Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Salome No One Knows

It takes me quite a while to read the magazines I get. This morning I got around to reading the aforementioned article, published in the June/July 2008 issue of BAR [Biblical Archeology Review]. When I saw the title I thought it would be about the Salome I learned about in Mrs. Berna’s Sunday School Class. She was the girl who did such a seductive dance for King Herod, he offered her anything she wanted, up to half his kingdom. She took the advice of her mother and asked for the head of John the Baptist. What an image that was to a nine year old child! I recall there being a drawing of a bearded long haired head on a platter held up by a slave.

This article isn’t about that Salome. This Salome was Salome Alexandra and ruled Judea for nine years (76–67 B.C.E.). She married King Alexander Jannaeus when she was 29 and he was 14 or 16. Upon his death he named her ruler over his two grown sons. She was 73 when she died.

Politics among the historians of the time labeled her a prostitute and her short, amazingly peaceful rein was pretty much obscured by time. Isn’t it just like women who are successful and powerful to be slimed? I think it’s funny how this kind of thing is not just a modern way of handling a powerful woman.

Here’s a link to the article. Take a bit to read it and tell me what you think about Salome Alexandra and how her memory was handled.

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