Jun 20, 12
My husband got me 3 of the Women in Gen series for my birthday, and I am so glad he did. These are written as "fiction" but it is evident that there is a lot of research put into it as well. Card portrays an honest view of Jewish life far surpassing the vulgar cave-man "Red Tent" version. My copy of Rebekah has an endorsement from the Jerusalem Post on first page which says a lot about it's accuracy. Also commendable is the fact that Card does not alter the Genesis account. What he adds gives deeper meaning and a higher understanding of what is already in the scriptures. There are hints that some of Rebekah was loosely taken from other ancient texts as well. As an example;
Jasher 24: 39 ... and they gave him Rebecca, the daughter of Bethuel, for a wife for Isaac. 40 And the young woman was of very comely appearance, she was a virgin, and Rebecca was ten years old in those days.
Early on in the Book Card mentions Rebekah being 10 years old, and makes a point that she was very mature for her age. Her age is mentioned in such a way that most readers will not realize how young she was when married though. Card also mentions the book of Noah in reference to another account of the flood - and the Book of Noah does actually exist, you can buy it on Amazon, usually in combination with the works of Enoch.
He also discretely brings up the Israelite Goddess Asherah, AKA, Heavenly Mother. If you don't mind, I would like to provide some additional background on Asherah to anyone interested in reading this, or any other books related to Jewish histories. The existence of a Heavenly Mother is not just Mormon doctrine - although I do not want to misrepresent the LDS either, they do not worship Her, they only admit to Her existence. In Genesis 21:33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree (tree of life representing feminine child bearing ability) and called there on the name of Yahweh el Olam (a combination of two divine names). In Genesis 30:13 Leah names her son Ahser whose names means "with Asherah's help". Perhaps the most beautiful description of Asherah in the Bible is the Proverbs 3:13-18 inclusio (happy, wisdom, and tree of life are all "discrete" translations of the Hebrew words Ashre, chokmah, and ets chayyum). Asherah is very much a part of the Old Testament. Just as Abraham sacrificing Isaac represents Heavenly father sacrificing Jesus, I strongly suspect Sarah, Abraham's beautiful wife, represents Asherah. The many righteous barren women combined with the polygamy throughout the OT possibly symbolic of Mary, not Asherah, becoming the mother of Their "only" begotten son. The background of the ever so important baptism as being an actual "birth"... a birth respecting the free agency of the "children" in which divine Parents are chosen rather than forced upon a spirit through a physical birth... Also adding to the reason that Jesus was baptized, not to take away sin, or to become a child of Heavenly Father... the words "This is my beloved son" perhaps being spoken by a female voice after Jesus' baptism. Of course inappropriate worship of the beautiful Asherah lead to Her presence being hidden, the commandment of not worshipping images. Ex 19: 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above - this commandment does not come about until Ex, so Abraham and others are perhaps not really doing something that was wrong at the time although the idea of men protecting and respecting the sanctity of womanhood was in place starting with Adam. Card points out the fact that the Jewish people do not dare utter the name of Heavenly Father and protect Asherah even more vehemently. The great sin of inappropriately worshiping Her much worse than using the Lord's name in vain. (I know the account surrounding Rebekah's mother is fictional, but the points made by the story are very real).
If Orson happens across my ramblings, I apologize for over analyzing your fictional work. Perhaps I read too much into it, or combine it with things I should not... or perhaps I am right, and just not as discreet at introducing some subjects as Card is...
In any event, Rebekah is a beautiful read, perhaps I misrepresent it, I do not think it is meant to be a scholarly research paper, it reads like a best-seller novel, although to those who have read some other things, there are elements in it that are much deeper than perhaps the uneducated reader might grasp - which is what makes all of Card's books so intriguing. Disturbing how accurately Card, a male, is able to portray all that is female. Beautiful that he is able to reveal the real power women had and still have to those who do not yet understand the nobility of being a mother and wife. I will pass this book along to others not only as a testimony builder that brings the scriptures to life, but also as a book that reveals the beauty of male and female roles and the appropriate honest way people from "Mars and Venus" can come to respect and support one another.
My deepest thanks to Bro. Card for all of his work.