Thursday, July 9, 2009

Why I love to Write Novels Set in The Biblical Period

I am by profession a sociologist, and sometimes people raise their eyebrows at me and ask: what overcame you, an academic person, to write these colorful novels set in the biblical period.

My reply is that, having written heavy academic books for years, I wanted to burst out into a completely different direction and write light books that people would not have to read for their coursework but would want to read for fun and reading pleasure. So I "reincarnated" myself as a novelist.

But then--some people ask--why turn to the writing of biblical novels?

My reply is that the Bible is not what many people think it is. In recent years I began to read the Bible, and I was entranced by it. I found it to be full of the most dramatic and the most traumatic stories about people who lived thousands of years ago, and yet are so strikingly similar to us in their anxieties, hopes and desires. I began to identify in particular with the women whose lives I could visualize as if they were my own.

So I decided to hand them a "loudspeaker," so that their voices could be heard loud and clear across the generations. I have done so in three novels, of which THE TRIUMPH OF DEBORAH is the most recent.

I wrote about them as I believe they deserve to be written about: tales of love, betrayal and redemption, with sensuous scenes, and twisting, suspenseful plots. Yet they are totally faithful to the Scripture and do not deviate from it, by even a hair's breadth.

But the biblical stories are brief and leave many gaps, and those I filled out with my imagination, my research, my identification and most importantly with the sense that this is how things really happened.

The next question I have been asked is: why do you identify with biblical women?

I do so because I find them inspiring for us today. They lived in a male-dominated society, in which they had few legal rights and their position in the family and society was far from equal to that of men. Yet they were strong personalities, who did not just sit around and bemoan their fate. Instead, they took destiny into their own hands and shaped it to do their bidding.

Deborah is a prime example. Despite the dismal conditions for women prevailing at the time, she "cracked the glass ceiling" over three thousand years ago, and did so without losing her femininity.

What contemporary women can learn from Deborah—as portrayed in the Bible and amplified in my novel--is that no matter what the field in which they choose to realize their potential, no matter what is right for them, they can draw on their inner feminine strength to achieve their goals.

In conclusion, THE TRIUMPH OF DEBORAH (like my previous novels) is not only for people interested in the Bible. It is a light novel designed for anyone who likes an enjoyable read. It is a tribute not only to the feminine power of Deborah, but to that of all women, in biblical times and in ours.

Eva Etzioni-Halevy


  1. Wonderful post! Thanks so much. You have finally convinced me that I would enjoy your book.

  2. Great post! I just received this book and am eager to read it. Thanks!

  3. Eva thank you so much for your post! I was curious about this afer having read The Triumph of Deborah which I enjoyed so much.