Does God have a wife?

Francesca Stavrakopoulou presents the BBC's Bible's Buried Secrets

The Telegraph asks the 7th in my occasional series of Theological Questions To Which The Answer Is No – based on John Rentoul of the Independent who has a series (mainly political) in the same vein.

The Telegraph has an article on a scholar with the by-line:

The BBC’s new face of religion is an atheist who claims that God had a wife

It starts off in good tabloid fashion:

Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou has been given a primetime BBC Two series, The Bible’s Buried Secrets, in which she makes a number of startling suggestions.

In fact they aren’t startling at all. She suggests that Eve has had a bad deal in theological history (true) and then the startling revelation that God has a wife:

The idea that God had a wife is based on Biblical texts that refer to “asherah”. According to Dr Stavrakopoulou, Asherah was the name of a fertility goddess in lands now covered by modern-day Syria, and was half of a “divine pair” with God.

Of course, what isn’t made clear in the article is that Asherah is NOT seen in the bible as a Jewish (or Christian) deity. It is precisely one of the gods of the near East like Baal and others that the people of God keep being told that they shouldn’t follow.

It seems that the Telegraph is trying to create controversy where really there is none. Why shouldn’t a knowledgeable atheist scholar talk about her area of expertise – the bible? People might learn something new.

One of the strengths of a good faith is that people are able to question and argue and debate it. The concern is when only the religious leaders are allowed to comment.

No idea if the series will be any good – too often they end up as damp squibs – but hey what’s the problem?

Update

Came across an article by her that sees Asherah was seen as an earlier development along with Yahweh. I don’t see any real change here. We know that there was a lot synchronism around in early Judaism with other faiths – which the prophets railed against.

Update 16th march

Having watched it I have just reviewed last nights programme.

Update 23rd march

Have just reviewed the second programme Did God have a wife?

The review of the final episode – The Real garden of Eden

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6 comments on “Does God have a wife?

  1. tallandrew
    March 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    I’m glad you answered ‘no’! Presumably the atheist neither believes in God nor his supposed wife…

  2. Will Cookson
    March 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    Hi Andrew,
    I presume not.

    But its interesting how the article is portraying the subject (and in the Mail as well) as an area to hype up interest by making it appear controversial when much of it just appears to be re-hashed biblical studies stuff. It seems that you get someone to be a bit controversial so that you get people to watch it.

    Of course, many Christians seem to take this stuff hook, line and sinker – which is rather sad.

    By the way how’s your Fresh Expression going?

  3. Esther Somerson
    March 9, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    How ridiculous. This seems to assume that God is a man and presumably the ‘wife’ is a woman. It is interesting that human finite minds conceive God to have only male sexuality, probably because men translated the Scriptures. Jesus loves women and respects us. The Scriptures tell us that we are made in God’s image and likeness. No human being can possibly know what that Being ‘looks’ like, ours can only be a very poor understanding, but for we who know of God’s Love that should suffice. I often wonder how much faith people really have who have to take everything to an academic level – academia is only opining no matter what persuasion or profession. I think that God has the best qualities of both gender and that is why ‘He’ made us as we are. I wouldn’t mind a wife myself they do everything don’t they, no wonder the question of God’s having one has been posed (just felt I would take this down a notch!).
    Thank you most sincerely,by the way, for your recommendation re ‘Quarks, Chaos & Christianity.’ It is a very enjoyable and informative read. I like his humour and parallels with Creation and us. I am finding it personally and spiritually interesting that my need to know more co- incides with Brian Cox’s BBC programme ‘ the Wonders of the Universe.’ The delivery of his subject is riveting and exciting, he presents as gentle and humble against the awesomeness of The Universe and the photography is breathtaking. He is an athiest but when one reads of his discussions with physicists who are Christians and with clergy such as R Williams he has great respect for our views and one can only hope that one day he sees the light. No matter what arguments & knowledge there is ( it puffs up anyway) there is a silken thread of pure Truth in both OT & NT. The messy bits at the edges have to be there. I continue my quest to find out more – thank you once more… David Wilkinson next… then with any luck Dr Brian May will do a tour about quarks & bangs and hopefully use his wonderful guitar technique to support his points.

  4. Will Cookson
    March 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    Hi Esther,
    Lovely to hear from you. Of course, it is ridiculous – but hey TV companies like a bit of controversy – it sells.
    Glad you like Quarks, Chaos and Christianity. He has written a number of books and he is often very thought provoking.

  5. Esther Somerson
    March 9, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    Hello. Yes it is all very fascinating ( the physics not the God wife!) I am beginning to wonder what is going on and if I am on the way to being, I think it is termed ‘ a geek’. I get confused about ‘geeks’ and ‘nerds’. For many years I have found the refractive prism aesthetically beautiful. Have a lovely one with the words ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ through it. Stands where it gets the sun in my kitchen, removes boredom from kitchen tasks as it catches my eye and a gift from a very special person. Think had better get myself on a poetic blog – sorry!

  6. Steve James
    March 15, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    Just watched her programme on David. Alas, it just confirms my increasing suspicion of anything in the media esp the internet; It is mostly all unqualified rubbish – dressed up to resemble something of value. Like the universe we live in, its mainly void.

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