About the Book
Approaching the Bible in an original way—comparing biblical heroes to heroes in world literature—Elliott Rabin addresses core biblical questions: What is the Bible telling us about what it means to be a hero? Why do we need such heroes, possibly now more than ever?
Zooming into 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 other cultures:
* Samson can kill 1,000 enemies with his bare hands—and is arrogant and unhinged.
* Esther saves her people from a genocidal villain—and has married a murderous, misogynist king.
* Abraham is God’s close companion—and his human relationships are wracked with tension.
* Jacob fathers twelve tribes—and wins his inheritance through deceit.
* David establishes a centralized, unified, triumphal government—through pretense and self-deception.
* In the end, is God the real hero? Or is God too removed from human constraints for the “hero” appellation to apply?
Ultimately, Rabin excavates how the Bible’s unique perspective on heroism can address our own deep-seated need for human-scale heroes.
“A fascinating and deceptively accessible look at the commonalities of biblical heroes and heroines with each other and with the heroes of the more modern literary tradition (e.g., Shakespeare, Austen, Whitman, Richard Wright, and Quentin Tarantino). Rabin’s book is a witty and knowledgeable take on biblical heroism, and it is highly recommended to all readers.”–Reading Religion
— Yossi Klein Halevi, senior fellow, Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem
– Rabbi Elie Kaunfer, CEO, The Hadar Institute and author, Empowered Judaism: What Independent Minyanim Can Teach Us about Building Vibrant Jewish Communities
“The Biblical Hero offers us creative archetypes for understanding some of the most significant figures in biblical history and, arguably, Jewish life. Even more so, it opens up a critical conversation about the hero’s role in society at a time when we need heroes more than ever.” – Erica Brown, Associate Professor, George Washington School of Education and Development
“What does it mean to be a hero? In this accessible volume, Elliott Rabin explores well-known biblical figures through the cultural and literary lenses of ‘heroes’ to unpack multiple dimensions of their characters. Readers who are curious about what biblical study has to offer students of leadership, character, and human fallibility will enjoy this examination of the complex lives of some of the Bible’s key figures.” – Miriam Heller Stern, National Director, School of Education, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion