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The Hebrew Goddess

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The Hebrew Goddess (ISBN 0-8143-2271-9) is a 1967 book by Jewish historian and anthropologist Raphael Patai. In this book, Patai argues that the Jewish religion historically had elements of polytheism, especially the worship of goddesses and a cult of the mother goddess. The book supports the theory through the interpretation of archaeological and textual sources as evidence for veneration of feminine beings. Hebrew "goddesses" identified in the book include Asherah, Anath, Astarte, Ashima, the cherubim in Solomon's Temple, the Matronit (Shekhina), and the personified Shabbat Bride. The later editions of the book were expanded to include recent archaeological discoveries and the rituals of unification (Yichudim) which are to unite God with his Shekinah.

The identification of the pillar figurines with Asherah in this book was the first time they had been so identified.[1]

A third, enlarged edition was published in 1990 by Wayne State University Press.

Raphael Patai's first exploration of this theme was in his 1947 book Man and Temple in Ancient Jewish Myth and Ritual (New York: Nelson) and he cites textual evidence which was not repeated in his later works.citation needed


  1. Thomas L. Thompson, Salma Khadra Jayyusi Jerusalem in ancient history and tradition T.& T.Clark Ltd; illustrated edition edition (1 April 2004) ISBN: 978-0567083609 p. 139 "THE+HEBREW+GODDESS"
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