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Did God Have A Wife? Archaeology And Folk Religion In Ancient Israel 1St Edition Edition
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These important "fightin' words" contribute to the growing body of ammunition for those Jewish and Christian feminist/goddess theologians arguing for the legitimacy of using FEMININE as well as masculine imagery and language in theological discourse (Muslim feminists might have a harder time, given the Qur'an's insistence that "God has no 'partner'"). Dever himself thinks of the book as a sort of "feminist manifesto by a man."
Dever has written NUMEROUS books and peer-reviewed journal articles AGAINST the anti-semitic "implications" in the archaeological work of others (such as the "Copenhagen School"), and he is well-known in the academy as an outspoken CRITIC of "postmodern" or "deconstructive" thought (he is sometimes unnecessarily and unfairly polemical, in my view), so the other reviewer's comments about Dever being a "postmodern anti-semite" are EXTREMELY bizarre and completely baffling!
In any event, Dever wrote this book for the interested layperson as well as for scholars, so ANYONE interested in ancient Jewish history and theology will find it fascinating reading, whether one accepts his argument or not. (I, for one, WAS convinced. And no, I am NOT a woman. At least I don't think so!)
This time around Dever writes about what he calls the folk religion of the people and other scholars call popular religion. Folk religion is not the religion of the priests and the prophets who left us their deliberate ideology (Dever's terms) in the Hebrew Scriptures. I hope readers will wade through the first two chapters of the book in which Dever surveys definitions and surveys schools of approach to the Bible. Quite often Dever's critique of his fellow scholars is that "the vast archaeological data and literature are largely invisible." It is in these sources that one finds folk religion.
Dever is a scholar who does find historical value in biblical texts. He is not a revisionist who believes that the Bible was authored in the Persian or Hellenistic Periods. But the biblical texts have limits. One is that the biblical texts, in their present form, were written no earlier than the 8th century and so are distanced by centuries from the events which they portend to portray. Who knows what sources the writers had? The Bible mentions the Book of Jasher and there could have been oral traditions that had been carried down for centuries. A second limitation of the biblical texts is that its writers had to be selective. In a society where literacy was far less common than in our own, writers wrote for the elite. A third limitation of the biblical writers is that they did not maintain any sort of objectivity not did they make any pretense at doing so. Dever calls this "propaganda." I agree with the term, but it is one that is loaded.Read more ›
In this book, Dever looks more specifically at the phenomenon of folk religion that existed in ancient Israel prior to and during the time of the Hebrew biblical times. In the first few chapters, Dever explores what is meant by the term 'folk religion' and how this fits with more modern ideas of religion and theology. Dever also looks at the issues of historical method and content - this includes an overall assessment of previous scholarship in the field. Dever also looks at the issue of sources - how is it that we know what we know (or what we think we know), and what are the limitations of using these sources? In particular, Dever concentrates on the sources of the Biblical text, the extra-biblical texts that have survived from the same period, and archaeology. Dever highlights the limitations of archaeological method, and decries any attempts at complete objectivity ('not since the death of 19th-century "positivism" have any respectable historians been naïve enough to think that they could be entirely objective'), and any attempts to foist 'objectivity' upon others.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
William Devers, discussing the role of his discipline in interpreting the Biblical record, has pointed out that there are in fact multiple histories within the Bible, including the... Read morePublished on April 5, 2009 by John D. Croft
Like his other inquisition [[ASIN:080282126X What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It? Read morePublished on July 23, 2008 by F. J. PRISCO
Dever cannot be confused with a humble scholar/archaeologist. A large chunk of this book is devoted to cutting and slashing the work of other scholars of Biblical history and... Read morePublished on July 25, 2007 by Eric Maroney
The author is too much the professional archeologist to be blunt about it, but the answer to his title question is "Yes, and her name was Asherah" - the Goddess of fertility... Read morePublished on February 21, 2007 by Timothy Ward
Excellent content but somewhat boring style. Maps inadequate: author should have had clear maps drawn specific to this book. Diagrams not always clear to a lay readerPublished on November 9, 2006 by Anneliese Stricker
This is a thoughtful, convincing, well-written and well-documented book .I recommend it highly.
The answer to Dever's excellent question is a resounding Yes! Read more
With this newest publication, America's leading archaeologist of Israelite history, Bill Dever continues his provocative series of archaeological books geared for the lay reader... Read morePublished on March 29, 2006 by Harry McCall