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Asherah

(223 words)

Author(s): Xella, Paolo
[German Version] is a Syro-Palestinian goddess attested already in the 18th century bce in Mesopotamian sources but well known because of the Ras-Shamra/Ugarit texts and the OT polemic against her. Traces of her cult can also be found in Egypt, Anatolia and southern Arabia. The etymology of the name of the goddess is uncertain. The Semitic origin of the goddess is confirmed by the Mesopotamian …

Atargatis

(211 words)

Author(s): Xella, Paolo
[German Version] Goddess of heaven and fertility, whose cult is attested from the end of the 4th century bce and was spread through Syria and northern Mesopotamia. Thence, under the name “Dea Syria,” the goddess spread westward, assimilated to Hera, Aphrodite, Athena, Artemis, and other goddesses, and successfully advanced into the Roman Empire. The divine name derives from the fusion of Anath …

Astarte

(183 words)

Author(s): Xella, Paolo
[German Version] Syrian goddess, already widely known in the Bronze Age (Ebla, Mari, Emar, Ugarit; unclear relationship to Mesopotamian Inanna/Ishtar). The cult spread from the Phoenician coastal cities into the Mediterranean area: Egypt (from the middle of the 2nd millennium …

El

(866 words)

Author(s): Xella, Paolo
[German Version] is the common term in the Semitic languages (except Ethiopic) to designate both “god” generically and a West Semitic deity. The etymology of the word is uncertain (presumably deriving from the root *'WL: “to be strong/powerful”). El is often attested as a theophoric element (“ilu”) in the Mesopotamian and Syrian personal names of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium bce. In some instances the theonym could refer to the “personal god” watching over the single believer. In West Semitic areas (Late Bronze and Iron Ages) El is frequently attested in the anthroponyms both with a generic meaning and also designating a specific god.…

Anath

(261 words)

Author(s): Xella, Paolo
[German Version] A Syrian goddess, known mainly through the texts of Ras Shamra/Ugarit, but who, already played a part among the Amurrite tribes (Mari, 18th cent. bce) and perhaps also in Meskene-Emar at the end of the B…

Cult/Worship

(8,783 words)

Author(s): Baudy, Dorothea | Xella, Paolo | Ego, Beate | Niebuhr, Karl-Wilhelm | Lehmkühler, Karsten | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. History of Scholarship – III. Ancient Near East – IV. Old Testament and Early Judaism – V. New Testament – VI. Philosophy of Religion – VII. Christianity – VIII. Liturgical Practice – IX. Ethics I. Re…