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Yahweh's Consort?

강승일 1

1한남대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

One of the most remarkable discoveries in the field of biblical archaeology and iconography in recent years is arguably the much-debated inscription found at Kuntillet Ajrud. Having had an enormous impact on our understanding of the folk religion of ancient Israel, this inscription has been the center of attention of western biblical scholarship. Surprisingly enough, however, it has rarely been discussed in the society of Korean biblicists. This essay critically reviews various scholarly opinions about the "Yahweh and his Asherah" inscription. In so doing, it also introduces Professor McCarter's hypostasis theory and provides more examples of hypostases in the Bible and Jewish literature, e.g. the Deuteronomistic name theology, the god Bethel and other deities attested in the Elephatine papyri, the wisdom in Proverbs, the Glory of Yahweh in the book of Ezekiel, Yahweh's voice and righteousness, Shekinah and Memra in the Targums, and finally the Logos in the Gospel of John. A major abstacle to see “his A(a)sherah” in the inscription as a goddess is the fact that proper nouns do not take pronominal suffixes in Northwest Semitic languages. The present author, however, presents, along with Amarna examples, Hos 2: 16 as an exception to this grammatical rule. Even if the expression “Yahweh and his Asherah” is irregular from a grammatical viewpoint, one may point out that the inscription is more like graffiti than a sophisticated literary product. So a little grammatical problem won't be a serious issue. Therefore, it would not be presumptuous to say that the most likely interpretation of the Kuntillet Ajrud inscription is to see the two cow-like figures as Yahweh and his consort Asherah the goddess.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.