30 July 2006
Does God need Housing? Beth-El
above, l-r: crystal quartz, natural Asherim, verdant springs, grantite pillars - at our 3800 meter elevation in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, it is too easy to question why other human beings continue to believe that God needs affordable Housing - more Temples, Churches, Qubbas - (more male womb/room envies??). But for the curious, Beth-El (House of "God") of Jacob/Israel fame, may not be exactly what you thought--
from Genesis 28, v.18 "So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. 19 He called that place Beth-El: 22 And this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house." Note to Gen 28.18 in the New Oxford Annotated RSV, 3rd Ed. 2001; states "Ancient Israelite local sanctuaries featured sacred pillars, perhaps signifying male powers of fertility (see v. 22; 31.13, 45-54; 35.14, 20)." [Ed: "perhaps"?!]
Who is "El"? From Encyclopædia Britannica, 2001- El (Semitic: "God"), the chief deity of the West Semites. In the ancient texts from Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit) in Syria, El (El the Bull) was described as the titular head of the pantheon, husband of Asherah, and father of all the other gods (except for Baal). Although a venerable deity, he was not active in the myths, which primarily concerned his daughters and sons. He was usually visually portrayed as an old man with a long beard and, often, two wings. He was the equivalent of the Hurrian god Kumarbi and the Greek god Cronus. Writers of the [Hebrew Scriptures] used the word El both as a general term for "deity" and as a synonym for Yahweh.
© 1994-2001 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.