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Samson and Heracles Revisited

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In the past scholars have suspected that Greek legends about Heracles and other Greek narratives may have influenced the emergence of the Samson narratives in Judges 13-16. Usually Philistine mediation of these Heracles legends to the Israelites in the pre-monarchic era was suggested. However, the author suggests that the Heracles legends arose in the sixth century BCE and later, so the biblical author could have encountered Greek stories only in the Persian or Hellenistic eras. The Samson narratives then would be a late redaction into the Deuteronomistic History. The author believes that the large number of similarities indicates not simply familiarity with general folkloristic motifs, but rather that the author of the Samson narratives was familiar with the Heracles legends.
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Keywords: Heracles; Hercules; Judges; Philistines; Samson

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Religious Studies, Loyola University, 6363 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA, 70131, USA

Publication date: January 2, 2018

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