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Asherah and the Cult of Yahweh in Israel
Saul M. Olyan
Publication Date
January 1997


This volume provides a thorough and up-to-date analysis of the evidence pertaining to Asherah and her cult symbol in the Israelite religion of the monarchic era. Beginning with a review of all references and alleged references to Asherah in the Hebrew Bible, successive chapters examine epigraphic and archaeological data from Israel and from Canaanite religion. A critical survey of recent scholarship on Asherah is also included.

“In a balanced and comprehensive manner, the present monograph presents an analysis of ‘the Asherah,’ both as a goddess and as cultic symbol, within the context of the Yahwistic cultus of the monarchic period. The thesis of the work is clearly presented and maintained throughout: ‘that the asherah was a legitimate part of the cult of Yahweh both in the north and in the south, in state religion and in popular religion, finding opposition in deuteronomistic circles’ (p. 13). … This monograph presents a focused treatment of a significant topic for the reconstruction of Israelite national religion for the period of the monarchy. It presents a synthesis of the major positions with respect to the role and function of the asherah in Israelite religion, and, as such, represents an excellent introduction to the problems addressed.”
—E. Theodore Mullen Jr., Journal of Biblical Literature