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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen

1. Hazleton writes on page 2, “There is a magic in names.” What connotation did the name “Jezebel”hold for you prior to reading the book? Has this new vision of the “harlot queen” changed this understanding?

2. "Strip away the seven veils, and what we find is a startlingly contemporary story,” (page 10). In what ways can Jezebel’s story be considered modern?

3. Hazleton incorporates vivid descriptions of the modern–day Middle East into her account of Jezebel’s life and death. Which locales stood out for you? Why?

4. “The two women, Jezebel and Lady Macbeth, are almost twin images; indeed it is quite likely that Shakespeare took his cue for Macbeth from Kings,” (page 113). Can you think of other women in myth or literature who share similarities with Jezebel?

5. Hazleton describes Jezebel’s rise to power and ultimate murder as “the foundation story of modern radical fundamentalism,” (page 6). What parallels can be drawn between Jezebel’s story and radicalized religion in our age?

6. Proposing that if Jezebel hadn’t been persecuted and killed, the path of Israelite history would have been completely altered, Hazleton writes, “Whether this is a matter of irony or justice I leave to the reader to decide.” (page 13). What do you think? Was the aftermath of Jezebel’s death a cruel twist of fate, or was it the inevitable result?

7. Discuss prominent historical male figures in Jezebel’s story. How did they help or hinder her?

8. Hazleton periodically employs “the historical imagination” (page 13) in her re-creation of Jezebel’s point of view. What did you think of this device? Did it enhance your understanding of Jezebel’s perspective?

9. Discuss the violent nature of Jezebel’s death, as well as other instances of violence that the author notes in the book. Does the cruelty exhibited to Jezebel come as a surprise to you? Why or why not?

10. What defines a feminist to you in today’s era? Would you consider Jezebel one?

Jezebel: The Untold Story of the Bible's Harlot Queen
by Lesley Hazleton

  • Publication Date: October 16, 2007
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Religion
  • ISBN-10: 0385516142
  • ISBN-13: 9780385516143