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Of Valour and Strength: The Samson Cycle in Josephus’ work: Jewish Antiquities 5.276–317

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Chapter Summary

Josephus' Samson cycle follows the elements of the story in Judges quite closely: Samson's birth after the message of an angel, the riddle with the lion and the honey, Samson's arson, his thirst, Delilah's betrayal and Samson's death by his own doing. Only is the placing of the story slightly different because of a shift Josephus made. The consequence of this shift is that the Samson story concludes Josephus' rendering of Judges and is directly followed by his account of the book of Ruth. This chapter argues that these differences are connected to the way Josephus wants to portray Samson. It discusses the major differences one by one, followed by a theory on Josephus' handling of the Samson cycle and his portrayal of Samson. The chapter deals with a recent academic debate on the issue of Josephus' portrait of Samson. To Josephus, Samson is a brave character from Jewish history.

Keywords: Delilah; Jewish history; Josephus; Samson cycle



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