Jesus and the Goddess: The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians (cont.)
By Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy
The Jewish Goddess
Although later rejected by mainstream Jews, there had always been a Jewish Goddess tradition. At one time Israelites had worshipped the Goddess Asherah, as the consort of the Jewish God Jehovah. In the 5th century BCE she was known as Anat Jahu. In texts written between the 4th and 1st centuries BCE, such as Proverbs, The Sophia of Solomon, and The Sophia of Jesus the Son of Sirach, she becomes God's companion and co-creator Sophia. The Jewish Sophia is the lover and inspiration of the good and the wise. She is 'an initiate in the Mysteries of God's Gnosis', who teaches her followers to become 'friends of God' - the ubiquitous name used by Pagan, Jewish, and Christian Gnostics. The Sophia of Solomon assures us
'Sophia shines brightly and never fades. She is readily discerned by those who love her, and by those who seek her she is found. She is quick to make herself known to all who desire her Gnosis.'
The Jewish Sophia literature talks of a mythical 'Good Man' - no one in particular - who is the Goddess' envoy on earth. Moses was pictured as such an envoy. According to the Exodus myth, when he passes on his authority to Joshua (Gk: Jesus) he also receives 'the Spirit of Sophia'. For the Christian Gnostics, their mythical hero Joshua/Jesus is likewise Sophia's envoy who comes to reveal her Wisdom which leads to Gnosis. Hence 'the secret' that Paul proclaims in his Letter to the Colossians is 'Christ in whom is hid the treasures of Sophia and Gnosis.'
In the Jewish Sophia literature the Good Man is persecuted by his own people for preaching Sophia's wisdom and condemned to a 'shameful death'. But he is vindicated afterwards and confronts his persecutors as their judge in heaven, where he is one of the 'Sons of God'. In the hands of Christian Gnostics this figure of the Good Man is transformed into Jesus the 'Son of God', who comes they say 'so that Sophia might be proclaimed', is murdered by his misguided kinsmen, but is vindicated by his resurrection to heaven where he becomes the divine judge.
In our view the evidence clearly suggests that Christianity was originally a synthesis of pre-existing Jewish and Pagan spiritual philosophy and allegorical mythology, and that central to that tradition was the myth of the Goddess Sophia. The eradication of the Christian Goddess by the patriarchal Roman Church has left us all motherless children. Women have been denied a sympathetic rapport with the Divine Feminine. Men have been denied a love-affair with a female face of Deity. Spirituality has become part of the battleground which separates the sexes, when it should be the sanctuary of eternal fellowship. The original Christians, however, practised 'partnership spirituality'. They were noted for valuing men and women equally, as expressions of God and Goddess. They saw the division of the sexes as a correlate of that primal polarity which is the basis of life. A duality which when made One, as in the act of love, brings the bliss of mystical union that they called 'Gnosis'.
Timothy Freke has a honours degree in philosophy and is an authority on world spirituality and the author of more than twenty books. Peter Gandy has an MA in Classical Civilisation. For more information about the authors, their books, lectures and seminars, visit www.jesusmysteries.demon.co.uk