The Goddess, Syncretism, and Patriarchy: Evolution and Extinction of the Goddess during the Creation of Patriarchy in Ancient Israel

Ramona Wanlass


Archaeological evidence has established that an alternative religious culture existed before the establishment of Yahwism and that this culture was indeed polytheistic. In this paper it is argued that a goddess culture reigned from the period of pre-Israelite culture until the early years of the postexilic period (early Judaism). The shift from a goddess-based religion to Yahwism may have had serious implications for the eventual development of Judaism. Several unanswered questions remain concerning this religious culture. This study queries the existence and the ramifications of this religious culture on the foundations of ancient Israelite religion and ultimately Judaism. Finally, it seeks to shed light upon what caused the demise of the goddess tradition.


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