[b-hebrew] The Priestly Stratum (Liz)
mc2499 at mclink.it
Thu Feb 27 20:24:39 EST 2003
> > > I disagree that the people of pre-Exilic Judah were
> > > polytheistic. I don't know that the figurines represented
> > > Ashera or that they were worshipped.
> > If they weren't cultic figurines like all
> > the others, what were they?
> All what others??
All the other cultic figurines found in the
ANE. And isn't the basic representation of a
woman or goddess holding her breasts the same
image that you find in many other figurines
> Where were these found?? Were they found in any cultic setting?
> I surveyed every Iron II cult setting between Megiddo and Beersheva,
> plus the cult site at Tel Dan. I did not find one reference to these
> pillar figurines. They are found in domestic contexts only and in
> Persian period favissae.
I would expect that worship of Ashera would
principally be done by women at home, so one
would expect the figurines in "domestic
contexts" or in the grave.
And I would have thought that favissae were
dead give-aways for cultic activity. Are
there any favissae that were not attached
to cultic activity?
> > > I don't know who
> > > wrote the grafitti on the Kuntillit Adjrud pithoi.
> > Or the Khirbet el-Qom inscription or at Deir
> > el'Alla (with its shadayin gods),
> Neither of these sites is in Judah.
This is interestingly territorial.
Mark Smith says that el-Qom is "in the
heartland of Judah", Early History of God,
Are names like Uriyahu and Oniyahu of no
And isn't Deir `Alla closer to Jerusalem
than Arad is?
> > but then the
> > archaeological record says that the inhabitants
> > of the area were polytheistic
> What archaeological record???
The one that provides only polytheistic
indications from the pre-exilic period
such as those figurines, the two altars
at Arad (if not the two pillars), the
artificial mound, bamah, at Malhah
> > Who worshipped at the bamah just outside
> > Jerusalem at Malhah (which is now a part
> > southern suburbs)? (See de Vaux, Ancient
> > Israel, p285.)
> I looked up the reference you give. He gives
> no footnote, I don't know what is referred to here.
See p539 for his sources on high places.
> I looked up Malhah in the NEAEHL and found
> nothing, I looked up Jerusalem and found nothing
> there either. De Vaux seems to be speaking of
> a barren hill. If so, it's hard to make anything of it.
"artificial mounds... one... is made of
earth and stones held in position by a
polygonal wall: a flight of man-made
steps. The pottery associated with this
level belongs to the 7th & 6th c."
> I find it amusing that people who spend so much
> effort to discredit the biblical text, who debate the
> existence of Solomon and David yet are so willing to
> take the prophets' word for it that the Jews worshipped
> other gods.
(You're making veiled personal attacks,
as yours is a response to me. That's not
You talk of someone's "discredit[ing] the
biblical text", but I would think this is
only possible if you have given it some
credit -- which may not be appropriate in
what you are crediting. I take your words
as accepting the historical veracity of
the biblical traditions. On what grounds?
Were the writers writing history? Did an
idea of history exist in the culture at
the time the texts were written? Is
attempting to find any history behind the
text equal to discrediting? I fear a
reductionism to either 1) historically
correct or 2) rag of lies. I have just
defended the biblical text against someone
who wants to reduce it to plagiarism on
ANE. Do I have to do similarly from those
who want to retroject other modern
commitments into them? The ancient writer
is unaware of the epistemological
responsibilities you are projecting onto
him. He just believed that it was true
because that is what he received.
To respond to the apparent dilemma you
pose: it is the devil in the details.
If a writer defends a position, some
aspect of it is relevant for the
writer's period. The scourge of
polytheism lurks there in many texts
which defend against it. There aren't
too many texts that don't confront the
issue in some way. Even some interesting
non-yahwistic theophoric names and
placenames have survived in the text.
> > > I can tell
> > > you tho that there was only one matzevah at Arad, the
> > > other one you see in all the photos was part of the wall
> > > and had fallen into the cella area.
> > This is not how A.Mazar and others see it.
> > There were in fact two altars in the temple.
> > See Mazar's Archaeology..., Doubleday, p497.
> That's an error, and that same error is perpetuated over
> and over again. If you go to the site you can see for yourself.
> -- which I urge everyone to do.
Was the reconstruction also wrong on that page?
> > "Placed inside the niche, against the rear
> > wall, were two standing stones (massebot);
> > one, painted red, was larger than the other.
> > At the entrance to the Holy of Holies, there
> > were two monolithic stone altars of different
> > dimensions, each standing opposite the
> > massebah of comparable size."
> The other one, the one not painted, was just a fallen
> stone. But yes, there are two small incense altars.
Two altars usually indicate two separate
worships, don't they? How do you explain
the existence of two here and not one?
> > Piera Arata Mantovani writes in an Italian
> > analysis, "The Arad Temple, ...
> > c... two stone stelae... two small stone
> > altars..."
> I have reanalyzed the stratigraphy,
Could you supply some details?
And I guess I'll have to re-read Ussishkin.
> > > All the polemics that you read in Ezekiel, etc. are just their
> > > way of explaining the disasters. The temple was captured,
> > > the people deported -- ERGO they must have worshipped
> > > other gods.
> > ... the onus is on
> > you to contextualize it, otherwise your ideas
> > about significance can't even be considered,...
> You are the one who mentioned Ezekiel.
I was just following your lead.
> I mention
> him and Jeremiah as well, and any other prophet you
> like. Hosea and Amos said the same thing, speaking
> about their fears of an Assyrian conquest. The point is
> that the reason for the conquest is not to be found in
> the political situation, but that the people must have
> turned away from YHWH.
> It is still a trope.
And points to polytheism at the time of the
writers of the works you cite, whenever that
was. To use the texts for historical purposes
one still has to attempt to date them.
(You'll note that that's what I attempt to
(You left out the bits which more interested
me -- regarding the priesthood!)
More information about the b-hebrew