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Streams of Wisdom. Suppressed Histories Archive. 2000: pp.20-22
by Max Dashu.

The ancient Hebrew name for Wisdom is Khokhmah, a feminine noun. In Jewish scripture, it was Khokhmah who personified the female Divine. She is traditionally understood as an emanation of God, yet she resonates with the Hebrew Goddess who is otherwise assailed in the Bible. Proverbs 3:18 calls up an image of Khokhmah originating in the oldest core of Jewish culture: "She is a Tree of Life to all who lay hold of her." In the same book, Khokhmah sings, the one who finds me, finds life." Like the goddess Asherah, regarded as the partner of YHWH by the ancient Hebrews, Khokhmah is linked to the pillar. In Proverbs 9:1 she builds a house of seven pillars. Wisdom declares, "My throne was in the pillar of cloud," in Ben Sirach (24:4).

Asphodel Long's book A Chariot Drawn by Lions offers profound insights into the survival of the Hebrew Goddess. She points out that Wisdom is another form of the Shekhinah, the divine Presence. Both are "expressed in light and glory," both are involved in creation, enthroned in heaven, intermediaries between god and the world, ascending and descending, and winged.

The Book of Wisdom of Solomon, written in Alexandria, renames Khokhmah as Sophia, the Greek name for Widsom. In this text, Long points out, Sophia "takes over the powers and function of God" and the creation story is told using the word "she." The ancient author carefully qualifies this audacity but describing Wisdom as God's breath and emanation, but still praises her at length in her own right as "holy" and "all-powerful".

Asphodel Long's illuminating exegesis of the Alexandrian Wisdom litany brings forward the little-known fact that the Greek name monogones ("unique, singly born") began as a title of female divinities. It originates in an Egyptian title of goddesses Neit, Hathor, and later Isis: "self-born, self-produced." Next, it appears in Orphic hymns to Demeter, Persephone and Athena. Christians subsequently applied it to Yeshua of Nazareth who was cast as the "only-begotten son" of god. [Long, 49]


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