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.