in the context of recording Israel's "unfaithfulness" in violating the command [3], or examples of the destruction of Asherah worship by the faithful. [4].

While there is no Biblical evidence of a positive relationship between Yahweh, the God of Israel, and Asherah, it is clear that Asherah worship was popular in the region and was at times combined with worship of the God of Israel. As such, there is archeological evidence that he was at times portrayed with a consort.[5] The evidence includes, for example, an 8th century combination of iconography and inscriptions discovered at Kuntillet Ajrud in the northern Sinai desert[6] where a storage jar shows three anthropomorphic figures and an inscription that refers to "Yahweh … and his asherah".[7][8] Further evidence includes the many female figurines unearthed in ancient Israel, supporting the view that Asherah functioned as a goddess and consort of Yahweh and was worshiped as the Queen of Heaven.[7] These occurrences are consistent with historical Biblical records as examples of the distorted worship of Yahweh incited during the times of the unfaithful kings of Israel [9].

Like all our articles, this article should rely upon what reliable sources as defined at WP:VERIFY and WP:RS say about the subject, not our own analysis. As an aside, we do not treat biblical (small b as per MOS:CAPS) as 'historical' in the sense I think the editor above is using. We can't use the Bible to make a historical point, we can only use what reliable sources say about what the Bible says (and would usually attribute). Dougweller (talk) 08:55, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
As I said over at Talk:Yahweh regarding accusations of motive:
The "motive" is just presenting what trained historians have found, instead of dogmatic indoctrination.
Here's how it works: trained historians found evidence that many of the historical Israelites worshiped Asherah alongside Yahweh. Whether that was right or wrong, it happened. That's all this article says. Wikipedia is not saying that the Bible commands Asherah-worship, so do not act like that's what the article says. If your interpretation of the Bible clashes with what archaeology and history shows us, then the problem is in your interpretation.
I'm a Christian. I don't worship Asherah, and I do not advocate worshiping Asherah. When I see that historians are sure many early Israelites worshiped Asherah, do you know what my reaction is? "Huh, some of them made a mistake, but that's what they historically believed. Seeing illiteracy was common, it would make sense that the Bible would be written by a minority and reflect their educated views instead of the common religion of semi-nomadic bronze age folks in the middle of nowhere." I then get on with my life instead of trying to reshape the article to match any sort of fantasies I have about people who have been dead for millenia.
Do not accuse other editors of a destructive bias unless you have good evidence and have considered your own culpability. Ian.thomson (talk) 14:38, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
I and many others see the point being made here. The whole thing seems like a giant glaring strawman argument that was made up by some people who just aren't familiar with what the Bible actually says. Here's why. What the Bible actually says, in some books on practically every single page, is that the Israelites worshipped Asherah along with Yahweh. Then we get some archaeologist who says "Here is evidence that the Israelites worshipped Asherah along with Yahweh". So far, so good, but here's the part that doesn't make sense. The argument then continues "You see? That proves that the Bible is totally wrong!" Now the reason I say this doesn't make sense, is because what they should be saying is that the archaeology CONFIRMED the exact same thing the Bible says, viz. that the Israelites worshipped Asherah along with Yahweh. But they either haven't read the Bible, or are hoping nobody else has, because there seems to be an unstated and erroneous premise here somewhere, that the Bible might contradict the archaeological findings, such as by denying that the Israelites worshipped Asherah along with Yahweh. Since the Bible does not in fact deny this, but rather affirms it, the whole argument seems like a disingenuous strawman, made by certain biased authors who wish to detract from the Bible by blatantly misrepresenting it. Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 21:24, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
The Encyclopedia of Religion, vol. 1 under "Athirat" is a reliable source describing the argument against Asherah as a consort of Yahweh. This should be consulted in the section on Israel and Asherah. When I tried to update this section, Ian Thompson removed the information on the grounds that it constituted original research. Not so. This was a summary description of what scholars of religion have provided in the Encyclopedia of Religion, and certainly reliable and accurate of current scholarly consensus and debate.
                                    • — Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/{{{1}}}|contribs]])

Majority view: God had a wife[edit]

This is the majority view according to Francesca Stavrakopoulou, stated in the source already quoted in the article (the BBC documentary Bible's Buried Secrets). There is also a PBS documentary called Bible's Buried Secrets, wherein William Dever states as fact that God had an wife, and Amihai Mazar supports his conclusion. This documentary is available on YouTube, both in a short (1 hour) version as in a long (4 hours) version. If you have time to spend, watch both versions, since they do not show precisely the same interviews. In the PBS documentary mainstream historians get interviewed about the origin of the Jews, the writing of the Bible, the Exodus, the existence of Abraham and Moses, etc. According to http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bible/apsell.html :

Q: So NOVA is not out to disprove the Bible? Apsell: Not at all. NOVA is certainly not out to disprove the Bible or to denigrate anyone's religious convictions. Our approach is simply to present the results of mainstream, peer-reviewed biblical archeology and let viewers draw their own conclusions.

So, I have restored the statement that the majority view is that God had an wife, according to the Israelite folk religion which is manifest in archaeological evidence. Tgeorgescu (talk) 22:54, 11 August 2012 (UTC)

The key thing of course is that this was only at one time period. Dougweller (talk) 10:46, 12 August 2012 (UTC)