Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Havah-The Story of Eve

Oh are you in for a treat today. Tosca Lee is with me for an interview about Havah: The Story of Eve.

And don't forget to listen in as I interview Tosca on my radio show tomorrow, Oct. 9th, 8:40a.m. MST. You can find the radio interview at Find out more about this comment from Tosca...

While I believe it’s important to guard our minds, I also think we sometimes show unnecessary suspicion for physical beauty, for God gifted sensuality and pleasure...

Find more info out at these sites:

Back to the beginning—Where you’ve never been before
Critically acclaimed TOSCA LEE releases HAVAH: The Story of Eve

Summary: To millions, she’s the beginning of womanhood. Eve. The first wife. The first mother. The first sinner. The first.

Tosca Lee rips the curtain off of myths and legends to reveal the dawn of creation through the eyes of the first woman. When she bit into the fruit and her eyes were opened to both evil and good, what did Eve think? Did the world look the same? When her total communion with both Adam and the animals was broken, how did she feel? From paradise to exile—created immortal, she brought death upon herself and all mankind. Yet, from her womb came the continuation of life.

...I have never read a book like Havah. It's brilliantly conceived, uniquely delivered, and phenomenally profound.”
~Lissa Halls Johnson, author of Kirk Cameron: Still Growing, an autobiography

“...beautiful prose and breathtaking description...step out of the box for a moment and experience a retelling of Adam and Eve that will leave you desperate for more.”
~Jake Chism,

“...masterfully told by an extraordinary wordsmith.”
~Robert Liparulo, author of Deadfall, Germ, and Comes a Horseman

“ extraordinary book about an extraordinary woman...she has brought Havah to life.”
~Randy Ingermanson, Christy Award-winning author of Retribution

HAVAH: The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee
NavPress · $12.99 · 1-6006-124-9

More Advance Praise for Havah: The Story of Eve

“...With delicious prose, Tosca Lee captures the passion, innocence, fatal mishap, and tragedy
that was our first mother's life. Her marriage, her children, her struggle to survive in a fallen world with no models to imitate--Tosca imagines all of this convincingly…”

--Karen Lee Thorp

“...such scope, such beauty, that it defies description. Havah bridges mankind’s beginnings
with the restless state of our present age, and I was reminded, as I read, of other seminal works: David Maine’s The Preservationist, Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear, and Anne Rice’s Christ the Lord. Tosca Lee has combined the grit and vitality of ancient history with a profound reverence for the Word of God. Havah is a novel with boundless imagination.”

Eric Wilson, author of Field of Blood, Fireproof, and Flywheel

“...introduces us to a gloriously human Eve who reflects the strength and beauty of any woman or man who truly hungers for the presence of God.”
--Meredith Efken, author of SAHM I Am and Play it Again, SAHM

Praise for Tosca Lee’s First Novel
Demon: A Memoir

“A stunning work of pure genius.”
--Wanda Winters-Gutierrez, author of The Search for Peace

“The most creative, mind-twisting novel of this summer.”

“A powerful, discerning tale that will have fans pondering their own deals with the demons.”
--Midwest Book Review

“A must have that’ll haunt the reader long after the last page”

--Press & Sun-Bulletin, Greater Binghampton, NY

ABOUT TOSCA LEE: Tosca M. Lee is a sought-after speaker, consultant, and writer. She received her BA in English and international relations from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, with special studies at Oxford University. She holds the titles of Mrs. Nebraska-America ‘96, Mrs. Nebraska-United States ‘98, and first
runner-up to Mrs. United States. Tosca has appeared on radio and television to promote women’s charities, health, and family causes.

To arrange an appearance by Tosca Lee at your next event, schedule a media interview, or obtain a copy of Havah: The Story of Eve, call:
Rebeca Seitz at (615) 986-9516 or email

A few words with tosca lee...
Q: First demons, now Eve. How do you decide what topics to write about?

A: I like examining conventional wisdom and staple stories that have become woven into the fabric of our culture so thoroughly as to be taken for granted in a new light. I don’t like comic-booky characters, villains or protagonists—whether they be red-horned demons or, in Eve’s case, unthinking innocents. Neither demons, humans, or God are that two-dimensional.

