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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Poetic Heroes: Literary Commemorations of Warriors and Warrior Culture in the Early Biblical World
Smith, Mark S.

Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014 pp. xxiv + 636. $55.00


Description: Warfare exerts a magnetic power, even a terrible attraction, in its emphasis on glory, honor, and duty. In order to face the terror of war, it is necessary to face how our biblical traditions have made it attractive ó even alluring. In this book Mark Smith undertakes an extensive exploration of "poetic heroes" across a number of ancient cultures in order to understand the attitudes of those cultures toward war and warriors. Smith examines the Iliad and the Gilgamesh; Ugaritic poems commemorating Baal, Aqhat, and the Rephaim; and early biblical poetry, including the battle hymn of Judges 5 and the lament of David over Saul and Jonathan in 2 Samuel 1. Smith's Poetic Heroes analyzes the importance of heroic poetry in early Israel and its disappearance after the time of David, building on several strands of scholarship in archaeological research, poetic analysis, and cultural reconstruction.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Historical Books, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, Poetics

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Review by Gregory Mobley
Published 2/8/2016
Citation: Gregory Mobley, review of Mark S. Smith, Poetic Heroes: Literary Commemorations of Warriors and Warrior Culture in the Early Biblical World, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2016).


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