The Red Tent

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"Diamant vividly conjures up the ancient world of caravans, farmers, midwives, slaves, and artisans . . . her Dinah is a compelling narrator that has timeless resonance".--Merle Rubin, "Christian Science Monitor".

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Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions from Publisher's Reading Guide:
1. Read Genesis 34 and discuss how The Red Tent changes your perspective on Dinah’s story and also on the story of Joseph that follows. Does The Red Tent raise questions about other women in the Bible? Does it make you want to re-read the Bible and imagine other untold stories that lay hidden between the lines?

2. Discuss the marital dynamics of Jacob’s family. He has four wives; compare his relationship with each woman?

3. What do you make of the relationships among the four wives?

4. Dinah is rich in "mothers." Discuss the differences or similarities in her relationship with each woman.

5. Childbearing and childbirth are central to The Red Tent. How do the fertility childbearing and birthing practices differ from contemporary life? How are they similar? How do they compare with your own experiences as a mother or father?

6. Discuss Jacob’s role as a father. Does he treat Dinah differently from his sons? Does he feel differently about her? If so, how?

7. Discuss Dinah’s twelve brothers. Discuss their relationships with each other, with Dinah, and with Jacob and his four wives. Are they a close family?

8. Female relationships figure largely in The Red Tent. Discuss the importance of Inna, Tabea, Werenro, and Meryt.

9. In the novel, Rebecca is presented as an Oracle. Goddesses are venerated along with gods. What do you think of this culture, in which the Feminine has not yet been totally divorced from the Divine? How does El, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, fit into this?

10. Dinah’s point of view is often one of an outsider, an observer. What effect does this have on the narrative? What effect does this have on the reader?

11. The book travels from Haran (contemporary Iraq/Syria), through Canaan and into Shechem (Israel), and into Egypt. What strikes you about the cultural differences Dinah encounters vis-à-vis food, clothing, work, and male-female relationships.

12. In The Red Tent, we see Dinah grow from childhood to old age. Discuss how she changes and matures. What lessons does she learn from life? If you had to pick a single word to describe the sum of her life, what word would you choose? How would Dinah describe her own life experience?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "The Red Tent"by Tamara F. (see profile) 04/15/16

I would have given it 2.5 stars if that was an option. It was interesting to read how the women lived in the book. The book was to long and and repetitive especialily the first part of the story.

  "The Red Tent"by ELAINE R. (see profile) 11/27/15

  "the red tent"by Dot M. (see profile) 10/01/15

Gave me an insight into the era and a better understanding of the realities of the people.

by Jane M. (see profile) 09/30/15

  "The Red Tent"by Rosalie H. (see profile) 05/20/15

Difficult to get into the book due to the so many biblical names but after getting past that, found the history and story line very interesting for the times.

by ELIZABETH V. (see profile) 04/25/15

The concept of this book is a good one: fill in the missing details of a bible story, in this case, the story of Jacob and his family as told by his daughter Dinah. But there were problems w... (read more)

by Liza L. (see profile) 04/21/15

by Melissa H. (see profile) 05/20/14

  "Loved it."by Carol D. (see profile) 07/12/13

Read it twice. Great book.

  "The Red Tent"by Phyllis L. (see profile) 09/13/12

The Red Tent is the feminist perspective of the story of Dinah in the Old Testament. The book tells a wonderful tale of the voices that are missing from the Bible: the voices of Dinah and her mothers.... (read more)

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