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The Hebrew Goddess 3rd Enlarged Edition 3rd Edition
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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.Read more ›
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.
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
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Semitica includes much more than just Judaism. This book enlightens readers about this fact. It's a good window concerning cultures that are long dead.Published 7 months ago by Nick
This is the most incredible nonfiction novel I have ever found. The author is exceptionally well educated, detail oriented in the most critically important ways possible, and the... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book is a fantastic academic resource on a complex and obscure subject.Published 12 months ago by toysnob
First off, I read this book with a bias. I designed the Asherah tattoo I proudly display on my chest. Anathema for a Jewish girl, but there's an important reason for it. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Meg Bridgeman
The author brings to life the value of the goddess in ancient Semitic culture and helps the reader see her lasting impression on the human psyche. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jon Montgomery
I am very pleased and surprised with the content of this book, especially because it brings many references and language is open and simple. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jose Joacir dos santos
I'm still in mid-reading (book for intelectuals :)). Classic book, a must-have for people who enjoy anthropology.Published 14 months ago by Leana Aymoré Jacob
So far I like what I am reading. I have a regular copy and digital copy of this book. With my vision issues I found the regular book hard read with the small print. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Amazon Customer