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David, Saul, and GodRediscovering an Ancient Story$
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Paul Borgman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195331608

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331608.001.0001

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David and God, Odysseus and Athene: Character and Moral Universe

(p.221) Conclusion
David, Saul, and God

Paul Borgman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

For Homer's audience, the resourceful Odysseus—“known before all men for the study of crafty designs”—is predictable, always the same, always on brilliant display. David, on the other hand, remains mysterious to the story's audience for great portions of the narrative, acting often in a surprising manner. The biblical writer develops character; the Homeric writer demonstrates character. The divine in each story play roles appropriate to each hero, while reflecting their authors' respective sense of character and moral universe. In fact, the relationship of hero to the divine has much to do with the diametrically opposed characterizations of David and Odysseus within their respective stories, and the gulf between implied moral universes. Because of the goddess Athene, Odysseus becomes more of what he has always been. Because of the biblical God, on the other hand, David changes, becoming known to others—and to himself—only as the story unfolds. David and Odysseus inhabit worlds that could not be more different. A brief exploration of notable cave scenes from their respective stories helps to shine a spotlight on the complexity of David, of his God, and of the relationship between the two.

Keywords:   Homer's audience, Odysseus, David, surprising manner, moral universe, Athene, biblical God, cave scenes

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