[b-hebrew] Kadeshah

david.kimbrough at charter.net david.kimbrough at charter.net
Wed Jul 14 11:49:41 EDT 2004

While later traditions certainly condemns the ritual prostitutes, in Genesis 38 Judah thinks nothing too much amiss of making use of what he thinks is a road side *kadeshah*, who is, of course, is actually is daughter in law Tamar.  Whenever Genesis 38 was writen, the author (and audiance) obviously did not think using the services of *kadeshah* too taboo or the author would not have had one of the patriarchs doing so.

> From: Peter Kirk <peterkirk at qaya.org>
> Date: 2004/07/14 Wed AM 08:29:22 GMT
> To: Bearpecs at aol.com
> CC: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] "Sodomite" in 2 Kings 23.7 & Homosexuality
> On 14/07/2004 05:04, Bearpecs at aol.com wrote:
> > 
> >...
> > 
> >I also think it is likely that a qadesha associated with a sanctuary may  not 
> >have been a "temple prostitute" in the sense of a woman who commited sexual  
> >acts for cultic, ritual reasons.  I am not aware of any evidence that  ancient 
> >Israel practiced ritual sex for cultic purposes -- or even acknowledged  for 
> >example any sympathetic magic of human sex encouraging agricultural  
> >fertility.  (And if you say that all the evidence has been expurgated from  the Bible, 
> >then why would the mention of qedeshot not also be expurgated?)   Rather, I 
> >would suggest that a qedesha may have been a woman (presumably a  slave) 
> >dedicated to the sanctuary, just as other items were dedicated to the  sanctuary.  
> >Her income would then have belonged to the sanctuary.   Thus, she may have been 
> >a prostitute, and a "holy" prostitute in the sense that  her cost went to the 
> >upkeep of the holy sanctuary, but not a "temple prostitute"  in the classic 
> >meaning of the term.  (A qadesh -- whether performing  homosexual or 
> >heterosexual acts -- would similarly have been a sanctuary  prostitute but did not engage 
> >in sex for cultic purposes.)  This  would be just as deplorable in the eyes 
> >of the Bible as temple prostitution, but  I suggest is more consistent with 
> >what we know of the theological  environment.
> > 
> >  
> >
> The answer to your theory is in what Yigal wrote:
> >In all of
> >these, it refers to something that the Bible regards negatively, some
> >forbidden practice. Since the root QD$ is usually related to things
> >"sacred", one would assume that here, too, the reference is to some
> >forbidden cultic activity.
> >
> Furthermore, in many of the references QADESH is linked to the 
> idolatrous practices of the neighbouring nations. It is clear that, to 
> the faithful Israelites who wrote the Bible books, this was something 
> alien, idolatrous and detestable which had been imported into Israelite 
> religion by syncretists. Ritual sex for cultic purposes was indeed never 
> a part of normative Yahwism. But the Bible repeatedly tells us that 
> non-normative pagan practices were imported into Yahwism, and condemned 
> by the biblical authors. Even without the explicit references, we would 
> expect cultic prostitution to be one of these practices. 2 Kings 23:7 is 
> one of the passages in which these practices are condemned, in that they 
> were stamped out by Josiah who is commended as the ideal faithful king 
> (v.25).
> So, although we cannot be sure exactly what a QADESH did, we cannot 
> argue that it was not temple prostitution because this was not an 
> Israelite practice. Israelite practice in the pre-exilic period did not 
> always match the ideals of the Deuteronomist, and the texts bear witness 
> to that in their condemnations. Indeed, at times, such as the reign of 
> Manasseh, Israelite practice was much like that of the surrounding 
> nations, including child sacrifice (2 Kings 21:6), and the use of the 
> word QADESH in association with such periods suggests that temple 
> prostitution was included.
> -- 
> Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/
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David Kimbrough
San Gabriel

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