Zev Radovan

COMPETING CULTS. Holding their breasts to emphasize their femininity, the figures such as those above are a common find from ancient Israel. Although their exact identity and function are unknown, they are thought to be fertility goddesses or perhaps representations of the goddess Asherah. That such figurines were so common is testimony to the many local cults that flourished throughout ancient Israel, cults with which the temples to Yahweh at Jerusalem, Elephantine and possibly Maqqedah had to compete.