Novels or Short Stories based on stories in the Bible
Not modern day versions. There are many of those. But actual novelizations (or short stories) done in modern style but based on the events and time in the Bible.
Back in 1993, I wrote a novel based on the story of King David. It took me a year and was about 500 pages. It was horrible. But the Bible can be endlessly fascinating with the non-stop stories and incredible drama of love, betrayal, war, God, mysticism, prophecy, madness, etc.
The novelizations (or short stories) should have some unique interpretation so they are not just word for word from the Bible.
A great example is the beautiful novella, Barabbas, which won Par Lakervist the Nobel Prize. It's based on the guy Jesus replaced on the Crucifix and how he had to wander the Earth afterwards, plagued by thoughts of this guy who allowed Barabbas to go free so he could die the most painful death.
1. The Story of Judas
Taken from the point of view of Judas. Maybe we got it all wrong. Judas wasn't the worst disciple. In fact, he was the most trusted disciple. The one disciple Jesus trusted to take the story of Jesus all the way to the end. None of the other disciples had the courage, perhaps, to betray Jesus. But Jesus KNEW he had to be betrayed to fulfill his mission on Earth.
Judas was the only one he trusted. And now Judas wanders the Earth, not allowed in heaven and hell as he continues to do what he can for humanity.
(the image is supposedly the recently discovered Gospel of Judas)
2. The doodles.
This is the story in the bible: "came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. 3The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4they said to him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." 8And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11She said, "No one, sir." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.""
But the question is: WHAT WAS JESUS WRITING ON THE GROUND?
Nobody knows. There are many interpretations but nobody knows.
It would be cool to write a collection of short stories of what Jesus was writing. Maybe they span all of millenia and contain many stories of greed , betrayal, sin, and how it all works out in the end.
3. Baathsheba from her point of view
Solomon's mother was married to a soldier. King David saw her sunbathing and fell in love. He sent her husband to the front lines and he died so David was able to marry her.
But we never hear what Bathsheba had to say about all of this. Maybe she loved her husband. David was also clearly strange and was known to have epileptic fits on occasion. What was her tale as she tried maneuver to make Solomon, her son with David, the king.
(painting of Bathsheba, 1720, by Sebastian Ricci)
4. The story of Seth
We all know about Cain and Abel.
But we couldn't be descended from either of them. We're descended (as per the Bible) from Seth, the third child of Adam and Eve.
There was even an early sect of Judaism, Sethism, that worshipped Seth.
What was his story. For one thing, he did he have sex with to have kids?
One of the oddest stories of the Bible is the story of Onan.
He refused to sleep with his dead brother's wife, as required by law, so he "spilled his seed" on the ground. I.e. he masturbated. Hence the word "onanism" which means masturbation.
God yelled at him for this and ever since it's been considered a weird sort of sin.
So what's his story?
6. Jereboam and Reheboam
We all know King David was a great warrior in the Bible and Solomon was wise and consolidated what David created.
But, shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.
Solomon's son, Reheboam, was white trash, and Jereboam was a soldier that rebelled and thus the Kingdom of Israel was split in two and ultimately Reheboam's part was the ten lost tribes that got assimilated into the Babylonion Empire. What caused their split. What were they like?
When Abraham was leaving Sodom, his crew ran into Melchizedek, "a priest of the most high God" and Abraham gave him a sacrifice.
Who was this guy? I thought Abraham was the first who acknowledge God, according to the Bible. Who is this Melchizedek who was even holier?: He's later mentioned in a Psalm as well and there was a sect of Judaism for awhile that worshiped Melchizedek. What's his story?
8. Young Jesus
We know when Jesus came to preach in Nazareth, he wasn't treated very well. "You're just the carpenter's kid. What do you think you are, a Messiah?"
When he was growing up, he must've associated with other kids. Went to school with them, worked with them. But none of those kids became disciples. Did they think he was a bastard? Was it known that Joseph was not his real father? How did they treat him and vice versa? I want to know about Young Jesus!
What I call "The Nazareth Effect" happens in all walks of life. You're never fully respected in your first job, your first town, etc. Whatever you were at the beginning, those people who knew you then will always see you that way.
James was Jesus's brother. We know it doesn't always feel good when your brother has more accomplishments than you, let alone he's the messiah.
What was James's life like? He wasn't really a disciple or a preacher of the faith. What happened to him?
10. The Devil Made Me Do it
The origin of this phrase is actually in Samuel II. David raised taxes. The people revolted, and David took it back and literally said, "the devil made me do it." This is the ONLY mention of a devil in the Old Testament (the Torah).
Note: the serpent in the Garden of Eden is never mentioned as Satan.
And yet, a trail of mischievous sneaks its way through the origin story of almost all of the great leaders in Judaism, which is the forefather of both Christianity and Islam.
Abraham ran away from the family business, never to return. He cast out his first wife and son into the woods at the behest of Sarah.
Isaac stole the birthright of his older brother Ishmael. Jacob, through very fraudulent means, stole the birthright of his older brother Esau. Joseph, the second youngest of Jacob's children was thrown in a pit by his brothers and left to die. David often had to scheme to outwit Saul, even manipulating Saul's son Jonathan to pursue his own ends.
Judaism's highest goal is to have an ethical life, to be a "tzaddick", an ethical person who always attempts to do the right thing. There is no benefit - no heaven - but to be one of "the chosen people" you must always seek to do the right thing.
And yet, there's this dark strain that runs through Judaism's past.
I don't mean to be a Biblical scholar. I know nothing. But all of these things (and many many more), would make for interesting short stories at the very least.
Jeremiah is one of the stranger books in the Old Testament. As far as I can tell, it seems to the be the only one partially written in the first person.
Jeremiah is very much an Abby Hoffman kind of character. An activist, a performance artist, using many methods to gain the attention of the citizens of Israel. He was angry, impetuous, and cared about people and often resented his role as a prophet. And during this time Isreal experienced great upheavel. His message to the people did get across.
His is one of the last books of the Prophets before Jesus. Almost foreshadowing the story of Jesus.
Would be interesting to make a story of him. A modern day story of him woujld almost certainly have him as homeless and insane.
12. I always wanted write something like this.
When I was six years old I first read the Bible from end to end. And, being six years old, I believed everything. Just like I also believed Greek Mythology, Hinduism, Norse Mythology, and Superman. I loved all of these stories and would try to tell all of my friends about them. Including my Jewish friends and Jesus.
Being a six year old Jew for Jesus did not endear me to other other mothers of my Jewish friends and my mom had to deal with a lot of angry calls and I was not invited to birthday parties, etc.
Now I believe in everything and nothing. If anything, my personal beliefs is that none of the Bible is historically accurate but many of the deeper messages are relevant. If anything, I tend to lean towards more esoteric stuff like Buddhism (as many Jews do) or sects of Hindusim like Advaita Vedanta. But the Bible was always my first move.
I had "the Children's Bible." Did anyone else have this?