I’d love to tell you that I can pronounce friggatriskaidekaphobia, but let’s be real. At least I know it means fear of Friday the 13th. Since we’re a history blog, let’s look at why this date is so vilified – and has been for centuries.
Legend has it that Eve handed Adam that dastardly little piece of fruit on Friday the 13th. Well, yeah, that wasn’t a good move, but there was no known calendar when Adam and Eve frolicked in the Garden.
Another legend says that the Temple of Solomon was desecrated on Friday the 13th. Ignore the fact that the calendar of that time was not the same as what we use today, that was a history-changing event.
Many people believe that Jesus was crucified on Friday the 13th. Since that’s Good Friday, I think we can cancel it out. Even if it was on the 13th, let’s agree that having a Savior isn’t a bad thing.
Probably the best-known legend is that the Knights Templar were rounded up by France’s King Philip IV on Friday, October 13, 1307. After being tortured and forced to confess to all sorts of evils, the survivors were burned at the stake. Okay, that one’s in the ghastly column. Egads! That was just 710 years ago today!
Let’s look at some more recent events that happened on Oct. 13ths:
1775 – The Continental Navy began.
1792 – The cornerstone of the White House was laid.
1845 – Texas ratified a state constitution.
1943 – Italy declared war on Germany.
1950 – Jimmy Stewart starred in Harvey. (Disclaimer: This is one of my favorite movies.)
1967 – The American Basketball Assn. debuted.
2010 – Chilean miners were rescued after 69 days underground.
On balance, I’d say there have been more good events than bad events on this day in history … so don’t be afraid to venture forth and enjoy the day!
NOVEL PASTIMES: Greetings! We are so happy to have you answering questions for readers today. What an honor to meet and talk with one of the most-mentioned women of the early Church. But, to begin, I’m a little confused about your name. What can we call you?
PRISCILLA OF ROME: My friends call me Priscilla. Pet name, like Betty for Elizabeth.
NOVEL PASTIMES: What is your proper name, then?
PRISCILLA OF ROME: Priska. Old family name, and you can go to Rome even in your century and see the catacombs and tomb complex that my family built. Still there. Here’s a painting on one tomb. Some say it’s me.
NOVEL PASTIMES: Definitely an aristocrat with all the privileges thereof! I’ve read about you in the Bible. What an extraordinary thing! You taught one of the most learned men of your time, Apollos. And the times your name is mentioned with your husband’s in Scripture, you’re listed first in the majority of cases. Wow. That’s very unusual for the ancient world.
PRISCILLA OF ROME: Yes, those things are true.
NOVEL PASTIMES: Could you expand on that?
PRISCILLA OF ROME: No, pretty much the facts.
NOVEL PASTIMES: You are a tent maker, and you’ve worked with Paul?
PRISCILLA OF ROME: And with my husband, Aquila. All tent makers.
NOVEL PASTIMES: You, uh, seem to be a woman of few words.
PRISCILLA OF ROME: Actually, I’m a woman of many words. One good thing I’ve learned in my life is not to say them all.
NOVEL PASTIMES: Well, this may be a short interview, then.
PRISCILLA OF ROME: Suit yourself.
NOVEL PASTIMES: But I’ve read some of the things you’ve written about in the Epistle to the Hebrews! Such imagery! Such regal language! You have debated with some of the greatest minds of your time. The philosopher Philo. And apostles like Peter and Paul. And your classical education and training and vocabulary—it all shows up in your writing. Surely you can dispense some of that wisdom for us!
PRISCILLA OF ROME: Wisdom? I only know what the Holy Breath taught me.
NOVEL PASTIMES: Now, we’re getting somewhere! You’ve had conversations with the Holy Spirit?
PRISCILLA OF ROME: Well, the ones at first I wouldn’t call conversations. More like ambushes.
NOVEL PASTIMES: But it produced Scripture, right?
PRISCILLA OF ROME: You read Greek?
NOVEL PASTIMES: Not really.
PRISCILLA OF ROME: When Peter says that prophecy and revelation happen when people are “moved along” by the Holy Breath, it’s like a typhoon driving a sailboat. That’s how you get Scripture, as you call it.
NOVEL PASTIMES: But I think of the Holy Spirit as gentle, comforting.
PRISCILLA OF ROME: You do, do you? How about how He literally picked up poor Ezekiel, and later my friend Philip, and dumped them miles away? And what He did to Jesus – Mark says He drove Jesus out in to the wilderness, like a bouncer throwing somebody out of a bar.
NOVEL PASTIMES: Are you sure about that?
PRISCILLA OF ROME: Look it up. Get somebody to help you with the Greek.
NOVEL PASTIMES: Okay. Why do you call Him Holy “Breath” instead of Holy “Spirit”?
PRISCILLA OF ROME: Same word in Greek.
NOVEL PASTIMES: We’re back to few words.
PRISCILLA OF ROME: I guess Paul and I have that in common. We can write, but conversationalists — not so much.
NOVEL PASTIMES: Look, there are so many scholars that believe you, Priscilla, wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews. And that the explanation of why it’s seemed anonymous for so many years is that it was because a woman wrote it.
PRISCILLA OF ROME: I myself tried to get rid of the scrolls I wrote on. But people memorized it because they believed it was Scripture, so then they wrote it out again.
NOVEL PASTIMES: Really? Why would you do get rid of them?
PRISCILLA OF ROME: You think it is easy living in a world where people are healed all around you, but not the people most important to me? Where a Holy Spirit takes over your life and you write what He says? There’s a reason, I found out, why the Old Testament prophets called communication from God, the prophecies, “burdens.”
