Moving Inland
Ba'al's Challenge
Obedience and Redemption
Resurrection Cycle: descent and ascent
Winners and Losers
     Birth of Christianity
Isolation and Invasion
Hellenistic influence
Two Testaments: two views

Ongoing Research

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  Patriarchal Monotheism

Ba'al's Challenge

"In order to understand this early syncretic Israelite religion— in particular the probable worship of Asherah—scholars use a combination of sources, including 1) the bible, 2) other texts from the surrounding cultures, and 3) archeological evidence.

First, let’s tackle the bible. The word “asherah” in either plural or singular form is mentioned over forty times in the biblical literature. Scholars argue about the meaning of this word, but the gist is this: there was some kind of cultic object called an “asherah,” which was wooden, like a pole or a tree and it stood at several official shrines, including Jerusalem. It often stood alongside a large stone, or massebah, which was a representation of the high god, El or Yahweh. There were asherahs and massebahs all over Israel, in the “high places;” in other words, on top of hills. The prophets railed against them and Israelite or Judahite kings designated as “good” by the biblical writer—like Hezekiah and Josiah—removed or pulled them down, inspired by bursts of monotheistic fervor." ~from The Evidence for Goddess Worship in Ancient Israel: Background for The Prophet’s Woman by Tamis Hoover Renteria, Author and Anthropologist. Read the article...

The Bible's Buried Secrets is the title of a NOVA program that appeared on PBS in 2008. It is nearly 2 hours long, but contains many interesting pieces of information and tantalizing stories, making it well worth the time.

A few years later, in 2012, The BBC produced a series of three excellent programs that discuss the history of the Bible, hosted by Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou. The episodes are called:

The Bible's Buried Secrets - The Real Garden of Eden
The Bible's Buried Secrets - Did God have a Wife?
The Bible's Buried Secrets - Did King David's Empire Exist?

Episode 2 discusses the conflict between El and Ba'al, and illustrates that the ancient Israelites were not monotheistic and, most compelling, it shows us God had a wife before she was written out of the bible by the returning Exiles.

While we could not embed it here, you can see the full episode on the Daily Motion site. View the video... The episode is an hour long, unfortunately including interrupting commercials, but is well worth watching.

If you spot a source that does not have the commercials, please let us know and we will change this link.