Episode 2 of The Bible’s Buried Secrets – BBC2 – Francesca Stavrakopoulou

Asherah: Mrs Yahweh
Asherah: Mrs Yahweh

For those of you in the UK, here’s Episode 2 of BBC2′s The Bible’s Buried Secrets, hosted by University of Exeter’s Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou.

The episode takes a look at Asherah, the wife of Yahweh in pre-monotheistic “Israelite” religion, that is, Yahweh’s divine consort in ancient “Israel” at least up until the mid-first millennium BC. One of the ways we know about her existence, apart from the traces that remain in the Bible, is from the small figurines of their goddess, dozens of which have been excavated from the seventh century BC. As the Bible relates, Mrs Yahweh was worshipped in the Jerusalem temple of Yahweh, alongside Yahweh himself, as a part of official state religion, at least until the seventh century BC. When later Judean monotheism invented a single god, they chose the male god of the divine pair. As Stavrakopoulou also rightly argues, as a result of this gendered hierarchy of being, women were adversely affected throughout areas which adopted the monotheistic innovation for some 2000 years.

I’m looking forward to the DVDs, which have very kindly been sent my way.


8 thoughts on “Episode 2 of The Bible’s Buried Secrets – BBC2 – Francesca Stavrakopoulou

  1. Sir,

    I recently read this review of the programme:
    ‘But what I object to is the unashamed power play that she makes in this programme. She is quite clear—she says it with some glee—that her academic ideas will ‘rock the foundations of monotheistic faith’. I wonder by what right she decides to do this—faith that is important to all sorts of people, to those facing persecution for their belief, for those facing umemployment, or disability, or perhaps even death. I wonder by what right she thinks she can do this?’

    I see you are equally horrible to the near unemployed, the disabled, the the nearly dead who like faith. By what right to YOU say these things?


  2. Was there really “glee” in her voice, or did you merely imagine that, Colin? The blog which you quoted is a quite conservative reaction to the points made on the show, and displays many indications of an over-defensive and emotive reaction. As far as I have been able to glean, the show does present the facts and issues as well as can be done on such a medium, and in doing so presents quite widely accepted conclusions of biblical scholarship to the wider public.

    What right do I have to also report these findings? I have the right of anybody who wants to freely speak the truth, to discover and make known more about our reality. The consequences of learning the truth may be alternatively disturbing or liberating for various hearers of the truth, but we cannot let these factors determine what may be said in the public arena without risking the rule of tyranny.


    • … I’m assuming that you’re serious, despite your ‘unemployed, disabled, and nearly dead’ call and Madchester moniker.


  3. It seems Francesca had her own ‘buried secrets’ and hidden agendas. I think ‘glee’ is a fair description, personally I thought she looked extremely ‘chuffed’ and this led me to wonder what her agenda was. The bulk of the program was informative and soundly researched and I agree with most of it’s factual tenets, but the concluding interpretation was woeful. As we all know that polytheist religions existed before monotheistic ones, why would the fact that people once believed that God had a wife ‘rock’ monotheism at all, never mind to its core? Even worse was her sweeping feminist conviction that was tagged onto the program without any supporting evidence. The idea that monotheism oppressed women demonstrates a calamitous ignorance of ancient matriarchal religions and biblical text on the presenter’s part, and largely an irrelevance to Christian montheism that began to reincorporate the feminine into the divine approximately 2,000 years ago!


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