Q: Telling the story of the world’s first woman is a pretty big risk. How did you handle the fear that Christians might be offended with your interpretation of Eve?

A: I honestly haven’t been worried about it. First, because it’s fiction and therefore 80% speculation. Scripture gives us very little to work with. But second, because it is built on as firm a theological, scriptural, and historical foundation as I could piece together. In some cases, I consulted Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphic texts for ideas and then made an artistic call. For other aspects of the story (i.e., whether Adam was with her when she ate the fruit, who was more culpable for their downfall—Adam, or Eve?), there are strong theological debates or several possible meanings. All I could do was examine the evidence and positions of others and go with what either made the most sense to me, in my studies, or best served the story. I want to tell you that the English translation does the story little justice. Within the original Hebrew, layered against the historical and religious context of the time in which Genesis was first recorded, are myriad layers of rich meaning and nuance lost in our simple English translation as read by modern minds. At the risk of sounding like a theological junkie, I’d encourage anyone interested in Genesis, the story of Adam and Eve, or Judeo-Christian studies to go deeper.

Q: Examining scriptures and their impact on gender issues is very important to you. Why is that?

A: I believe those who consult scriptures for guidelines on daily living have a moral obligation to delve deeper than their standard English translation. The (often erroneous) interpretation of Eve’s place in creation, her downfall, and subsequent gender identity as interpreted by translated text in the context of modern readers has reverberated throughout history with disastrous consequences for women—ranging from simple subjugation to justification for abuse. It continues today, both in and outside the church.

Q: What techniques did you use for getting “inside the head” of Eve?

A: For Eve before the fall, I tried to think of the most altruistic and Hedonistic pleasures I’ve ever enjoyed in total innocence and bliss. Food. Sex. Stretching the limits of an athletic body. Knowledge. Discovery. Communion with God. Communion with another human. With nature and animals. For Eve after the fall…. I was married for 14 years. I drew on some of that. I drew on every emotion I’ve experienced in relation to my imperfect relationship with a perfect God, with other humans whose ways of thinking maddened me because of their contrast to my way of thinking. Joy, frustration, resignation, hope, rage. Despite Eve’s obviously different circumstances, I wanted to highlight the similarity of her emotional life with ours.

Q: The title of the story is Havah, yet Adam’s wife was Eve. Where does Havah come from?

A: Havah is the non-transliterated name for Eve—the Hebrew name for her. I’ve drawn on non-transliterated names for her family members as well in this rendering, mostly to help escape the cliché images that spring to mind when one hears “Adam and Eve,” or “Cain and Abel.” The one name that remains mostly the same is Adam’s, as “Ha-adam” meant merely “man from the (red) earth.” Though we are told Eve’s proper name in the Genesis account, we are never given a proper name for Adam. He was literally… “The Man.”

Q: What kinds of sources did you draw on to write this book?

A: Three resources I found to be invaluable: Amy-Jill Levine’s lectures on the Old Testament (The Teaching
Company, 2001); Genesis, Robert Alter, ed. (Norton, 1996); and The Bible as It Was, James L. Kugel, (Belknap, 1997).
Other sources that never left my desk: The Jewish Study Bible (Tanakh translation, Oxford University Press, 1999); Word Biblical Commentary: Vol. 1, Genesis 1–15, Gordon Wenham (Word, 1987); The Pentateuch as Narrative, John Sailhamer (Zondervan, 1992); The New International Commentary on the Old Testament: The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, Victor Hamilton (Eerdmans, 1990). References of additional interest: Biography: Adam and Eve (A&E Home Video, 2005); The Learning Channel’s “In Search of Eden” (2002); A&E’s Mysteries of the Bible: Cain and Abel (1996); A Biblical Case for an Old Earth by David Snoke (Baker, 2006); Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphic texts, including The Apocalypse of Moses, The Book of Jubilees, The Books of Adam, and the Midrash.

