Imatge de l'autor
26+ obres 977 Membres 8 Ressenyes

Sobre l'autor

William G. Dever is professor emeritus of Near Eastern archaeology and anthropology at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and the foremost American authority on Syro-Palestinian archaeology, with more than fifty years of experience in the field. His other books include Who Were the Early Israelites mostra'n més and Where Did They Come From? and Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion In Ancient Israel. mostra'n menys

Obres de William G. Dever

Obres associades

The Hebrew Goddess (1967) — Pròleg, algunes edicions314 exemplars
The Blackwell Companion to the Hebrew Bible (2001) — Col·laborador — 58 exemplars
Near Eastern Archaeology: A Reader (2003) — Pròleg — 48 exemplars
Archaeology and Biblical Interpretation (1997) — Col·laborador — 44 exemplars
Breaking Ground: Pioneering Women Archaeologists (2004) — Col·laborador — 11 exemplars
The Books of Kings (Supplements to Vetus Testamentum) (2010) — Col·laborador — 5 exemplars


Coneixement comú



SrMaryLea | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Aug 22, 2023 |
Of the various books I have now read about Asherah and ancient Hebrew religion, William Dever's Did God Have a Wife? is the most recent, the most comprehensive, and the most confrontational. The author addresses the book to "ordinary people" and wants it to be "accessible to nonspecialists" (ix, xii), but it is not a light, popularizing account. It is a thorough argument with careful attention to method, reaching across multiple disciplines despite its principal grounding in archaeology. It does not have a full footnoted apparatus, but it includes two significant survey/reviews of prior scholarship, a fifteen-page bibliography of "basic sources," and many other references to Dever's predecessors and peers in researching the topic. There is a subject matter index and an index by scripture references.

The emphasis in this volume is on lived, popular religion in ancient Palestine, as contrasted with the ideal of the elite minority represented in the Hebrew Bible. Dever is of course at odds with those whose biblically-based presuppositions make Yahwist monotheism the normative Hebrew religion from "the time of Moses" (or Abraham!) onward. But he is also arguing against a form of "revisionist" biblical scholarship that reduces the entire text to etiological myths retrojected from the sixth century b.c.e. or later. His position is that there is historical value in the biblical narratives, when they are used as one supplementary source (among others) to contextualize the archaeological record, and subjected to a careful hermeneutic that takes into account their origins and the partisan interests of their authors/redactors.

Dever shows little if any sympathy for theology, repeatedly observing how theological interests have worked to mystify and obscure past realities. He does have a concern for the religious vitality of "symbol, ritual and myth" (61). Accordingly, he is dismissive of academic attempts to dilute the evidence for popular worship of the goddess Asherah with concepts like "hypostasis of the feminine aspect of Yahweh" and "symbolic furniture." ("Symbolic of what?" he demands.) He is also forthright about the inextricability of magic from popular religion in antiquity (125-34).

The archaeological materials covered demonstrate that the popular religion of the monarchical period of Israelite history was in fact characterized by just those elements that the Yahwist reformers of the Hebrew Bible indicted and called to be suppressed: magic, "high places," incense burned to gods other than Yahweh, recognition of Asherah in the temple, standing stones, veneration of the sun and stars, unauthorized divination, and so forth. The Deuteronomistic reformers were clear about their targets, and they were "right" inasmuch as the reforms failed (212). This elite minority could neither coerce nor persuade the larger population to forgo their immemorial customs.

Dever then tackles the task of supplying a historical narrative that accounts for the rise and eventual success of Hebrew monotheism. I found this late section of the book quite persuasive, and the element that was most eye-opening for me was the role of the construction of Solomon's temple in motivating the invention of an exclusive Yahwism. The nationalist project of a splendid, Phoenician-style temple needed to be justified, given its costly imposition on the country. (Rich irony: Hebrew slaves building the pyramids in Egypt are bunk, but "conscripted labor" to build the Jerusalem temple was for real.)

Bringing his story forward toward the present, Dever even treats the medieval reinvention of Asherah (understood as a feminine consort/counterpart to the Jewish God) in kabbalistic Shekinah mysticism. His closing sections discuss archaeological, biblical studies, feminist, multicultural, and popular consequences of the historical conclusions that Dever offers about Asherah's reality as an ancient goddess. As a non-theist convert to Reform Judaism (from a "fire-breathing fundamentalist" Protestant background, by way of an academic and archaeological odyssey, x-xi) he is not making any personal pleas for a revival of Asherah worship as such. But he does advance an appeal for understanding extended across the divisions of history, social class, gender, and religions.
… (més)
4 vota
paradoxosalpha | Hi ha 2 ressenyes més | Jan 24, 2018 |
Rarely have I been more pleased to have finished a book. This was just mind-numbing. The author seems to be looking for reasons to disregard the Bible and when archeological evidence supports the Bible, seems to reluctantly give credit. I think there were about six worthwhile pages in this book. Glad it is finished and I can move on to something profitable.
Luke_Brown | Sep 10, 2016 |
In his book What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It? What Archaeology Can Tell Us about the Reality of Ancient Israel, Dever presents in an extremely lucid manner what will turn out to be a shocking expose in the realm of archaeology and interdisciplinary scholarship. Beginning with a discussion on just how useful the Bible really is to the current age, Dever makes a bold claim: this is “a time when the biblical literature—indeed the entire biblical tradition—is being dismissed by so many as ‘irrelevant,’ even by those in Synagogue, Church, and Seminary” (3). Dever deals predominately in his text with the effects on archaeology due to the spread of the post-modernistic movement. To his way of thinking, “honest inquiry, scholarly documentation, and reasoned discourse have been replaced by ideology and politics in many social science disciplines” (247).

The central theme to Dever’s argument is that there must be a historical ancient Israel; the documentation of its existence is proven through archaeological discovery. To prove his point, Dever spends a good amount of pages in the middle of his book discussing various finds that to his mind prove the truthfulness of historicity of Israel. Bullae (206), idols (193), engravings (128), and pottery (232) among others are brought into play by Dever to support his thesis. Repeatedly he presents evidence, and uses it to make the point that there is no possible way due to the age of the find and the way it fell out of common use that writers “making up” a historical Israel would have known enough about the objects to include such details as are found in the Biblical record (157).

The remainder of the book deals with the conundrum of just who makes history (105). Should it be the people who are in power? The masses? The elite? Though some amount of fallacy is inevitable in any historical recounting, Dever sets out some applicable guidelines which he feels can be of help in evaluating the validity of historical accounts (107-108).

Overall, the book is an amazing expose of the dangers from revisionists threatening the archaeological and religious community. Dever’s writing is impassioned and erudite. For someone with only a casual interest in archaeology there is enough interdisciplinary information in the book to make the information applicable and relevant to other fields. For an archaeologist, especially one with religious interests, the book should serve as a massive wake up call, and additionally a call to action. If revisionism is allowed to continue creeping into every area as quietly as it has in the past, Dever points out that the only possibility left is to react, and weak and hardly effective position. What Dever ultimately calls for is a proactive movement- to take back Biblical scholarship before the current “scholars” destroy it (295-298).
… (més)
1 vota
MissWoodhouse1816 | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | May 5, 2009 |


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