Sunday, July 26, 2015

Who Is That Lady?

Yesterday, in response to a reader's inquiry, I "clarified" who the protagonists of my Immanu'El novels are ... or at least, which Biblical figure inspired and shaped each of them. Today I continue the list by taking a peek at some of the women in these stories. 

Maryam bat Yoachim, the wife of Yosef and mother of Yisu (and many others), is pretty obviously representative of Mary the mother of Jesus, more commonly known as the Virgin Mary. As with some of my other characters, Maryam is a compilation of various theories and traditions about the Blessed Virgin and "the other Mary" and "Mary the mother of James and Joses" (in the Immanu'El universe, all three of them are the same person).

Shelomith bat Yoachim, the wife of Zebdi the fisherman and mother of Yakob and Yuannan, is the end result of countless hours wading through the gospel accounts of the women at the cross ... Salome is one of them, as is Mary's sister, and I blended the two because that made the most sense to me. My Shelom is Maryam's sister by adoption only, but that idea was not suggested by anything in Scripture. (I confess, I have some fairly convoluted family trees here, mostly because I was having a hard time figuring out how a Galilean fisherman would have access to the home of the High Priest.)

Elisheba bat Amram ("Aunt Elisheba"), the wife of Zechariah and mother of Yochanan, is my tribute to Elizabeth, the elderly kinswoman of Mary, who miraculously gave birth to John the Baptist (Luke 1). My Elisheba is also the elder sister of Yoachim (see previous note about convoluted family trees).

Maryam Magdalit is based on Mary Magdalene, from whom Jesus drove out seven demons, and who supported his mission financially (Luke 8) and was the first witness to his resurrection (John 20). She has made only a token appearance in the series so far but is the protagonist of the novel I am currently writing (Seven Demons).

Yochanah "Yunna" ha Shealtiel is a creation of my own imagination, although I also use her to reenact the story of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery (John 8).

Michal, Philip's sister, is pure fiction, as are Leah, Talyah, and Tamar. 

Shoshonah is Susanna, another of the women at the cross, though the Bible does not imply that she was Philip's wife. (Her story is told in more depth in Seven Demons.)

Rachel, Hannah, Sarah, and Rebekah, Yisu's sisters, are semi-fictional. The Bible does mention that Jesus had "sisters" living in Nazareth but does not say how many or what their names were, though "Hannah" may well have been one of them since tradition gives this as the name of Mary's mother ("Anna"). (Hannah, Sarah, and Rebekah were given those names in my novels because of a promise I made to my cousins Hannah, Sarah, and Rebekah.)

I think that pretty much exhausts the female characters.
Next blog: the Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees


  1. Oh Shelomith is Salome! Of course!
    I am currently rereading the series. Very few of my books ever get reread. Great job on the series.

    1. Thank you. I'm glad they are blessing you.