on 1 November 2009
Excellent book - starts with an over-long and rumbustious taking-to-task of virtually everyone else who has written on this topic. Followed by very solid and sensible take on Israelite folk-religion as juxtaposed with the religion of the Temple elite, reinstating Asherah as the female component of the Old Testament Godhead.
One primary qualm is that Professor Devers does not address the theological work of Margaret Barker, and therefore his closing session on Temple theology is lightweight: if Josiah found a statue of Asherah, etc, in the Temple then the faith of the kings and priests was probably pretty closely aligned to that of the villagers and the Deuteronomists were a distinct and third point of view at odds with both - which is what they said they were.
on 7 September 2010
This book summarises the archaeological evidence attesting to the existence of a goddess Asherah who was worshipped alongside god/yaweh in ancient Israel and Judah. The information also draws heavily on the bible and biblical scholarship and looks at the ramifications of the archaeological evidence on faith and belief related to the bible. The conclusions could be seen by some traditionalists as quite radical, but the evidence supports them.
The book reads well and is not overly academic, but it does tend to get a little bogged down in overly-detailed criticism of the wider scholarship on this subject, but this is useful for those wishing to study the subject in some more depth. More maps, site plans and photos etc would have been good as well.
Dever is well experienced in the field, and his views should certainly be given the weight they deserve.