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Lion's Honey by David Grossman
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Lion's Honey (original 2005; edition 2006)

by David Grossman

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2741541,373 (3.38)32
Member:Laurenbdavis
Title:Lion's Honey
Authors:David Grossman
Info:Isis Large Print Books (2006), Edition: large type edition, Hardcover, 152 pages
Collections:Literary criticism, Mythology & fairy tale
Rating:***
Tags:None

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Lion's Honey: The Myth of Samson by David Grossman (2005)

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» See also 32 mentions

English (13)  Finnish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Wonderfully readable, perceptive and profound. Being a big fan (is that the proper terminology) of Biblical studies, this is exactly the kind of book that--if I ever stopped reading long enough and mustered the requisite ambition and discipline--I would like to write. Makes me want to read more in the Canongate Myths series, though I don't expect any to top this. Makes me want to read more Grossman, too.
If you thought Samson was simply an all-too-gullible strongman for God, let Grossman open up the relatively brief--4 chapters in the Book of Judges--story for you. It's an intense psychological study of a unique individual that has ramifications for us all. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
I was a little surprised as to what comprised this book, as I expected to find a fictional retelling after the reproduction of Judges 13-16 of the King James Bible. Instead, what follows is a detailed commentary that examines and dissects the Biblical account, using even the original language to understand the full meaning of the text, with all of its nuances and allusions. As many times that I have studied the story of Samson in church growing up, there is apparently quite a bit that I never knew about such an interesting character in Hebrew history.
As any person chosen of God to do His will, Samson is a man plagued by his destiny and how it separates him from the rest of humanity. Though chosen of God from the womb to live as a Nazarite, he is still very much human with human urges. Almost constantly at war with himself, Samson seems to set himself up to be hurt by those he puts his trust in so that he may let loose his anger and rage against those who hold his people captive -- the Philistines. Like so many modern-day psychological head cases, much of his choices are also driven by a need for that hidden something lacking in his relationship with his parents. He looks for it in the wrong places and the wrong women, even paying a visit to a prostitute. He seems to use his strength and anger with an artistic flair, first setting up a group of Philistines at his wedding with an unsolvable riddle, and later finding rather unique ways of further punishing the Philistines, such as using the jawbone of an ass to kill a thousand of them. Furthermore, every verbal account from Samson is spoken poetically.
What I found most interesting is the way that David Grossman explored the account of Samson and Delilah. He alludes that Samson in fact knew the betrayal that Delilah harbored and welcomed it in order to finally shed his God-given destiny. While he ends his life in a final act of redemption, I have to wonder if he did complete the task that God had given him to "begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines."
Despite the intense detail that David Grossman goes into when writing this study of Samson, the book is a very good read and well worth my time. ( )
  JacobsBeloved | Nov 25, 2013 |
Fascinating reflection on the story of Samson as recounted in Judges, chapters 13 - 16. Amazing how much the author manages to squeeze out of the tiniest details. ( )
  Robertgreaves | May 10, 2013 |
Grossman has not retold the myth of Samson, as other authors have done with other myths in the same series. He was written an essay of literary criticism and speculation that relies on the author's personal imagining and impressions rather than anything objectively drawn from the text. Whether or not Samson's mother and father stood beneath Samson's hands, dancing and trying to catch honey in their open mouths as he held it above their heads, for example, seems a bit fanciful, to say the least, and provides little new insight to the reader.

If Grossman was not going to actually retell the tale, I would have been much more interested to read his thoughts on how this myth relates to Israel's present view of itself, and how its symbolism compares to that of David and Goliath, for example.

Interesting, but I feel it missed the mark. ( )
  Laurenbdavis | Dec 26, 2012 |
I never liked Samson. I've said before that if the two of us meet someday in heaven, there will probably be a personality clash to end all clashes. I'm hoping that my new heavenly body won't be quite so easy to beat up.

Then I read David Grossman's little book. David carries us deep into the mind--nay, the very heart--of this ancient hero, to uncover what makes him tick. Sampson has been transformed from a turbulent, macho man into a needy, troubled misfit. A muscle-bound one, no less, which makes for an explosive combination.

I like him even less this way. I would shake Delilah's hand for uncovering his secret. No, not his long hair, but the inner child that longs to be normal, which she then carefully and deliberately manipulates.

Yeah, I'm fine with the tragic ending, Samson deserved it. Nevertheless, David's clever retelling succeeds in adding life to the myth. Kudos! David draws upon various Hebrew traditions to spice up Samson's twisted personality, then leaves the poor man without even a decent shrink. How else could the story end?

Sorry, David, I never did feel any sympathy for your guy. But I absolutely loved reading your story. ( )
  DubiousDisciple | Dec 26, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Grossmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bamberger, ShulamithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schoffman, StuartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 067697421X, Hardcover)

A consideration of one of the Bible’s most powerful stories from a leading Israeli writer In this fascinating reexamination of the story of Samson, David Grossman goes beyond the surface of the familiar tale to look into what the life of this extraordinary man must have been like. What it felt like to have been “chosen” to release his people from the yoke of the Philistines, and yet alienated from them by his very otherness; what moved him to his acts of wild vandalism and his self-destructive passions; why he chose to keep some things secret, but not the most significant secret of all. We are left with the troubling knowledge that Samson bore too heavy a burden even for a man of his supernatural strength to bear alone.

“There are few other Bible stories with so much drama and action, narrative fireworks and raw emotion, as we find in the tale of Samson: the battle with the lion; the three hundred burning foxes; the women he bedded and the one woman that he loved; his betrayal by all the women in his life, from his mother to Delilah; and, in the end, his murderous suicide, when he brought the house down on himself and three thousand Philistines. Yet beyond the wild impulsiveness, the chaos, the din, we can make out a life story that is, at bottom, the tortured journey of a single, lonely and turbulent soul who never found, anywhere, a true home in the world, whose very body was a harsh place of exile. For me, this discovery, this recognition, is the point at which the myth – for all its grand images, its larger-than-life adventures – slips silently into the day-to-day existence of each of us, into our most private moments, our buried secrets.”
–from David Grossman’s introduction to Lion’s Honey

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:37 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

This is David Grossman's view on the tale of Samson: the battle with the lion; the three hundred burning foxes; the women he bedded and the one woman that he loved; his betrayal by all the women in his life, from his mother to Delilah; and his murderous suicide, when he brought the house down on himself and 3000 Philistines. Originally published: 2.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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