The Bible’s had a busy year in Hollywood—from Noah in February to Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings this December. So perhaps it’s unsurprising that this would be the year Lifetime chose to adapt The Red Tent, Anita Diamant’s 1997 novel about the Old Testament character of Dinah, into a TV miniseries.
When Hollywood ventures into sacred waters, Christians often aren’t excited about the result. Attempts to convey Biblical narratives many times result in strong reactions and critique: either the adaptations aren’t true to the source material, or the characters aren’t behaving like good Biblical characters should.
The Red Tent is no exception. Diamant, the book’s author, has faced accusations of blasphemy for her imaginative departure from the events of Genesis 34.
If you’re struggling to remember Dinah’s story, that’s likely because there’s not a lot there. It’s told in a single chapter. Dinah, the daughter of the patriarch Jacob and his first wife Leah, is violated by a city ruler, Shechem. His later request to marry her results in her brothers’ demands that the males of the entire city circumcise themselves. Driven by Shechem’s persuasions, the men agree to do so, and while they are physically recovering, Dinah’s brothers slaughter the city in revenge.
Although the episode is sometimes read as a rape, Diamant saw something else in the story. “[The prince] doesn’t act like a rapist. He submits to what was then a very humiliating request in order to marry Dinah,” she says. Diamant used that discrepancy as a departure, reimagining the event as a love story, in which Dinah and the prince fall in ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
Stepping into 'The Red Tent'
This slideshow is only available for subscribers.
Please log in or subscribe to view the slideshow.