By Norman Hepburn Baynes
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Additional resources for Byzantine Studies and Other Essays
The watercourse of the Jews is flowing through thee. Jezebel. My Queen. Whose daughter is ruling in Jerusalem. From whose womb is pouring the House of David. Mmm. Jezebel. Priestess of Fornication. Mmm. Queen of Spades. Queen of Tarts. O Jezebel, you are my queen, I exalt thee and praise thy sandals. (Robbins 1990:348) Even though in popular Western culture to be called a jezebel is not a compliment, there is a strange connection/disconnection to Jezebel. ”13 Are we happy/satisfied when Jezebel is splattered and trampled by horses and eaten by dogs?
There is no language for the damned but a gnawed agony. Babel is the story of one of the primeval punishments, another way God remains separate from humans. Babel is a story of prime-evil religion and culture and of wounding and pain. 1 The Confusion of Tongues (1865) by Gustave Doré: the people mourn as they are scattered from the spiraling tower—the possibility of divine desire 45 THE POWER OF BABEL of Babel narrative, I thought of the tower image as a male phallic symbol. Mary Daly sees the tower as “the erection of phallocracy” (1978:4).
And no one is. Even the severed head speaks in tongues: tongues that are political, queenly, indigenous, elite, evil, religious, female, sexualized, monogamous, mothering, and murdered. The head speaks in the tongues of all the “texts” of Jezebel. The biblical text presents both the limits of Jezebel and her limitlessness. From the confines of her house she is the anti-prophet to Elijah the prophet (cf. Apoc. 2:20). Jezebel talks to Jehu from her high window within female space. When she enters the male world, she is thrown to her death.