One of the most interesting topics is the theory that YHWH’s roots may be found in information about the ancient Goddess IO, and that YHWH is an inclusive name for an inclusive deity.
Some years ago I read the Bible and objected to passages about women. That was when works by Ruether, Stone, Daly, Schüssler Fiorenza, Eisler, etc. became available. I read all of the feminist writers I could find. Because of this reading, I looked up biblical passages in different Bibles. I began to notice something rather curious. A passage in one Bible would say “she did it” – the same passage in another Bible would say, “he did it.” “This,” my current minister would say, “This is the word of God. You can believe in it.” “Believe in it”? Which biblical passage was I supposed to believe – the “she” or the “he”?
Being a questioning person, I got serious. I searched the University of Wisconsin bookstore shelves for required reading in Hebrew and Semitic studies, acquired references listed in bibliographies of those books, read about the development of the biblical text, purchased interlinear Bibles, Hebrew and Greek grammars, analytical lexicons, concordances, commentaries, and more English versions of the Bible and eventually took a class in Hebrew.
Also, I wanted to know more about the biblical text – when, where, and how it originated. I studied prior and contemporaneous ancient cultures – in other words, cultures all around the Mediterranean, from Sumeria to Egypt, to Crete, to Ugarit, to the Hittites and other ancient Anatolians, to the Greeks writers, etc. I read Archeology, mythology, and about Goddess worship….
All the while I was comparing one biblical text with another, the Hebrew with the English, the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah with the more recent Hebrew text, an interlinear Bible with the Hebrew text above and English below, the Greek text, etc. The results of these studies are two books, the most recent is an eBook, A GENDER NEUTRAL GOD/ESS: Be Inclusive but MAKE NO IMAGES was the Religious Change.
One of the most interesting topics in this eBook is the theory that YHWH’s roots may be found in information about the ancient Goddess IO, and that YHWH is an inclusive name for an inclusive deity.
The link between IO and YHWH is not an entirely new idea. J. Singer, in Androgyny: The Opposites Within, writes: “The Mother of All, the Supernal mother, the Creatrix appears in the very beginning in early matriarchal myths…. she is…Demeter; Ishtar and Astarte….and Isis. There is no end to her names or to the tales about her. In Sumer she appears as Iahu, the exalted dove.” M. Daly, in Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism says: “…. Her Sumerian name was Iahe meaning “exalted dove.” This title later passed on to Yahweh as creator.”
Schliemann, in 1881, in Ilios The City and Country of the Trojans, wrote: “But the wandering of Io is nothing else than the symbol of the moon, which moves restlessly in its orbit. This is also shown by the very name of Io (′ω) which is derived from the root Ya….”
Research in my eBook, and a discussion of language usage and translation, along with the inclusion of a number of images of ancient artifacts, explain how these ideas relate to each other.
Hebrew was a very early language. Language had reached the point where one could express concepts in words rather than by tangible artifacts. The Hebrews were making a transition from people worshipping “graven images” to conceiving of Deity as an imageless She/He. Because Goddess worship was so prevalent in the ancient world, it was central to that struggle. Yet, instead of excluding the feminine, many early biblical writers attempted to express their idea of an INCLUSIVE Deity by using plurals, mother/ father language, poetic parallelism, masculine and feminine generic labels for Deity, metaphor, and simile in their writing (there are chapters about these topics in my eBook). Those literary attempts have been obscured by later translation decisions.
The struggle over this religious change is reflected in texts in the New Testament Greek. How many people know that there are texts criticizing men for not recognizing and honoring feminine importance?
And indeed likewise these delusional ones (m.)
defile flesh on the one hand,
despise feminine authority/lordship on the other,
and rail at feminine credits/honors/glories.
Jude 8 GNT.
most of all the ones going after flesh
in lust of defilement
and despising feminine Authority (kuriotes)….
as animals without reason having been born.
2 Peter 2:10-12 GNT
I’ve kept at my research because I see what a profound influence religion has on women and gender issues. I have found that translation decisions, that obscure such passages as the two quoted above, have contributed to the diminishment of the role of women in early biblical texts. Thus, I heartily agree with this statement by McGregor Mathers (in The Kabbalah Unveiled):
Man and Woman are from the creation co-equal and co-existent, perfectly equal one with the other. This fact the translators of the Bible have been at great pains to conceal by carefully suppressing every reference to the Feminine portion of the Deity, and by constantly translating feminine nouns by masculine. And this is the work of so-called religious men!
Jennifer Sharp (pen name: J. J. McKenzie) is an independent scholar. For many years she has been doing research, with a focus on feminine material, on the biblical text. The results of her research is in two books – the recently published eBook: A GENDER NEUTRAL GOD/ESS: Be Inclusive but MAKE NO IMAGES was the Religious Change and an earlier book: I Will Love Unloved: A Linguistic Analysis of Woman’s Biblical Importance. In both books Jennifer has attempted to write in a style accessible to an interested layperson and yet provide ample documentation of her finds.