QUEEN OF SHEBA Biography - Royalty, Rulers & leaders


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Makeda, Queen of Sheba by Tracy Marks (1989-2001). This is an entertaining multi-page 
source-based exploration of the topic, leaning particularly on the Bible and the       
Kebra Negast. The narrative is smooth and enjoyable, summarizing or quoting many       
stories not found elsewhere on the internet—a good read and a good guide to the     
source tradition. What it is not is good history. Marks' methodology is               
positivist and naive, throwing all the legends together as "data," and weaving a       
narrative that makes all of it true. Source critical problems are never raised.       
The Hellenistic "Wisdom of Solomon" are quoted as the King's own words. Josephus'     
summary of the biblical data, with a few folk-tale details thrown in, is treated       
as an independent and authoritative account. There is no sense of a "developing"       
tradition, or of the limits of historical inquiry under such circumstances. Mark's     
collects a number of Sheba poems, a good bibliography and some web links.             
"The Queen of Sheba's visit to King Solomon" by Art Scott, a Vancouver Mason.         
Scott recounts much of the biblical and extra-biblical data. The stated goal is       
explain the Queen of Sheba's prominence in a Masonic ceremony, "The Board of           
Installed Masters"—otherwise undescribed. The review is comprehensive and fluent,   
but I'm still interested in the core question. I suspect earlier generations of       
masons were more interested in the idea of the Queen's "occult questions" than         
theories of economic exchange. Much depends when the ceremony came about.             
The Connection: "The Queen of Sheba." Boston-based NPR interview show hosted by       
Tom Ashbrook spends an hour with Clapp (author of Sheba), Carole Fontaine, a           
Feminist theologian/scholar[1] and Ephraim Isaac, the director of the Institute       
of Semitic Studies at Princeton. The Connection is one of my favorite NPR shows.       
This one is a little frustrating. Clapp is a natural, entertaining and inspiring       
communicator[2], who would have been set off well by a less ebullient scholar.         
Instead Prof. Fontaine attempts to out-popularize Clapp, "talking down" in a           
singularly grating way. Isaac, who joins the conversation later, comes off a           
pedant—he keeps mentioning that he wrote something about something—but is         
refreshingly disdainful of "spin" and sloppy talking, correcting Clapp and             
Fontaine for calling the queen just "Sheba." I also like what I took as a dig at       
Clapp, that yes he too had been to all the places Clapp had. When Isaac presses       
the unparalleled stature of the Queen of Sheba in Ethiopian culture Ashbrook           
cuts him off and is later clearly relieved to get him off the phone.