Monday, November 21, 2011

Biblical Retellings

I probably don't have to tell you that Fairy Tale/Greek Mythology/Shakespeare retellings are the new "big thing" in YA. But what about Biblical retellings?

I'm not a religious person, but I'm familiar with enough Old Testament stories to know that they're loaded with sex, violence, family drama, and betrayal. The people we call Biblical heroes are heavily flawed, so they would form an excellent basis for character development. And that doesn't even begin to touch upon all the between-the-lines interpretations of all of these stories.

This morning, I woke up with Samson in mind. If you're not familiar with it, the story goes something like this: Samson is very strong because of his long hair. He falls in love with Delilah, a Philistine woman. She asks him about the source of his strength, and he reveals his secret. She cuts his hair, and, in his weakness, the Philistines blind and enslave him. Eventually, his hair grows back, and he knocks down their temple, killing both himself and Delilah. (Or at least that was the version I remember from the 1949 movie that my baby-sitter's husband was particularly fond of.)

Wouldn't some of those elements make for an awesome story? You'd have to be careful, of course, because of the unfortunate implications, but at this point, I would much rather read a Samson retelling than another Cinderella story.

What's your take on retellings? Are there any Bible stories that you would like to see "retold"? (Or is this a horrible idea that I should never speak of again?)


  1. I think this is interesting. My cousin is working on a retelling of the Cane and Abel story from The Bible.

  2. I know some people who would find this suggestion completely heinous and sacrilegious, but there are definitely Bible stories that could make great modern stories.

  3. I think the Samson story in particular would make a good retelling. But yeah, there would always be a lot of people who got pissed off about it, even if it was written from a pro-Christianity standpoint.

  4. Hmm, you guys have a good point. I guess some people would see it as writers cashing in on other peoples' beliefs.

  5. I've always thought a Biblical retelling would be interesting, but it makes me a little nervous. I could definitely see some people considering it "blasphemous". I'd be more likely to write something that was modern and used the themes of a Biblical story without calling attention to it.


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