Not Everything Is a Charging Boar

The signal achievement of Genesis is to find heroism not just on the field of battle—where Odysseus, too, excels—but on the hardscrabble ground of everyday life.

A tapestry depicting Odysseus on a hunt by an unknown artist from a 17th-century Brussels workshop. Wikimedia.

A tapestry depicting Odysseus on a hunt by an unknown artist from a 17th-century Brussels workshop. Wikimedia.

Observation
May 4 2022
About the author

Jacob Howland is McFarlin professor of philosophy (emeritus) at the University of Tulsa. His research focuses on ancient Greek philosophy, history, epic, and tragedy; the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud; Kierkegaard; and literary and philosophical responses to the Holocaust and Soviet totalitarianism.

This essay is the fifth in a six-part series by Jacob Howland on Homer and the Hebrew Bible. Historians of Western intellectual culture sometimes compare “Jerusalem,” or the biblical traditions that erupt into history at Sinai, with “Athens,” the city where Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle sought human wisdom through the exercise of the human mind. In this series, Howland invites a different comparison. Rather than comparing later prophets to philosophers, he looks back at yet earlier cultural cornerstones set at the very foundations of Hebraic and Greek civilizations. The final installment in Howland’s series will arrive next month. —The Editors

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More about: Arts & Culture, Hebrew Bible, History & Ideas, Homer