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Samson's Body Politic

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image of Biblical Interpretation

Samson both leads and represents Israel, a point conveyed by the position of his story in the book of Judges. The pericope both concludes the series of judges that gives the book its title and renarrates the whole. In Judges, the theopolitical takes center stage as Israel seeks to realize the ancestral promises yet rejects the identity as a distinctive people belonging to Yhwh that serves as the fundamental condition of those promises. This article uses a literary-theological approach to explore the way in which Samson lives out this struggle in his very person. By dramatizing Israel's ambivalence toward Yhwh and conflicting attitudes toward the inhabitants of the land, the Samson story manages to probe more deeply into the complexities of the situation and present a more nuanced and powerful picture than the book's summative statements.

Affiliations: 1: Elon University;, Email:


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