David and God, Odysseus and Athene: Character and Moral Universe
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.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.