We like and even need heroes whether they are real people or figures from literature. They are examples of right living, and the most enduring heroes are the ones who are most human, the ones that remind us of ourselves. Whether ancient or modern or real or fictional, heroes set a pace and serve as an example by how they live their lives to overcome strife and obstacles.
Elliott Rabin has given us a thorough examination of some heroes in his The Biblical Hero (The Jewish Publication Society, 2020). Rabin examines the lives of Moses, Samson, Esther, Abraham, Jacob, David, and God. He concludes his fine book with a chapter on The Biblical Hero Today.
Rabin’s choices of Old Testament lives is, on one hand, to be expected. After all, how could one write about heroes in any time or culture without writing of Moses, but I wish he had omitted Samson who I see as a spoiled gifted child who did more harm than good.
However, Rabin places all his chosen heroes in the light of other heroes from literature to illustrate their humanity and weaknesses and strengths. When the reader sees Abraham compared with Odysseus, he or she is given a broad stroke by which to understand them fuller. After all, viewed in one way, these Biblical people are just more literary figures to be studied and followed. Rabin gives us a fine study, one that informs as well as entertains