Warning: Contains material some readers may find offensive.
Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth
In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.
An Open Letter to William G. Dever
Dear Dr. Dever,
Firstly, a word of thanks and appreciation for your work over the years, and in particular for Did God Have A Wife? To speak only for myself, the book has shaped my own thought and understanding of my ancestral traditions, and for this you have my deep and lasting gratitude.
Anent Wife, though, I would like to point out to you an irony which I suspect has heretofore escaped your attention. To this not-altogether-objective reader, it is striking how closely your denunciations of the excesses of contemporary Goddess worship and feminist spirituality—which is, in fact, modern folk religion—resemble the Deuteronomic and Priestly hostility toward the folk religion of their own time. I find it curious that, from the position of your own academic orthodoxy, your sympathy for folk—and in particular, women’s—religion apparently extends to ancient women, but not to your contemporaries. Plus ça change….
It may interest you to know that your writings are, as I write this, both inspiring and influencing the development and direction of the very movements that you denounce. One wonders what the eventual outcome may be.
Savoring the irony,
Steven W. Posch
William G. Dever is Professor Emeritus of Archeology and Anthropology at the University of Arizona. His book Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel (Eerdmans 2005) examines the evidence for the worship of the Hebrew Goddess Ashera. (Short answer to the title question: Yes. My friend and colleague Stephanie Fox, however, suggests that “The real operative question here is: Does Ashera have a Husband?”)
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