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The Looks of a Hero: Some Aspects of Samson in Fine Arts

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Chapter Summary

The story of Samson has inspired in the course of time many artists to produce examples of what J. Cheryl Exum calls 'the fruitfulness of allowing for a mutual influence between the Bible and the arts. This paper describes some of these paintings and illustrates that Exum rightly states 'that artistic interpretations can influence biblical interpretation in unexpected ways'. It is interesting to look at the many works of art based on the stories in Judges 13-16 from a specific point of view: was Samson represented as a good-looking man? Some paintings also attract the attention by the way they picture how Samson looked at the moment he realizes that he is betrayed by Delilah. It comes as no surprise that in most paintings and drawings Samson is pictured not only as a strong man, but also according to the fashion of the day as a handsome man.

Keywords: Bible; Delilah; fine arts; J. Cheryl Exum; Samson

10.1163/9789004262362_014
/content/books/b9789004262362_014
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