NELC 150

Introduction to the Bible

Slide 34

Figurines of nude females (see examples in Museum, Case 3C [with Panel 17], "A Goddess for the People" and comments in Tigay, You Shall Have No Other Gods, pp. 91-92). Often called "Astarte figurines" and thought to be idols of goddesses, these figurines are actually of two main types. Only those with hairdos like the Egyptian goddess Hathor and holding lotuses and papyrus stalks are clearly goddesses. The others -- including most of those found at Israelite sites -- lack specifically divine characteristics. They show women pregnant or carrying babies, and with full breasts. Hence many scholars believe that figurine of this type are not goddesses but magical amulets designed to represent, and thereby promote, fertility and lactation by means of sympathetic magic.