We don't have a TV licence at home, so while me and Lis were babysitting last night we took the opportunity to see what was on the box. After an entertaining Poirot mystery, we stumbled upon a documentary called "Bible's Buried Secrets: Did God Have a Wife?" You can get an idea of the genereal tone of the programme from this extract from a Telegraph write-up - "Dr Stavrakopoulou subjects the Bible to radical, rigorous analysis, looking at it not as holy scripture to be taken at face value, but as fictitious religious literature with an agenda to cover up inconvenient truths".
I'm going to respond to the series of points that Dr. S. made in her report.
1) God shared the name El with a Canaanite God. Therefore they are the same God.
I share the name Andy with a proffesional cricketer. I am not a proffesional cricketer.
2) The Bible talks about a "council" of God's agents. These are other gods.
Or, in fact, angels.
3) Evidence shows that the Israelites worshipped other gods. The Bible admits this. Therefore the Israelite religion was polytheistic.
Except that the Bible consistently and routinely condemns the worship of other gods. If you think the OT was written in 200BC then you could be right, I suppose. I'm not sure it was.
4) One of the gods worshipped by the Israelites was Asherah, the Canaanite goddess of fertility, also the wife of El.
So the Israelites absorbed some of the Canaanite religious beliefs and practices? Golly, what a revelation! Thank goodness we have people with doctorates who are clever enough to work these things out. (The sarcastic tension was building, I was going to have to let it out at some point. A straight answer would be "Yes, that's what the Bible says".)
5) There's a spelling mistake in Deuteronomy 33:3, which means that the word translated to mean "hosts", "holy ones" or "saints" actually means "Asherah".
6) One (lost) piece of pottery describes Asherah as God's partner.
Does this mean that the ancient Jewish religion worshipped Asherah as the wife of Yahweh?
7) The elevated status of the virgin Mary in Christianity is the continuation of the veneration of the feminine deity Asherah.
Firstly, Mary does not have elevated status in Christianity, she has elevated status in Roman Catholic Christianity. And secondly, no it's not.