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In the Old Testament the Heb. word is used to denote both the name of the Canaanite goddess, well-known from the Ugaritic texts, and also a wooden cult-object that was her symbol.
Mary the Mother Goddess
From the earliest times pagan religion has involved the worship of a great mother goddess. We meet her in the Bible on many occasions as part of the false worship of the nations around Israel, and as part of the false worship which the Israelites themselves all too often followed to their condemnation.
The Catholic Church (Latin: Ecclesia catholica), also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with more than 1.27 billion members. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, it has played a prominent role in the history of Western civilisation. Headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope, its doctrines are summarised in the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church is notable within Western Christianity for its sacred tradition and seven sacraments.
Veneration of Mary in Roman Catholicism
In the Catholic Church, veneration of Mary, mother of Jesus, includes prayer, pious acts, visual arts, poetry, and music devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Popes have encouraged it, while also taking steps to reform some manifestations of it. The Holy See has insisted on the importance of distinguishing “true from false devotion, and authentic doctrine from its deformations by excess or defect”. There are significantly more titles, feasts, and venerative Marian practices among Roman Catholics than in other Christian traditions. The term hyperdulia indicates the special veneration due to Mary, greater than the ordinary dulia for other saints, but utterly unlike the latria due only to God. “Mariolatry” is a Protestant pejorative for perceived excessive Catholic devotion to Mary.
A city of Bashan, in the kingdom of Og (Deuteronomy 1:4; Joshua 12:4; 13:12; 9:10). It was in the half-tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 13:12), and as a Levitical city was given to the Gershonites (1 Chronicles 6:71). Uzzia, one of David’s valiant men (1 Chronicles 11:44), is named as of this city. It is identified with Tell Ashterah, in the Hauran, and is noticed on monuments B.C. 1700-1500. The name Beesh-terah (Joshua 21:27) is a contraction for Beth-eshterah, i.e., “the house of Ashtaroth.”
a-shē ́ra, ash ́er-im (אשׁרה, ‘ăshērāh; ἄλσος, álsos, mistranslated “grove” in the King James Version, after the Septuagint and Vulgate):
Ashtaroth; Ashteroth-Karnaim; Beeshterah
ash ́ta-roth, as ́ta-roth (עשׁתּרות, ‘ashtārōth; the King James Version Astaroth; Ἀσταρώθ, Astarō̇th, the city of Og, king of Bashan (Deuteronomy 14, etc.); עשׁתּרות קרנים, ‛ashterōth ḳarnayīm, the scene of the defeat of the Rephaim by Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:5): (בּעשׁתּרה, be‛eshterāh) a Levitical city in Manasseh East of the Jordan (Joshua 21:27)): The name probably means “house” or “temple of Ashtoreth.” It is identical with Ashtaroth of 1 Chronicles 6:71. Ashtaroth is the plural of ASHTORETH (which see). The name denotes a place associated with the worship of this goddess. Ashteroth-karnaim is mentioned only once in canonical Scripture unless we accept Gratz’s restoration, when Karnaim appears as a city taken by Israel: “Have we not taken to us horns (ḳarnayim) by our own strength?” (Amos 6:13). It is identical with Carnion or Carnaim of 1 and 2 Macc, a city of Gilead with a temple of Atar-gatis. The name Ashtaroth has been identified with Âstertu in the lists of Tahutmes III of the 18th Egyptian Dynasty; and with Ashtarti of the Tell el-Amarna Letters. Its claim to antiquity is therefore well established.