Q: The story of Eve in the Bible leaves a lot of unanswered questions. Where did her children’s spouses come from? What was the mark of Cain? Why would God put a tree in the garden if they weren’t supposed to eat from it anyway? How many kids did Adam and Eve have? How did you come up with the answers to these age-old mysteries surrounding this first family?

A: There are so many things we simply cannot know: the location of the garden, the number of Adam and Eve’s children, the population at the time of Adam’s death, if Adam and Eve were faithful to each other, how long they lived in the garden before the fall, what the infamous fruit was, the age of Abel when he was killed, the location or meaning of Nod, how long Eve lived, and what manner of adopted or natural law by which they would have lived in an age before religious or legal codes… I admit, I left the writing of this book with more questions than which I began it. The solutions presented in my rendering of Adam and Eve are either those that seem most consistent with natural law, human nature, or make the most biological and scientific sense based on scripture and speculation (i.e. assuming that Eve lived a lifespan similar to Adam’s and that the ratio of fertile years in her life was consistent with a lifespan similar to ours, it isn’t unrealistic that she could have had some 50+ children).
Some questions were more easy to answer: why would God put a tree in the garden and then tell Adam not to eat from it? Well, we know there is no true morality if you do not have the option to choose ill. Who did Kayin/Cain marry? Assuming that God created original humans with a perfect gene pool, it’s entirely plausible for a man to marry his sister. But the mark of Kayin? Who knows! Speculation ranges from brands to a dog that followed him in his wanderings, to his becoming an albino. So there, I had to get creative.

Q: A surprising part of the story is your revelation of the effects eating the forbidden fruit had on Adam and Eve’s marriage. What were those effects and how did you illustrate the difference?

A: Well, let me tell you that it’s a lot easier to write about a normal, imperfect marriage than a perfect one. Because I have experience with one and not the other. When Eve ate the fruit, it ruined perfection. Everything was affected—her relationship with God, with Adam, with the animals, with the earth. She could no longer know the mind of God. She no longer had
perfect communion—and communication—with Adam. The animals, once her friends, were alienated
and turned against them. Perfection is ruined. Adam and Eve’s relationship struggles. Adam and Eve struggle to live their
harsher new existence in a fallen world. One son kills another.

Q: How did you keep this from being a tragic tale?

A: It is a tragedy. Everything is ruined. Hearts are broken. Everyone dies. But without that tragedy, there would be no reason for hope of redemption. And that’s what Havah really is: the story of hope—a looking forward to the day that all is made somehow, impossibly, right again.

Q: You’ve received many comments about the sensual imagery of this retelling—Havah’s description even includes a “contains mature imagery” note on some bookseller sites. Why did you choose to make it sensual, and what is your response to those

A: I wanted something juice-running-down-the-chin sumptuous—sumptuous language, imagery, and speculation that a reader could really sink his or her teeth into. I’m actually surprised that so much attention has been placed on the sensuality of Adam and Eve’s relationship. There’s no explicit sex in the novel. But is there sex? Well, we know Adam and Eve did it at least a few times, don’t we? In fact, I’m sure that pre-fall they really enjoyed themselves. And even though I represent it as another aspect of their relationship that was less perfect after the fall, I believe it brought a level of comfort and familiarity
in their new and uncertain world—as it does for many couples today. While I believe it’s important to guard our minds, I also think we sometimes show unnecessary suspicion for physical beauty, for God-gifted sensuality and pleasure. As for the cover, which I hear comments about (isn’t it gorgeous?)—yes, the woman on the cover is naked. So was Eve. (And she wasn’t

Q: In the pre-fall relationship of Adam and Eve in your book, they seem to share a kind of ESP with one another, where no words are needed. Do you think this was actually possible?

A: Yes. I’ve always wondered what it must be like, assuming that humans were created physically perfect, to function at 100% capacity with a perfect brain. I’ve sometimes wondered if we were meant to have some kind of better extra-perception (we all see glimmers of intuition and extra-sensory type incidents in our lives today), but if it simply got disrupted somewhere along the line. And so part of what I gave the pre-fall Adam and Eve was perfect communion—with God, with animals, and with one another. All that goes away after the fall, however, and they are stuck having to learn to communicate verbally and physically—as we do, today.
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