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"My Brother Esau Is a Hairy Man"Hair and Identity in Ancient Israel$
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Susan Niditch

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195181142

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195181142.001.0001

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Maleness, Charisma, Warrior Status, and Hair

(p.63) 3 Samson
"My Brother Esau Is a Hairy Man"

Susan Niditch (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the nexus in Israelite culture between maleness, charisma, warrior status, and hair. Central to this chapter is a close reading of tales in Judges 13–16 about the superhero Samson, a Nazirite from birth. Themes of us versus them, Israelite versus Philistine, are in part created by images of hair. The chapter also includes a close philological analysis of Judges 5:2, an important line about warriors in an ancient poem, and a study of the long-haired, would-be hero Absalom, ambitious and rebellious son of King David, whose hair suggests charisma only to become a source and symbol of his undoing.

Keywords:   maleness, charisma, holiness, warrior, hair, Samson, Philistine, Nazirite, Absalom

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