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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Concerning the Fallacious Myth of the Sacred Prostitute


Many acolytes of New Age spirituality, who at times have an indecent tendency to merge amateur scholarship with their own personal and unexamined biases, have failed to truly understand the nature of Qudshu by neglecting the very fact that the name qšh does not mean ‘sacred prostitute’, but instead it refers to the concept of ‘holiness’ in the sense of ‘the devoted one’. The 'mem', 'yod', 'shin', 'daleth', 'qoph' and 'tau', 'vau', 'shin', 'daleth', 'qoph' of the Hebrew Bible refer to holy men and women and not male and female sodomites and prostitutes who allegedly engaged in sinful sexual rites in Canaan. Although it was natural for the veneration and representation of the sacredness of fertility in the religions of the Near East, this should not be equated with the sexual performance popularised by contemporary society as the whole concept of fertility and sex had broader connotations for the ancient mind. For the ancient worshippers fertility did always just imply sexual activity but was understood and embraced as a broader concept. Current research on the institution of sacred prostitution clearly shows that the whole concept did not exist at all in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East and was merely invented or imagined by Herodotos in Book 1.199 of his Histories. Apart from Herodotos, the only other reference we have to sacred prostitution is in Strabo’s Geography. There are no Hellenistic sources that refer to sacred prostitution, when Greeks lived in close proximity with their eastern neighbours. It is my opinion that Strabo’s speculated remarks, which are not supported by local sources, seek to propagate the idea that the mission of Rome was civilise and moralise the regions it had conquered. 


Extracted from Scholia

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