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Join the conversation! There are now 8 comments on this chapter's page 110. Inventing God and Law: That Old-Time Religion. What are your thoughts?
  1. Ariel says

    This does not look topographically like Jerusalem. The Temple Mount, is, after all, a peak. Of a rather narrow and steep hill.

    • I’ve never been there, so I just relied on whatever references I could find for what it looked like back in the old iron age. I guess they weren’t that reliable! ;)

      • The city itself looks about right, just the way it is relative to the hills surrounding it looks wrong.

        You can find a topographical map of Jerusalem at [link] or [link].

        • Awesome, thanks! Both of those helped me visualize it much better.

          Edit—I’ve fiddled with the picture a little. Don’t know if I’ve improved it, but I have definitely fiddled with it.

  2. STM says

    Are the icons of Asherah based on real life artifacts, or your imagination? Is Asherah the origin of the name Sarah?

    • They’re all based on real artifacts. There are lots of them!

      As for the name, there are several recent articles and books making the case that the biblical Sarah, Abraham’s wife, is indeed Asherah—rewritten to suit the new monotheism! The stories of Sarai/Sarah and Abram/Abraham may well be bowdlerized stories of Asherah and Yahweh, confusingly slapped together by multiple inconsistent authors, with a bit of Mesopotamian influence thrown in. Who knew? The evidence these scholars present seems compelling to me, but my opinion is kinda worthless, as I’ll never have the necessary linguistic background to even begin to critique them intelligently.

  3. FLWAB says

    Can you cite evidence for the idea that there were multiple altars and idols in the Jerusalem temple? Honest question, I’m just wondering how we know.

    • The glib answer would be to say that in the Bible the second book of Kings, chapter 23, describes them in some detail. But of course it’s rarely a good idea to take anything in the Old Testament at face value, especially not as a historical resource. Researching it objectively can be challenging, though, as so much scholarly work does take it at face value, and even ostensible objective analyses often boil down to little more than restating what’s described in 2 Kings 23. However, there has been archaeological work that does seem to confirm that this stuff actually happened, and other textual analyses and historical studies of religion and culture in that part of the world that give it credence. You might start with Scripture and Other Artifacts: Essays on the Bible and Archaeology in Honor of Philip J. King,, specifically Dever’s chapter “The Silence of the Text: An Archaeological Commentary on 2 Kings 23,” which came out in 1994 and should give you a good base for looking up subsequent research.

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