A3Writer: M³ The Good Role Model
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Monday, January 8, 2018

M³ The Good Role Model

            The Greeks did the same thing with Hercules as the Israelites did to Samson, but with an important, and very interesting, twist. Whereas the Israelites look at Samson as being culturally different and bad, since he was a murdering, fornicating, failure, the Greeks view Hercules’s traits as desirable. Yes, Hercules had some stumbling blocks in that some of his labors didn’t count, but that was more due to Eurystheus being a real jerk about the whole thing.
            But Hercules bore it all with humility, and the payoff was that he ascended to become one of the Olympian gods. His humility persisted even then. Instead of allowing one of the other 12 to step down, he chose to become the gatekeeper of Olympus, instead. Zeus was correct in his assessment that he would never do better than Hercules as Herc was the only one of his many, many, many offspring to ascend to godhood.
            And this is the leson for the Greeks, that the path Hercules walked with his labors, by doing good with humility and respect for the gods, instead of Odyssean arrogance, is the proper path. The Greeks actually valued what the Israelites had going in their culture, and so when they borrowed it, they recognized the wisdom in such traits, and turned Hercules into an even greater role model for the people.
            This kind of cultural exchange is very uncommon—I won’t say unique because mythology is a big, big world. The type of appropriation by Muslims to the Odysseus story happens all the time to a greater or lesser degree, as we will soon see as we (finally) dive into stories of King Arthur.