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In the Fertile Crescent, the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in present-day Iraq, gave birth to some of the worlds first civilizations.
Her name was Asherah, though in related cults she had different names, including Astarte and Istar.Conquest by the Hebrews over their enemy neighbors, culturally by the Jews over the Israelites (used here to mean members of the ten "lost" tribes), the Christians over the Jews, the Catholics over the Gnostics, Marcionites, and other pre-Catholic factions, and on and on.In some cases, the conquest is recorded as a historical, often military event.To really understand the Bible and what it intends to say to present generations, it is necessary to understand who wrote it and why, and the cultural context in which it was written.The story is an interesting one, in no small part because the story is so much messier than most of its advocates would have you to believe.She was a powerful, important, even indispensible part of the cult, mostly related to fertility.
We know that she figured prominently throughout the pre-Roman period, as she appears frequently in inscriptions and on figurines prior to the Assyrian expulsion and to a lesser extent afterwards.
She remained a major figure in the Old Testament narratives, though as time went on, she was gradually edited out by subsequent copyists and editors, disappearing almost completely from the Old Testament narrative by about the 8th Century, though traces of this cult figure remain even today in the Old Testament.
The fact is that with all that is known of Egyptian history from this time (since scholars can now read the records the ancient Egyptians with the ease of a modern newspaper), and the fact that the history of Egypt in this period is well documented, there is no evidence from the records of Egypt itself that the events of Exodus ever occured, either archaeologically or documentarily in the manner in which the Bible describes the events.
And its very messiness is why it is a story rarely told in any completeness to Christian audiences.
The overriding theme of the Bible storylines is the theme of cultural conquest.
The patriarchs first appear in our story with the journey of one of them, Abraham, who, the story tells us, led members of his tribe from the city of Ur, west towards the Mediterranean, to the "promised land" of Canaan, sometime between the 19th and 18th centuries B. It is clear from the archaeological record that its population was extremely sparse - no more than a few hundred people in the entire region, and the sole occupants of the area during this time were nomadic pastoralists, much like the Bedouin of the region today. It couldn't have been the capital of the regional king of a people who didn't yet exist! There is Yam Nahar, the god of the seas and rivers, and other pantheons and heiarchies of gods and goddesses.