The Biblical Hero: Portraits in Nobility and Fallibility by Elliott Rabin
Approaching the Bible in an original way—comparing biblical heroes to heroes in world literature—Elliott Rabin addresses a core biblical question: What is the Bible telling us about what it means to be a hero?
Focusing on the lives of six major biblical characters—Moses, Samson, David, Esther, Abraham, and Jacob—Rabin examines their resemblance to hero types found in (and perhaps drawn from) other literatures and analyzes why the Bible depicts its heroes less gloriously than do the texts of other cultures:
- Moses founds the nation of Israel—and is short-tempered and weak-armed.
- Samson, arrogant and unhinged, can kill a thousand enemies with his bare hands.
- David establishes a centralized, unified, triumphal government—through pretense and self-deception.
- Esther saves her people but marries a murderous, misogynist king.
- Abraham’s relationships are wracked with tension.
- Jacob fathers twelve tribes—and wins his inheritance through deceit.
In the end, is God the real hero? Or is God too removed from human constraints to even be called a “hero”?
Ultimately, Rabin excavates how the Bible’s unique perspective on heroism can address our own deep-seated need for human-scale heroes.
Year first published: 2020
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