본문 바로가기
  • Home

Kuntillet Ajrud “Yahweh and His Asherah” and the Goddess Asherah, Who Had No Archeological Presence in Israel in the Eighth Century B.C.E.

Jun Kim 1

1명지대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

To date, no inscription of the goddess Asherah with her iconography has been found among the archaeological discoveries of ancient Israel. Although many scholars understand the goddess Asherah as YHWH’s consort in popular Israelite religion, no biblical, extra-biblical, or archaeological evidence has been found to clearly corroborate her status as YHWH’s consort. When inscriptions of “YHWH and His Asherah” along with iconography of two figures were found at Kuntillet Ajrud in 1975-1976, the question of whether Asherah was YHWH’s consort in Israel’s religious tradition was once again raised in earnest. This paper examines whether the expressions “YHWH and His Asherah” found in the Kuntillet Ajrud inscriptions can be regarded as archaeological evidence of the goddess Asherah, reassessing the debate on whether “His Asherah” means YHWH’s wife. For that purpose, this paper proceeds in the following order. 1) the Goddess Asherah, who had no archeological presence in Israel in the eighth century BCE. 2) A brief introduction to the inscriptions of Kuntillet Ajrud. 3) The relationship between the inscription “YHWH and His Asherah” of Pithos A and the two figures below it. 4) The issue of whether “YHWH and His Asherah”, which appear in the context of blessing, should be understood as husband and wife. 5) Hebrew grammatical discussion and possible interpretation of “His Asherah”. 6) The discussion of whether asherah was a symbolic cultic object of the goddess Asherah in the eighth century BCE from the standpoint of iconography. Through these discussions, this paper argues against the view that the sentence “YHWH and His Asherah” of Kuntillet Ajrud served as evidence for the goddess Asherah’s role as YHWH’s wife in the eighth century BCE. This paper suggests that “asherah” in Kunitllet Ajrud was a cultic object that was used in YHWH religion of Israel, regardless of the goddess of the same name.

Citation status

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