The Bible

Joseph and Odysseus 12th Grade

Erich Auerbach describes a model for a hero from the Hebrew bible that he believes is nearly all inclusive. Joseph and the story of his journey through slavery and imprisonment up to royalty exemplifies the journey from the deepest humiliation to exaltation, aided by God’s personal inspiration, that is described by Erich Auerbach’s model. God seems to demand absolute unquestioning faith as Joseph’s life is patterned in such a way that his humiliation turns out to be instrumental in his eventual exaltation. The journey of Odysseus, on the other hand, follows a similar pattern but doesn’t seem to have the same demands for humiliation or faith that Joseph is subject to. While Joseph’s works and faith are a journey through hardships that lead him to save an entire civilization and become a greater man than anyone could have predicted, Odysseus merely fights his way back home against the consequences of his own actions. The fact that these texts served as moral and spiritual guides for the ancient Greek and Hebrew cultures allows for the generalization of these moral teachings and standards as exemplary to each culture as a whole. While the stories were produced by their respective cultures; they, in turn, shaped the very cultures...

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