Eva Etzioni-Halevy Interview
November 5, 2009
the author of The Triumph of Deborah
We had the pleasure of interviewing Eva Etzioni-Halevy, author of The Triumph of Deborah on the blog November 5, 2009. Her novel is based on the Old Testament story of the respected Israelite judge and prophetess Deborah.
Of the sites you visited in your research for The Triumph of Deborah, which impressed you the most?
I visited Mount Tabor, the River Kishon and the Hazor Castle, where King Jabin reigned.
The castle was the most inspiring. Although it lies in ruins, the rudiments of the entrance, the stairs leading up to the throne hall and the hall itself are still in existence. I could easily visualize scenes from the novel taking place there, on the very spots on which I was standing. It was as if the three thousand years in between had vanished, I had traveled back in time and was actually there when it happened.
It was awesome.
What led you to give starring roles to a Canaanite princess and to the daughter of an Israelite slave in Canaan, as well as to Deborah?
Through the Canaanite princess I wanted to show that there were two rival cultures, not only the Israelite but also the Canaanite one, and that there were very human beings on both sides of the fence.
Nogah, the daughter of the Israelite slave whose father was a Canaanite, was meant to illustrate intercultural themes.
In addition, I wanted to show that the young military commander Barak had his own life involving other women, and that it was not centered only on the prophetess Deborah.
In the course of writing I fell in love with all the heroes and heroines and they took on a life of their own.
Jews and Christians have a lot in common, starting with the Old Testament, but the sensibility of your novel is definitely Jewish. Does it bug you when bookstores list it under "Christian" fiction?
Not at all.
As you say, the Old Testament of the Bible is what Jews and Christians share, and I believe that we should emphasize what unites rather than what divides us. I am happy that through my biblical novels I have been able to contribute, even if only in a minor way, to that commonality by bringing the Bible closer to modern readers of both faiths.
I would prefer it, though, if bookstores also listed my novels in the general fiction section, because the books are not only for Bible lovers but also for people who have never held a Bible in their hands. They are love stories with twisting, suspenseful plots, written for reading pleasure. While they are totally faithful to the Scripture, they are meant for anyone who likes an enjoyable read.
Review of The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy
See listing for The Triumph of Deborah at Powell's Books
See listing for The Triumph of Deborah at Amazon.com
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