[b-hebrew] YHWH's attitude towards zonah

Harold R. Holmyard III hholmyard at ont.com
Fri Jul 16 15:37:20 EDT 2004

Dear Stoney,

>1) If we didn't have the entertaining but hardly dependable Herodotus,
>would we ever have arrived at the notion that there was such a thing as
>"temple prostitution"? Or would we assume that the prophets'
>identification of religious and sexual infidelity is a metaphor, not
>condemnation of actual physical or economic acts?

The city is called "Wealthy Corinth" on account of its trade. 
Situated on an isthmus it is master of two harbors, one leading to 
Asia and the other to Italy. In earlier times, the Temple of 
Aphrodite acquired such wealth that it owned over one thousand 
slaves, women dedicated to the goddess for sex and entertainment. And 
so the city was crowded and enriched because of these women, as ship 
masters easily spent everything they had.
-Strabo Geography 8.6.20-23

HH: Here is a statement by PBS, where the Strabo quote above appears:

Because of its great wealth and transitory population, Corinth had a 
reputation for luxury, and uninhibited pleasures. This reputation was 
further bolstered by the city's association with Aphrodite -- her 
image appeared on the city's coinage, and Corinth had at least three 
temples to the goddess of love, including one on the very high summit 
of Acrocorinth, where she held a shield before her like a mirror. In 
addition, the harbors had their own temples to the goddess of love. 
In pre-Roman times, one temple of Aphrodite was served by temple 
prostitutes, and, though modern scholars debate whether ritual 
prostitution had ceased by the time of Paul's arrival, there is 
little doubt that prostitution would have thrived. Brothels have been 
excavated in several Roman cities, including Pompeii and Ephesus. But 
Aphrodite was important to the city in other ways, too. Born out of 
the sea, she could protect the sailors and ships on which the city's 
economy depended. And Julius Caesar, the city's colonial patron, 
claimed descent from Venus, the Roman form of Aphrodite.

				Harold Holmyard

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