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The Mythology of Eden, by Arthur George and Elena George

Reviewed by Medusa

What a fascinating book! Though it starts with and returns to an analysis of the second creation story in Genesis, The Mythology of Eden is about far more than that particular myth. It includes material on the backgrounds of the likely authors of the two Genesis creation stories and two other likely authors of the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures, the history of the Ancient Near East (ANE) before and during biblical times as well as information that has been gathered in recent years from archeology and anthropology. And yes, there is material on the role of polytheism, including Goddess worship, especially of Asherah and Astarte.

The book places the development of religion, religious beliefs, and practices in the context of the sociopolitical development of the ANE, including Egypt, Canaan, Palestine, and other cultures, and gives a clear history of Judah, whose religion centered around Yahweh, and the Israelites, whose religion was more eclectic and, according to the Georges and others, polytheistic. The authors also see the Israelites and the Canaanites as geographically and culturally identical.

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