Jezebel

How one woman's power is portrayed as evil.

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Perhaps she had the status of gebira “queen mother”, or of “co-regent”. At any rate, there is no doubt that the biblical and later accounts distort her portrait for several reasons, among which we can list her monarchic power, deemed unfit in a woman; her reported devotion to the Baal and Asherah cult and her objection to Elijah and other prophets of God; her education and legal know-how (shown in the Naboth affair); and her foreign origin. Ultimately, the same passages that disclaim Jezebel as evil, “whoring,” and immoral are witness to her power and the need to curb it.  

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Athalya Brenner

Athalya Brenner is professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She holds a B.A. from the University of Haifa, an M.A. from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, a Ph.D. from the University of Manchester, England, and an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Bonn, Germany.