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Described variously as divinely appointed “mighty warrior, " fearful son, hesitant solider, clever tactician, commanding father, ruthless killer, and, perhaps, idolater and illegitimate king, the character of Gideon from the biblical book of Judges has long challenged readers. Why are there so many conflicting portraits of Gideon? What might these different portraits tell us about the authors and editors of Gideon’s story, especially in how men were or are expected to act? By interweaving redaction criticism, reception history, and masculinity studies, Rewriting Masculinity: Gideon, Men, and Might explores how Gideon went from mighty warrior to weakling, from successful leader to a man who led Israel astray. This volume considers the ways older traditions about Gideon were rewritten at key moments in ancient Israel’s history, then how later interpreters also rewrote Gideon to match their own models for men, might, and masculinity. This in-depth case study emphasizes the importance of reading the biblical story and its many expansions alongside the reception history of the narrative to better understand how Gideon is, in many ways, the story of masculinity in miniature: an ever-changing, always-in-crisis, constantly transforming ideal.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages228
ISBN (Electronic)9780190619398
ISBN (Print)9780190619411
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Gideon
  • book of Judges
  • gender
  • masculinity
  • reception history
  • redaction criticism


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