NOVEL PASTIMES: Are you saying you wouldn’t do it all over again?
PRISCILLA OF ROME: One thing is worth it. And that is Jesus Christ. He is everything. And He’s better than anyone, ever.
NOVEL PASTIMES: Can you expand on that?
PRISCILLA OF ROME: Yes. Here’s how the Breath and I conspired to put it:
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.For to which of the angels did God ever say,“ You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”?
NOVEL PASTIMES: Yes. Yes. Amen.
PRISCILLA OF ROME: Any other questions?
NOVEL PASTIMES: I think that pretty well covers it!
Book description: In a richly-textured, controversial and provocative literary work, award-winning author Latayne C. Scott examines: What would it have been like to be a woman, a Gentile, and someone onto whom the Holy Breath moved – to produce what became the mysterious Epistle to the Hebrews in the Bible?
Latayne C. Scott is the author of about two dozen books, most of them controversial. Her first book, The Mormon Mirage (Zondervan), is a nonfiction that has stayed in print through various revisions for almost 40 years. Her first novel, Latter-day Cipher (Moody) is a murder mystery, and her latest book, A Conspiracy of Breath (TSU Press) is stirring up discussion too. She blogs at Latayne.com, and you can find her on Facebook as Latayne C. Scott.
I understand you two are the main protagonists in With Music in Their Hearts. Could you describe each other for readers please?
Tyrell Walker: The first thing that struck me about Emma Jaine Rayner was her hair and color-changing eyes. That red hair certainly goes along with her personality! Spunky, as well as caring, smart and a hard worker, she’s been called bossy by her sisters. The fact is she has a good reason to be. When the sisters’ mother died, Emma Jaine stepped in to care for them and her father. Starting a boarding home was a good idea too. It keeps her busy and provides needed housing for those needing it during WWII. It’s too bad I suspected her—reluctantly—as a spy.
Emma Jaine Rayner:
Tyrell is definitely a tease. At first, he was very annoying with his self-assurance, but as I got to know him better, and once I got over what I thought of as a love affair with a budding actress in my boarding house, I realized his worth. He was gentlemanly, fun to be with, a good cook—smile—and a wonderful preacher and Christian. I’m so glad he showed up in my life.
Tyrell, why didn’t you enlist for service during WWII?
Tyrell: That’s still a sore topic for me. But even though I was rejected for service, I was asked to serve as a civilian spy and specifically in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sometimes it seemed as though it was harder than enduring the hardships of fighting the enemy overseas because I couldn’t let anyone know what was going on. I had to keep my spying secret, and I knew others wondered at my non-service.
Emma Jaine, why did you open a boarding house in your family’s home? Didn’t that make for an awkward situation at times?
Emma Jaine: I longed to do more for my country, and with our big house, it seemed appropriate to provide housing for those needing it during this time period. I insisted on it being a homey place, with music—my sisters and I all love music—books and arts and as little conflict as possible. For the most part it worked fine.
Emma Jaine, what did you think of Bette Williams?
Emma Jaine: Oh, dear, must I answer this one? All right. She wasn’t a very likeable person, but I tried to do what Tyrell urged me to do: pray about her, which didn’t seem to do much good. I do understand she was a girl all alone in a big city and not very successful in getting her acting career going, so I could forgive her for some of her actions.
And, Tyrell, what about you? How did it make you feel when you saw Hamilton Blake courting Emma Jaine?
Tyrell: Grrr. He was such a loser, so built up with his own personal worth, I found it hard to like, let alone get along with him, well, I would hardly call us best friends. Still, I suppose women found him attractive enough.
Now, a fun question for you both: who was/is your favorite boarding house guest?
Emma Jaine (laughing): That’s easy. I love Gertie Hanover. Outspoken and seemingly rich—we’ll probably never know the truth about that!—she’s a fun person. She brooks no stupidity and dislikes petty people, but she has a good heart and is faithful to church even if she does like to sit in front and wear large hats that prevent the view for those behind her.
Tyrell: And my favorites are the Rayner sisters, Josie and Claire. I had no siblings, so taking an interest in Emma Jaine’s family is a special favor to me. They’re both so interesting and vocal, in their own ways, about their special talents and others’ opinions. I find them quite entertaining.
Could you give us a brief excerpt from your book?
Both: Love to!
And one last thing. Would you two share the blurb for your book and a link to buy the book?
Both chorus together: Sure.
Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. Across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, a spy working for a foreign country is stealing secret plans for newly developed ammunition to be used in the war. According to his FBI cousin, this spy favors pink stationery giving strong indications that a woman is involved.
He’s instructed to obtain a room in the Rayner Boarding House run by the lovely, spunky red-haired Emma Jaine Rayner. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between them immediately even as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.
While Tyrell searches for the murdering spy who reaches even into the boarding home, Emma Jaine struggles with an annoying renter, a worried father (who could be involved in this spy thing), and two younger sisters who are very different but just as strong willed as she is.
As Tyrell works to keep his double life a secret and locate the traitor, he refuses to believe that Emma Jaine could be involved even when he sees a red-haired woman in the arms of another man. Could the handsome and svelte banker who’s also determined to win Emma Jaine’s hand for marriage, be the dangerous man he’s looking for? Is the trouble-making renter who hassles Emma Jaine serving as a flunky? Worse, is Papa Rayner so worried about his finances and keeping his girls in the style they’re used to, that he’ll stoop to espionage?
Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?
Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?
We will be posting lots of character interviews from some of your favorite historical novels. This behind-the-scenes look will give readers more insight into the characters and should be lots of fun!
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