Published on InTouch (

Did God Have a Wife? Archaeology and Folk Religion in Ancient Israel



Hosted by the School of Historical & Philosophical Studies and the Centre Classical Association of Victoria

The Hebrew Bible portrays the religion of ancient Israel as monotheistic, the worship of a single male deity named Yahweh. Yet the archaeological data recently accumulated shows that this may have been the ideal, but the reality was quite different. We have hundreds of nude female figurines that represent the old Canaanite Mother Goddess ‘Asherah’. We even have 8th century BCE Hebrew inscriptions naming her as the consort of Yahweh in the context of blessing. This illustrated lecture will show how monotheism developed slowly and with great difficulty in ancient Israel.

William G. Dever specialises in the history of Israel and the Near East in Biblical times and has written many books on the subject. He was Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Arizona in Tucson from 1975 to 2002 and has directed or co-directed excavations at Gezer, Khirbet el-Kôm and Jebel Qacaqir in Israel, Tell el-Hayyat in Jordan and Idalion in Cyprus. Professor Dever is in Australia as a guest of the Australian Institute of Archaeology to present the 2012 Petrie Oration.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012 | 6.30pm

Theatre A
Elisabeth Murdoch Building
The University of Melbourne

Location map

Registration opens on Thursday, 23 February and closes on Wednesday, 18 April 2012.

Contact Frederik Vervaet in the School of Historical & Philosophical Studies at or 8344 7496.

Nude goddess figurine [excavated at Tell el-Duweir (ancient Lachish), southern Levant] (34.126.53).
In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.
New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2006)

Connect with us Follow the Melbourne Uni Alumni Facebook page  Follow the University of Melbourne Alumni LinkedIn group  View the University of Melbounre Alumni photostream  Follow us on Twitter
Date created: 27 July 2010
Last modified: 22 September 2011
Authoriser: Director of Alumni Relations
Maintainer: Alumni Relations
The University of Melbourne ABN: 84 002 705 224
CRICOS Provider Number 00116K (visa information)
Accessibility | Disclaimer & copyrightPrivacy |  Website terms of use