[b-hebrew] question about Ashtarte/ Asharah and Book of Ester

Dora Smith villandra at austin.rr.com
Sun Oct 12 14:51:01 EDT 2003

The book of Ester is believed to be a story built around an early spring
festival taht featured the Canaanite great mother goddess Ashtarte/ Asharah.

In the fashion of all great mother goddesses as their societies morphed into
patriarchal societies with patriarchal hierarchies of gods, she became the
wife of teh high god and the mother god, one of whose most important
functions was to intervene in her role as queen of heaven, with the moody
male king god, on behalf of people.   This transformation occurred worldwide
from the Aztecs to the Virgin Mary.

The book of Ester places Ester in a role that looks startlingly like that of
Ashtarte, as she marries a mood-disordered king, and then intervenes with
him for the lives of her people.   Her depiction as a pure maiden is
consistent with depictions of the Aztec mother of the sun god, the Mithran
mother of Mithras, and the Virgin Mary.

The goddess Ashtarte, Canaanite form Asherah, was widespread across the
ancient Near East.   The Persian invasion of the Near East would have
converted Ashtarte to a pure and demure maiden whose main function was to
intervene with gods and moody kings for her people if Near Eastern myth had
not already pretty much done that.

In Canaan, among the Israelites, and in atleast some circles and aspects of
official Yahwistic cult, Ashtarte/ Asherah continued to play her role as
wife of El, Queen of Heaven, and confusingly enough, wife or sister of
Ba'al, until the Return from Exile, when the Puritan reformers stamped out
all elements of traditional religion.

I am wondering what story or myth from Babylonian, Persian, or even
Israelite life, the book of Ester is modelled on.

Someone please fess up.   It seems like such a story almost certainly

Dora Smith
Austin, Texas
villandra at austin.rr.com

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