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Wisdom as God’s Consort in the Beginning

I’m pleased to say that I met my goal of getting the eight chapters on the Hebrew Bible for my Bible Introduction written now, just in time for me to fly outta here. I head to London for the rest of the summer on Monday. But I will keep up with the blog from there!

Below is just a short little “box” that I include in my discussion of the book of Proverbs.



Box 1.2: Woman Wisdom as God’s Consort?

We have seen that in ancient Israel Yahweh was sometimes thought to have a divine consort, his “Asherah.”  This was never accepted by the strict henotheists who wrote the historical and prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible, but in Proverbs, a book of Wisdom, there is a passage that some interpreters have thought represents a kind of modified or “tamed” view of Yahweh and his divine female companion from eternity past.  Here she is not Asherah, but Wisdom herself, shown to be speaking in Proverbs 8:

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Reflections on Books
A Virgin Birth? The Importance of Context



  1. Avatar
    maxhirez  July 14, 2012

    What do you make of Dever’s assertion that Ashera was Yaweh’s wife, or other traditions in which Ashera was a tree of some sort? Is this a case of different traditions for different localizations?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  July 15, 2012

      Dever is one of the great archaeologists of our time. Yes, I think in some times and some places Asherah was thought to be Yahweh’s consort/wife. And yest, she was sometimes (often? he would know) portrayed as a sacred pole.

  2. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  July 15, 2012

    Have a good trip!

  3. Avatar
    bobnaumann  July 20, 2012

    I had always wondered were John’s Logos idea came from. Thanks for pointing this out.

  4. Avatar
    bobnaumann  July 20, 2012

    I get that Wisdom or Logos could be a quality that was given to mankind and this inherent quality pre-existed from the beginning, but how did this quality get to be Jesus?

    • Bart Ehrman
      Bart Ehrman  July 22, 2012

      Ah, that’s a long question. I hope to devote a chpater to it on my book How Jesus Became God. Short story: the Jesus who was thought to proclaim the Logos of God came to be so closely identified with that Logos that he began to be thought of as the Logos….

  5. Avatar
    Malik  January 17, 2018

    I am currently reading a book entitled:

    Biblical Truths: The Meaning of Scripture in the Twenty-first Century by Dale B. Martin(a Professor at Yale University).

    He mentions the following:
    (1) all references to the Spirit in the New Testament are grammatically neuteral (in other words ‘it’ rather than ‘she’ or ‘he’).
    (2) All except for the unique reference in the Gospel of John to “the Paraclete” which is grammatically masculine. So the “reasoning” is that the Paraclete is a person and thus referred to as ‘he’, therefore it cannot be the same as the Spirit – thus a real human man.
    (3) The vast majority of modern Christian translations of the Bible cover up the fact that apart from John all the references to ‘spirit’ are neuter ie the spirit is an ‘it’. They add the masculine pronoun to make the NT conform to their Trinitarian bias that ‘he’ is God, the Second Person of the Trinity!

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