Persia had Rustam; Babylonia had Gilgamesh and Enkidu; Egypt had Horus, Osiris, and Isis; Greece had Odysseus, Heracles, and Achilles; Moab had the sons of Ariel; Canaan had Dan'el, Keret, and Aqhat; and Israel? Israel had its heroes, too-Moses, David, Esther, and Samson-and not all warrior figures. While Israel's heroes didn't wear capes or spandex, they, like modern American superheroes, did nevertheless satisfy certain cultural needs.
In times of crises, such as the aftermath of exile for ancient Israel and World War II and 9/11 for the US, these heroes emerged to model necessary virtues that inspired emulation and a sense of commitment amidst cultural struggles with a sense of worth and identity. The concerns of identity and integration with a dominant culture were especially acute for a post-exilic Jewish culture. By using modern American superheroes and their stories as cross-cultural conversation partners, this book uniquely presents the stories of select Israelite characters as hero stories (beyond that as models of faith) while discerning those needs such (super)hero figures would have satisfied for a post-exilic Jewish culture.