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Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen Paperback – March 17, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Like other villains of the Bible, Jezebel, it turns out, may have been gravely mischaracterized throughout history. Unlike Judas, of whom there are alternative, rehabilitative stories, the only historical account of Jezebel's life exists in the Books of Kings. What Hazleton argues, however, is that this account is self-subverting and has been misconstrued throughout history. Interlacing fictional narrative with engaging commentary, Hazleton points out that Jezebel was never sexually promiscuous or even accused of being so; the word harlot only ever referred to her unfaithfulness to Yahweh. And while Elijah is a universally loved biblical figure (Hazleton gives examples of Jewish, Christian and Muslim reverence for him), her reading of Kings reveals him to be the worst sort of fundamentalist—the kind who thinks that all who oppose the true faith should be killed. Hazleton draws from a deep, impressive well of scholarship and includes a fascinating travelogue of her journeys to the places described in Kings. In addition, she provides her own rich, nuanced translation and uses it to highlight the wordplay in which the biblical authors frequently engage. Replete with apt comparisons to modern Middle Eastern conflicts, this revisionist portrait is equal parts fun and sobering—a colorful history lesson that's sorely needed. (Oct. 16)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Advance Praise for Jezebel:
“This riveting biography breaks through all our preconceptions about Jezebel. In Hazleton’s hands, the real story of the ‘harlot queen’ is a vivid and magnificent drama with direct relevance to our own time. You’ll never read the Hebrew bible the same way again.”
—Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth and Misconceptions
“I read Jezebel in a single enthralled sitting. In her wonderfully spirited retelling of the Books of Kings, Lesley Hazleton makes Jezebel our contemporary, and turns the ninth century B.C. into a prophetic mirror of our twenty-first-century religiopolitical wars. In a feat of nonfiction magical realism, she brilliantly collapses the worlds of now and then into one realm, where Jezebel and Elijah effortlessly rub shoulders with Ehud Olmert and Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. The book is endlessly informative (and Hazleton’s knowledge of Hebrew serves her well here); it is also great fun.”
—Jonathan Raban, author of Surveillance
“This riveting book tells the story of the real-life, flesh-and-blood-and-brain female whose name has been, for the last three thousand years, shorthand for Bad Girl. Was Jezebel really ‘bad’? Or was she, like so many forward-thinking women after her, simply feared as a foreigner, reviled as an infidel, destroyed as a deviant? Read this book and find out.”
—Rebecca Brown, author of The Gifts of the Body
“Lesley Hazleton is a terrific, charismatic writer, and this book is an eloquent, smart, and thought-provoking reinterpretation of the biblical tale of Jezebel.”
—Neil Asher Silberman, author of David and Solomon
Praise for Mary: A Flesh-and-Blood Biography of the Virgin Mother:
“Thoughtful, evocative, and eminently readable...Dazzling to read and weighty to ponder.”
“Readers who loved the phenomenally popular fictional chronicle of Jacob’s daughter Dina in Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent will find this book about Mary, the mother of Jesus, just as enthralling....She also knows how to write a page-turner.”
“Weaves historical facts with empathy and imagination to construct a plausible, visceral version of this celebrated woman.”
—Los Angeles Times Book Review
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Top customer reviews
There is a rich and fascinating history here; nothing dry or boring as could be found in a textbook. Throughout much of the book, the reader feels transported back through time into the ancient Middle East, experiencing what the author realistically conjectures Jezebel felt. The author has done her research and her knowledge of Hebrew pays off as she explains mistranslations and other mistakes that contributed to Jezebel’s tarnished reputation in the Bible.
Jezebel was no angel, but I agree with this book: she was framed. I don’t believe she was as bad as the Bible says. Reading this book, it is simple to see why Jezebel was seen as an “evil woman.” She dared to speak her mind and seize power as she saw fit in a time when men were encouraged to do so, but women were expected to be silent and submissive. Women like her have been vilified all throughout history.
I really enjoyed this book and the opportunity to learn from it. I not only give it five stars, I encourage everyone who wants to know more about Jezebel or the Bible to read it.