Samstag, 30. Januar 2010

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"The first section, "Shekhinah in the Tapestry of Time," looks at interpretations relating to the Shekhinah in the Genesis narrative about Hebrew matriarchs, and in Exodus where there are clear manifestations of the Shekhinah, such as in the narratives about Miriam’s well, the clouds of glory (Shekhinah often manifests in the Hebrew scriptures as a protective cloud), in the pillar of fire, in the manna, and in the building of a tabernacle "which becomes Shekhinah’s dwelling place on earth." She also discusses the legend that Moses was consort of the Shekhinah, which she relates to the Isis-Horus myth. She then moves on to a chapter on Canaan, which she subtitles "Encountering the Pagan Past." I found this chapter somewhat confusing. First, there is the use of the word "pagan," to separate goddess worshippers from Israelites, and then there is her description of Asherah as a Canaanite Goddess, whom the Israelites adopted due to their proximity to the Canaanites. AFAIK, Rabbi Novick’s separation of Goddess worship from indigenous Israelite and Judean practice is contradicted by Raphael Patai’s The Hebrew Goddess (which she refers to), and more recently (and more archeologically substantiated), William Dever’s Did God Have a Wife? At the beginning of the chapter Rabbi Novick seems to accepts the controversial idea that as part of their Goddess worship, the Canaanites practiced "sacred prostitution." Yet later in the chapter Rabbi Novick explores the idea that the description of sacred prostitution in the Bible could just be part of the biblical discrediting of Goddess-worship and/or the Canaanites and she provides a helpful discussion of Asherah, including facts that Asherah was worshipped by the Israelites—and that according to Patai, there was an extended struggle for about 400 years about whether to include a statue of Asherah in the Temple."










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