I wondered where the weird Episcopalian raisin cake thing was coming from. Now I know.
Basically, she is a Methodist theologian who wants to paint every mysterious figure in the Bible as referring to Asherat, and apparently that doesn’t except Melchizedek. I feel like I am back reading neopagan feminist fantasy novels from the Eighties, crossed over with Jack Chick tracts.
Her basic theory (and that of some other feminist theologians) is that “El Shaddai” does not mean “my all-mighty/all-sufficient god”, but rather “goddess of the breasts”. Obviously there are problems with this, starting with “el” being the masculine word for a god; the feminine form is “elat” or “elath”. Also as you would predict, she calls this notional deity “the Lady” and “the Queen of Heaven”. Supposedly, all Biblical references to Wisdom are really about this female El Shaddai. (I’m not sure how the Shekhinah glory fits into all this.)
Everything was all happy (instead of mother goddesses being a sign of female oppression and sex slavery, as they often are… but that’s another post) until EVIL King Josiah threw out all the symbols of feminine divine power, substituting a lot of FAKE stuff about Moses and Aaron. Everything that was ever lost from the Temple was not hauled off by God or by Egyptians and Romans, but was actually a SEECRRETT goddess worship thing that bad Josiah destroyed. But the SEEECRET TRAADITIONNNNNNN was handed down in secret wisdom among those who still followed the old religion, and eventually we got Mary worship.
The non-hilarious thing is that Mormons have taken up this stuff as proof that there really are multiple gods and goddesses, including both “the Heavenly Mother” and their cousin Bob who now has his own planet, and that all of their Temple stuff is really true.
The other non-hilarious thing is that obviously there is a lot to say about Temple theology and about the roles of women in Temple Judaism, as well as about what was expected about the Messiah and how early Christians interpreted the OT. Instead of writing those books, Barker is wasting her time on crap and on being a bad guide to others.
Finally, it would seem that Marquette actually invited this woman to give a Marian lecture. The University of Dayton has had some terrible speakers, but at least they’re not playing “Insults to Mary R Us.”