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Behind The Fiction, Past
A Fiction Column
By Michael G'Francisco


Most writers who have explored this category are not an "exegesist" (a scholarly person expert in the explanation and interpretation of the Bible).

Writers who write Biblical Fiction, in my opinion tend to bring a personal slant to their assumptions about the storied text presented within the many pages of these extraordinary books. Please, understand that I don't intent to criticize or critique any author in this category. My intent is to praise their work.

Biblical mystery stories, a genre of literature which I was particularly fond of in my youth, provide these authors a useful analogy.

The many bibles present enormous puzzles with their many parables and passages. The compelling, and yes, persuasive eternal stories of these bibles probably could have baffled the great fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes.

When one reads the various bibles, the understanding of the passages being read can have many interpretations. For example: the famous Beatitude: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5.5). One could safely assume " nice guys finish last" and the "last will be first".

If you believe that I got a bridge that I want to sell you. No, just kidding.

This well known beatitude statement is from the Sermon on the Mount. To some meekness is weakness! Yet, to others, being humble is pure strength.

My pointing out the above comparison is to show that written words can have different meanings to some writers and readers, which could alter the original writer's intention. Especially in the gnarly written verses of the many bibles.

Having expressed my thoughts in the above paragraphs, I would like for you to get acquainted with some of the best-known biblical writers. Below, I've attempted to list the current writers in this genre so that you can read some of their work and form your own opinion.

Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card is an American author, English professor, critic and public speaker. He writes in several genres, but is primarily known for his science fiction. In one of his works, Stone Tables, a 432-page novel about Moses published by Shadow Mountain in 1977, Card shows you Moses' life through his own eyes.

His novels include: Lost Boys, Treasure Base, Enchantment and the novelization of the well-known film, The Abyss. Card has used seven pseudonyms: Fredrich Bliss, P.Q. Grump, Byron Walley, Brian Green, Dinah Kirkham, Noam D. Pellume and Scott Richards. His literary awards number fifteen.

Anita Diamant
Anita Diamant is known for her New York Times bestseller, The Red Tent, a 358-page novel published by Picador in 1998 and then re-published by St Martin's Press in 2007. Her work in this novel explores the lives of biblical women.

Her career began in 1975 as a freelance journalist writing a variety of articles covering many different topics for several magazines. She has also written seven nonfiction books pertaining to the Jewish way of life.

Her 1997 novel, The Red Tent. has been distributed in 25 countries. Other works of fiction include: The Last Harbor in 2001, Stone Days of Dog Town in 2005 and Day After Night in 2007.

Liz Curtis Higgs
Liz Curtis Higgs has had success in broadcasting, public speaking, nonfiction and many works of fiction. She is the creator of the best-selling series of the Bad Girls of the Bible. In these books Higgs explores: Jezebel, Delilah, Mary Magdalene, Rahab, the infamous women in biblical history.

Her books are filled with humor and heartfelt encouragement for all women looking to handle life's many changes. Liz's contemporary fictional retelling of the stories of their lives presents to the reader a clear difference between a life of sin or one living within the embrace of God's grace.

Higgs has 26 books to her credit consisting of two contemporary novels, four historical novels and five books for children. Her latest work Bookends (September, 2007) is an inspirational romantic comedy published by Multnomah.

Francine Rivers
Francine Rivers has done some extraordinary work in Christian themes and inspirational romance. Her entry into writing was in 1979 with a historical romance novel, Kathleen, which was not a bestseller. Finding the guiding light, Rivers became a born-again Christian in 1986. After three years of bible research, she penned Redeeming Love, which was released in 1991. It's the story of a prostitute named Angel, who converts to Christianity with the help of a frontier farmer. The novel is profoundly explicit and moralistic. Rivers' Mark of the Lion series (1993-1995) sold over a half million copies. Her success continued and in 2000 she penned the Lineage of Grace series, which was followed by the Sons of Encouragement series. Then, in 2007, The Last Sin Eater was made into a feature film directed by Michael Landon's son and distributed by Fox Faith Publishers.

There are many more writers who have entered into the biblical genre because of the endless stories in the Aramaic Bible, The Catholic Bible and the writings of Matthew, Luke and John, along with the many other religious Bibles.

When one explores these works they reveal some unique characters and key differences between gospels. Still, to further enhance one's research, the study of the Synoptic and Apocryphal Gospels are a must.

In closing, entering into this genre one best be ready to devote a great many hours, perhaps years, to research.

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