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The Hebrew Goddess 3rd Enlarged Edition Paperback – September 1, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0814322710 ISBN-10: 0814322719 Edition: 3rd

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The Hebrew Goddess 3rd Enlarged Edition + On the Wings of Shekhinah: Rediscovering Judaism's Divine Feminine
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Product Details

  • Series: Raphael Patai Series in Jewish Folklore and Anthropology
  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Wayne State University Press; 3 edition (September 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814322719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814322710
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

A revised edition containing new chapters on the Shekhina.

From the Publisher

"The Hebrew Goddess" demonstrates that the Jewish religion, far from being pure monotheism, contained from earliest times strong polytheistic elements, chief of which was the cult of the mother goddess. Lucidly written and richly illustrated, this third edition contains new chapters of the Shekhina.

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Customer Reviews

This book is a very in depth, intelligent read.
Samantha Linaschke
The book covers a plethora of goddesses and even has a chapter on the demon Lilith, with really good references to the demon Naamah and Tubal Cain.
Metallium
As a classical scholar in Hebrew legends, he shows us a mythology rich in female powers.
Brian Griffith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on January 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
Dr. Raphael Patai, a noted Hebrew scholar and anthropologist and author of the HEBREW GODDESS is also the co-author of HEBREW MYTHS with Robert Graves (THE WHITE GODDESS). Those who wish to continue reading about the goddess in ancient religions will find parts of the HEBREW GODDESS quite interesting, however, Patai's book is not as lyrical as Graves' and not as readable in some sections as others. I found passages dealing with archeology in the Holy Land and quotations from the Old-Testament more interesting, and the sections dealing with the rabbinical writing of the Talmudic period proved difficult to follow (and stay awake).
Essentially, Patai is not suggesting Judaism has reverted to polytheism or kept a goddess in the closet all this time. He says "the legitimate Jewish faith, beginning with the earliest formulations of its belief-system ...has always been built upon the axiom of One God. He says Maimonides, the greatest medieval Jewish philosopher said, "God is not a body, nor can bodily attributes be ascribed to him." Still, mere mortals have had difficulty understanding God as an abstract concept, and thus have ascribed human characteristics to "him.".
Patai says throughout it's history Judaism has stressed the moral and intellectual aspects of God and often neglected the affective and emotional dimensions. However, since the earliest times, the Jewish people have understood God through myths and these myths personify God. This personification of God has included the goddess worship Jerimiah decried, the female attributes of the Cherubim that guarded the Ark of the Covenant, the myths of Lillith, the visions of the Shekina during the Talmudic period, and the rise of the Matronite in the 15th-18th Centuries.
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111 of 123 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
The Bible gives the impression that all ancient Jews shared a common belief system ... with only an occasional group straying from the fold. But the evidence paints a different picture. As Dr. Patai states, "... it would be strange if the Hebrew-Jewish religion, which flourished for centuries in a region of intensive goddess cults, had remained immune to them." Archaeologists have uncovered Hebrew settlements where the goddesses Asherah and Astarte-Anath were routinely worshipped. And in fact, we find that for about 3,000 years, the Hebrews worshipped female deities which were later eradicated only by extreme pressure of the male-dominated priesthood.
And then there's the matter of the Cherubim that sat atop the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. Fashioned by Phoenician craftsmen for Solomon and Ahab, an ivory tablet shows two winged females facing each other. And one tablet shows male and female members of the Cherubim embracing in an explicitly sexual position that embarrassed later Jewish historians ... and even the pagans were shocked when they saw it for the first time.
This cult of the feminine goddess, though often repressed, remained a part of the faith of the Jewish people. Goddesses answered the need for mother, lover, queen, intercessor ... and even today, lingers cryptically in the traditional Hebrew Sabbath invocation.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By David Philips on December 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
As a Jew and a student of Judaism this sits among the most important books I have read, although it took ten years for me to finish it. In a few words, it provides me with a factual-critical-intellectual basis for my engagement with the feminine in my tradition.

I am only sorry the Dr Patai has passed on, may his memory be a blessing, so he will not be able to update The Herbrew Goddess to account for:

a) more recent archaeology, and

b) the recent flowering of the femininine in Judaism

David
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul William Schumacher on June 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book in order to research Lilith and I discovered a wealth of information beyond my original quest. "The Hebrew Goddess" is well written, informative, and easy to understand. I recommend this to college professors who need to teach undergrad level courses because the material will not be over their head. I also recommend the book to anyone who is interested in Judeo-Christian Lore.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Metallium on September 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is probably one of the best academic books of all time. The area of Hebrew beliefs is not really tackled by even the most hardcore of Mesopotamian scholars. I always recommend this book to people who study Hebrew, Canaanite, and Mesopotamian beliefs as well as the people interested in goddess worship of the Ancient Near East and even those who are very critical of Judaism or Christianity. The book covers a plethora of goddesses and even has a chapter on the demon Lilith, with really good references to the demon Naamah and Tubal Cain. So its a plus for Jewish feminists and Goddess worshipers whom concern themselves with the modern image of Lilith.

Patai is very excellent translator of the Hebrew language and his notes in other Hebrew translations (Such as his translations of the Zohar) are worth looking into to explain the translation for the lay people who know little Hebrew. There is a lot that the English language fails to grasp concerning translating Hebrew.

I only have a few problems with it. For example, some of his more controversial assertions don't hold up to modern scholarship where archeology is concerned. The Burney relief is thought with great academic consensus to be Ishtar rather than Lilith. Jacobsen, a very renown Mesopotamian scholar, suggested this was a form of Ishtar in her Ninna (Lady Owl) form. Patai uses Kramer, whom makes great translations from Sumerian, but is outdated concerning that archeology bit and some theories. However, Patai does cite Jacobsen several times over on other things. He seemed to cite Jacobsen more than Kramer... Well, this is a minor problem, really.

The other thing, which is also is very minor, is that the book isn't written so flowingly sometimes. It seems to just kind of go dry.
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