“Some Worthless and Reckless Fellows”: Landlessness and Parasocial Leadership in Judges

Brian R. Doak


In this essay, I argue that the narratives in Judges 9, 11, and 18 should be read as examples of “parasocial” leadership in the Iron Age Levant. Specific characters such as Abimelek and Jephthah are parasocial leaders whose existence fits within known categories of regional social change. By extension, Judges may be read as the most sustained literary product in the ancient Near East depicting a world of habiru-like actors generating political transformation.

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