Biblical fiction can be a sticky wicket, but one beautiful thing it has going is providing cultural context to familiar stories. It can also offer reasons that people may have acted as they did. Its very strength in making us familiar with things its original audience already understood can also be a means to blurring the lines between fact and fiction. Great authors know how to throw a “what if” scenario into the mix and leave us digging deeper into Scripture to understand what the Lord is teaching us in His Word, and isn’t that the main point? Listen in as Mesu Andrews and I tackle my issues with Biblical fiction and see why it is such an important genre in Christian fiction.
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What Happens When a Woman’s Passion for the Word Meets Her Love of Story?
I’ve always been honest about my concerns with Biblical fiction, but as I chatted with Mesu (we didn’t have time to discuss it), I realized it really is the same issue as with all Christian fiction–allowing creativity and recognizing the ways different people understand the same passages while holding fast to Biblical truth. In Biblical fiction, it’s more overt. If an author tries to say that David was a twelve-year-old girl, we’re going to have problems. If another book shows the possibility of Paul having been married as M.D. House talked about in Episode 133, well that’s something we don’t actually know. How that’s done makes all the difference.
Mesu Andrews has a deep love and passion for the Word that shines whenever you talk to her, and this interview was no exception. She lets us peek into her writing process that starts pretty generically (Hello, Google!) before digging deep into more academic sources. She made it very clear that every Biblical fact mentioned in the Bible never changes in her stories. However, she does look at cultural and traditional aspects of life at the time and asks those wonderful “what if?” questions.
Why write about someone like Potiphar’s wife?
Because women often prefer reading about women, Mesu looks at familiar stories like that of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife from an unfamiliar angle. Of course, you can read all the spoilers by going straight to the Bible, but I have to admit that I’m fascinated to see where this book takes us.
Finally, we discussed a few authors and the kinds of Biblical fiction they write. From concepts to deep dives, Old Testament to New, these authors have carved out niches for themselves. I know you’ll find something you need to check out. Me, I’m going to be reading Potiphar’s Wife soon and seeing what Mesu Andrews has for us.
Potiphar’s Wife by Mesu Andrews
One of the Bible’s most notorious women longs for a love she cannot have in this captivating novel from the award-winning author of Isaiah’s Legacy.
“Mesu Andrews yet again proves her mastery of weaving a rich and powerful biblical story!”—Roseanna M. White, author of A Portrait of Loyalty
Before she is Potiphar’s wife, Zuleika is the daughter of a king and the wife of a prince. She rules the isle of Crete alongside her mother in the absence of their seafaring husbands. But when tragedy nearly destroys Crete, Zuleika must sacrifice her future to save the Minoan people she loves.
Zuleika’s father believes his robust trade with Egypt will ensure Pharaoh’s obligation to marry his daughter, including a bride price hefty enough to save Crete. But Pharaoh refuses and gives her instead to Potiphar, the captain of his bodyguards: a crusty bachelor twice her age, who would rather have a new horse than a Minoan wife.
Abandoned by her father, rejected by Pharaoh, and humiliated by Potiphar’s indifference, Zuleika yearns for the homeland she adores. In the political hotbed of Egypt’s foreign dynasty, her obsession to return to Crete spirals into deception. When she betrays Joseph—her Hebrew servant with the face and body of the gods—she discovers only one love is worth risking everything.
You can find out more about Mesu Andrews on her WEBSITE.