BAR 17:02, Mar/Apr 1991
Womens Popular Religion, Suppressed in the Bible, Now Revealed by Archaeology
The cult of Asherah, the great Mother Goddess of Canaan, flourished in ancient Israel, despite the persistent efforts of the religious establishment to suppress and eradicate all traces of it.
With the progress of archaeological excavations in this century, actual material remains of the cult of the Mother Goddess have come to light throughout the Western Semitic world. The discovery of the 14th-century B.C.E.a cuneiform library of mythological texts at Ras Shamra have left no doubt about the persona of Asherah and the extent of her role in fertility cults.
The very polemic in the Hebrew Bible against the Asherah cult attests to the cults popularity in Iron Age Israel (1200586 B.C.E.). King Josiahs religious reform (seventh century B.C.E.) described in 2 Kings is prima facie evidence of an attempted suppression of the cult of Asherah.