Gary Leupp: Revisiting the Tale of Samson
...Many Israelis like to present their nation to the world as little David, the shepherd boy who will be king, confronting Goliath of Gath, the Philistine giant, through the grace of God felling him with a stone from a slingshot.
I suggest another image: Israel as Samson. Wild, irrational, thuggish, untamed, covetous, given to religious obsessions, the incredible hulk able to carry away the city gates of Gaza but ultimately vulnerable. The really scary thing about Samson is that, filled with self-pity and self-righteousness even after committing atrocities against so many Philistines, he’s prepared to kill an additional 3000 and himself by bringing down the great hall on top of everyone’s head.
Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct Professor of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's merciless chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades.
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