CBC Interview: The Woman Who Named God
This was my first opportunity to talk about the new book.You can listen to it here — CBC INTERVIEW. I focused on the essential elements of the story — Hagar’s bravery, Sarah’s intelligence, Abraham’s divided loyalties, the dark history of the conflict between the two women, and the hope that by grappling with these complexities we can work toward peace. I also spoke about how this story began as a personal obsession. I re-read the Biblical passages and studied the commentary as part of my own attempt to untangle the many problematic differences I had encountered in modern religious traditions. Also, I was interested in grappling with history of women in the Bible and the Koran. However, the moment we sent troops into Iraq, I realized that I had to tell this story in a more public forum, because right there, in modern Baghdad, the Sarah/Hagar conflict was being re-enacted: the sons of Sarah were battling the sons of Hagar — and no one seemed to realize it. My hope is that by re-telling the story, we can work toward understanding its many complexities and thereby achieve some kind of redemption. After all, all three monotheistic religions trace their heritage to this family, even though we are so different from one another. And, interestingly enough, the Bible tells us that Isaac and Ishmael, the sons of Hagar and Sarah never contributed to this violent legacy. They come together to bury their father, shoulder to shoulder. There is hope, then, in the tale. The brothers do not continue the quarrel of their mothers. Instead, they work together in peace.