Ashtoreth; Astarte; Astoreth
ash ́to-reth, ash-tō reth (עשׁתּרת, ‛ashtōreth; plural עשׁתּרות, ‛ashtārōth; Ἀσταρτῆ, Astartḗ):
Ash’taroth, (Heb. Ashtaroth’, עִשׁתָּרוֹת, plur. of Ashtoreth, Joshua 9:10; 12:4; 13:12,31; Sept. Α᾿σταρώθ; but Auth. Vers. “Astaroth,” in Deuteronomy 1:4; Sept, in 1 Chronicles 6:71, v; r. Α᾿σηρώθ and ῾Ραμώθ), a city on the east of Jordan, in Bashan, in the kingdom of Og, doubtless so called from being a seat of the worship of the goddess of the same name. SEE ASHTORETH. It is generally mentioned as a description or definition of Og, who “dwelt in Astaroth in Edrei” (Deuteronomy 1:4), “at Ashtaroth and at Edrei” (Joshua 12:4; 13:12), or “who was at Ashtaroth” (9:10). It fell into possession of the half tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 13:31), and was given with its suburbs or surrounding pasture- lands (מִגרָשׁ) to the Gershonites (1 Chronicles 6:71 ), the other Levitical city in this tribe being Golan. In the list in Joshua 21:27, the name is given as BEESHTERAH (“house of Ashtoreth;” Reland, p. 621). Nothing more is heard of Ashtaroth, except that Uzziah, an Ashterathite, is named in 1 Chronicles 11:44. It is not named in any of the lists, such as those in Chronicles, or of Jeremiah, in which so many of the trans-Jordanic places are enumerated; and hence it has usually been considered the same with the place elsewhere called SEE ASHTEROTH-KARNAIM (q.v.). Eusebius and Jerome, however (Onomast. s.v. Astaroth, Α᾿σταρώθ), mention it as situated 6 Roman miles from Adraa or Adar (Edrei), which again was 25 from Bostra; and the former adds that it lay on higher ground (ἀνωτέρω) than Ashteroth-karnaim, which: they farther distinguish by stating (in the next art.) that there were two villages (κῶμαι, castella) lying 9 miles apart, between Adara and Abila. One of these was probably that called Ashtaroth simply, and the other may have been Ashteroth- karnaim. The only trace of the name yet recovered in the region indicated is Tell-Ashterah or Asherah (Ritter, Erdk. 15:819; Porter, ii, 212); and as this is situated on a hill, it would seem to correspond to the Ashtaroth in question.
People of Israel Served the Baals
Al-Shaykh Saad (Arabic: ash-Shaykh Saʿad; also Romanized Sheikh Saad; also called Karnaim or Dair Ayyub which means “The Monastery of Job”) is a town in southern Syria, administratively part of the Daraa Governorate, located northwest of Daraa on the Syrian-Jordanian borders. Nearby localities include Nawa, Jasim and al-Harrah to the north, Izra and al-Shaykh Maskin to the east, Tafas and Da'el to the southeast, and Adwan and Tasil to the west and Jalin to the southwest. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics, al-Shaykh Saad had a population of 3,373 in the 2004 census.
Ancient Canaanite religion
Canaanite religion refers to the group of Ancient Semitic religions practiced by the Canaanites living in the ancient Levant from at least the early Bronze Age through the first centuries of the Common Era.
Asherah (/ˈæʃərə/; Hebrew: אֲשֵׁרָה), in Semitic mythology, is a mother goddess who appears in a number of ancient sources. She appears in Akkadian writings by the name of Ashratum/Ashratu, and in Hittite as Asherdu(s) or Ashertu(s) or Aserdu(s) or Asertu(s). Asherah is generally considered identical with the Ugaritic goddess ʼAṯirat.
Astarte or Ashtoreth (Greek: Ἀστάρτη, Astártē) is the Hellenized form of the Middle Eastern goddess Ishtar, worshipped from the Bronze Age through classical antiquity. The name is particularly associated with her worship in the ancient Levant among the Canaanites and Phoenicians. She was also celebrated in Egypt following the importation of Levantine cults there. The name Astarte is sometimes also applied to her cults in Mesopotamian cultures like Assyria and Babylonia.
Queen of heaven (antiquity)
Queen of Heaven was a title given to a number of ancient sky goddesses in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East, in particular Anat, Isis, Inanna, Astarte, Hera and possibly Asherah (by the prophet Jeremiah). Elsewhere, Nordic Frigg also bore this title. In Greco-Roman times Hera, and her Roman aspect Juno bore this title. Forms and content of worship varied. In modern times, the title “Queen of Heaven” is still used by contemporary pagans to refer to the Great Goddess, while Catholics and Orthodox Christians now apply the ancient pagan title to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Tell Ashtara also Aštartu, was a site south of Damascus mentioned in the Amarna letters correspondence of 1350 BC. In the Amarna letters the city is named Aštartu, and is usually identified with the Biblical ‘Ashteroth Karnaim’.