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Conference Proceeding

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Since its discovery in 1968, the so-called “Taanach cult stand” has generated no small amount of scholarly controversy; indeed, the unique combination of images on the stand evoke a variety of interpretations, perhaps due to the sheer number of key iconographic motifs used in combination and their implications for the history of religion within the borders of ancient “Israel” in the 10th century BCE. The imagery on the Taanach stand raises a series of provocative questions regarding many recent discussions, such as: Was the Israelite national deity, YHWH, depicted iconographically in ancient Israel, and are any of these images on the Taanach stand? Did ancient Israelites consider the putatively male YHWH to have a female “consort,” such as Asherah, and is this female deity represented at the bottom of the stand?


Presented at the SBL Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA (November 18, 2007) Section: Israelite Religion in its West Asian Environment.

Note: This paper, written while I was a PhD student at Harvard University in 2007, was a workin- progress at the time it was presented, and I post it here as a snapshot of what I was thinking at that time (about 20 images and a bibliography accompanied the presentation, and these are not included here). Some published comments on this object along the lines of what I had presented now appear in my Phoenician Aniconism in its Mediterranean and Ancient Near Eastern Contexts (Archaeology and Biblical Studies 21; Atlanta: SBL Press, 2015), pp. 129–131.