A stone tomb constructed to house a deceased pharaoh of Egypt. A form of government in which God or some supreme deity is the ruler. God's laws are then interpreted by a divine king or by a priest class.
The first verses of the Hebrew Bible conform to this pattern. They seem quite straightforward and have provided the basis of belief among Jews and Christians for several millennia, although the Christians recast the words of Genesis to conform to their own new ideas.
In the words of Genesis, Beraishit, 'in the beginning', God created the heavens and the earth. The latter was a formless void, there was darkness 'on the face of the deep', and God's spirit moved on the waters Genesis 1: This seems quite straightforward and, given a religious cast of thought, easy to assimilate.
But here we must pause.
There is another, quite scholastically respectable, way of translating the Hebrew words. The verses would read: The earth still belonged to Tohu and Bohu goddesses of formlessness and ultimate spaceand darkness was on the face of the mother creator goddess Tiamat, and a huge wind flapped its wings over the face of the water.
As will be seen, references are made to goddesses and perceptions of creation by them that appeared to be present in Hebrew culture. How different would our attitude to religion and society be if the above interpretation or a version of it had been accepted by both Jews and Christians as a reasonable understanding of the text.
Even if a standard explanation of the Hebrew word Elohim - the gods - could be accepted - that the one God encompasses the whole - yet the concept of female deities or female aspects of deity, of the birth-giving female being associated with the birth of the heavens and the earth, of ideas of chaos and formlessness being a symbol of the totality in which creation is possible - all this would have produced enormous changes in consciousness of the relationship of women and men and both to the divine.
But it was not the case. All biblical texts are androcentric.
They are written, edited and expounded by men, men concerned about male status. When women's stories and words are given, they are interpreted and judged by men. The new method of feminist interpretation of the Bible is to redress this uneven situation.
The texts are reviewed again in the light of a search for the lost female; to find her story, her own words, to attempt to understand what was happening for her and to her, to reclaim and proclaim her.
The female in the divine is to be understood in this search as well as the human woman. Feminist Bible scholars have outlined their methods and rationale.
For example the theologian Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza writes: Androcentric texts and linguistic reality constructions must not be mistaken as trustworthy evidence of human culture, and religion Literature composed by men is the product of men's minds and not a simple mirror image of reality.
As we begin to evaluate all the sources for Jewish women's history It will then be impossible to mistake male Jewish attitudes towards women for Jewish women's history. Though the notion that scholarship is objective has been criticized in This may be especially true of religious studies This means seeking Her out, and reviewing all material in the light of Her banishment.
We have to ask this at all points.
As we do so, we open up a new perspective in history. My brief is to set out an historical perspective for the Goddess in Judaism.In the cultures like the Sumerian/Mesopotamian and Egyptian, which emerged in fertile river valleys, the rivers are the very lifeblood of these cultures, the very foundations of existence.
The yearly flooding of the rivers was crucial for agriculture and crops.
Creation Stories The Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and ancient Hebrew cultures were all very caninariojana.com earliest known creation writings were dated from the third millennium B.C.1 Whether it is belief in one God or several, each culture represents one or more.
How each God or Gods comes into their world, how they interact, or how they worship each God is unique to their culture.
Mesopotamian cultures portrayed social hierarchies which existed in every level of society, from ruler to subject, husband to wife, and parents to children.
Complete subservience was required by the weaker party, and disobedience resulted in punishment. 4 Creation myths abound, but none have the simple logic of the Bible’s creation record. (Genesis, chapters 1, 2) For example, the account given in Greek mythology sounds barbaric.
The first Greek to put myths in writing in a systematic way was Hesiod, who wrote his Theogony in . Before the end of the creative act or sometime soon after the end of creation, the created order or the intent of the creator deity is thwarted by some fault of one of the creatures.
There is thus a rupture in the creation myth. In some myths this rupture is the cause of the departure of the deity from creation. The civilization coalesced around BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first Pharaoh.
But this could not have been possible had there not been early settlers around the Nile valley in early BC.