Biblical Fiction

Bible stories are rich in human drama: Dastardly sins of murder, lust, greed, cowardice, and envy compete on one hand with such virtues as loyalty, sacrifice, compassion, and love on the other. Is it any wonder, then, that authors have mined the Bible for inspiration, and have re-imagined events for their own stories?

According to the Almanac of the Bible, the first fiction in English on a biblical theme was penned by Henry Fielding. In 1742, he wrote a parody of the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife in Joseph Andrews. Since then, the gates on Biblical fiction have opened so wide that “it has been estimated that in the U.S….novels drawn from Holy Scripture exceeds that from any other source.” Here are a few of the fiction titles we have at CRRL that retell Bible stories:

The Gilded Chamber: A Novel of Queen Esther

By Rebecca Kohn

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"Orphaned and terrified, Esther journeys across the River Tigris to start a new life with her cousin-a man well positioned in the court, and to whom she is betrothed. Her transformation from girl to woman unfolds against a lavish backdrop of the royal court and harem, rife with intrigue and daring alliances. Esther wins much of what she seeks: the heart of a king, and the deliverance of her people. But her rise to the role of queen is not without a price; she must turn her back on all that she ever wanted, and give her body to a man she can never love."

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The Diaries of Adam and Eve

By Mark Twain

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Combined in one volume these whimsical diaries are at bottom both an argument for women's equality and an irreverent look at conventional religion.

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Rebekah

By Orson Scott Card

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Rebekah leaves her father's house to marry Isaac, the studious young son of the storied Sarah and Abraham, only to find herself caught up in a series of painful rivalries, first between her husband and his brother, Ishmael, and later between her sons, Jacob and Esau. Through it all she finds her own relationship with God and does her best to serve His cause in the lives of those she loves.

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Queenmaker: A Novel of King David's Queen

By India Edghill

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The only woman in the Bible who is noted to have loved a man, Queen Michal was King David's childhood sweetheart, his first wife, and daughter of his great friend and greater enemy, King Saul. Married to and then abandoned by David at age 14, Michal is forced to marry him again and become his first queen ten years later. Thrown into transition and turmoil, Queen Michal resists the ambition and greed that have become integral to David's personality and kingship. Acting nobly as his queen, but refusing to compromise her soul, Michal is drawn in friendship to the women in the king's court. Among his concubines and mistresses is Bathsheba, who becomes the mother of David's son, Solomon.

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Quarantine

By Jim Crace

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A re-imagining of the forty days Christ spent in the wilderness being tempted by the devil. Judea, about two thousand years ago: There were five of them -- not a group, but strung out along the road where earlier that morning the caravan of uncles had passed by. Three men, a woman, and, too far behind for anyone to guess its gender, a fifth. And this fifth was barefoot, and without a staff. No waterskin, or bag of clothes. No food. A slow, painstaking figure, made thin and watery by the rising, mirage heat, as if someone had thrown a stone into the pool of air through which it walked and ripples had diluted it.

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Portrait of Mary

By Nikki Grimes

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"In Nikki Grimes's vibrant narrative, Mary's life is made palpable: the hard work she must have performed, the foods she must have prepared, the physical pain and tumultuous emotions she must have felt, the luminous faith that sustained her. Throughout, Grimes is careful not to stray beyond the events and characters portrayed in Scripture while she brings Mary's life near to us, making her story startling fresh and powerful."
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Pillar of Fire

By Judith Tarr

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A sweeping historical fantasy recreates life in ancient Egypt as seen by a slave to the Pharaoh Akhenaten, who banished worship of all the gods but one, led his tribe in the wilderness, and may have been the true Moses.

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Paradise Lost

By John Milton

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The classic Christian epic poem of the Fall of Man. Lucifer, cast out from Heaven, travels to Earth to seduce Adam and Eve into choosing sin.

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Moses, Man of the Mountain

By Zora Neale Hurston

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"In this 1939 novel based on the familiar story of the Exodus, Zora Neale Hurston blends the Moses of the Old Testament with the Moses of black folklore and song to create a compelling allegory of power, redemption, and faith. Narrated in a mixture of biblical rhetoric, black dialect, and colloquial English, Hurston traces Moses' life from the day he Is launched into the Nile river in a reed basket, to his development as a great magician, to his transformation into the heroic rebel leader, the Great Emancipator. From his dramatic confrontations with Pharaoh to his fragile negotiations with the wary Hebrews, this very human story is told with great humor, passion, and psychological insight--the hallmarks of Hurston as a writer and champion of black culture."

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Melchizedek

By Ellen Traylor

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"Melchizedek: upon his legacy a foundation was laid for the Holy City of Jerusalem. In the climactic days following the Great Flood, Noah and his descendants came from the ark and set out to repopulate the earth. Some would choose God's way; others would strike a path of their own. As the reluctant warrior Melchizedek courageously shepherds the righteous, Nimrod challenges him, and in his lust for power, wages war on God himself."
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