image of Samson and Delilah

Week 3. Vulgata: Samson.

Background | Background Quiz | Starting Assumptions | Resources | Extras
Vocabulary | Etymology | Grammar | Perseus Dictionary | Perseus Tool

Reading Overview | Reading Quiz: English
| Reading Quiz: Latin
Discussion Questions | Latin Composition | Weekly Checklist

Background Information

The story of Samson is told in the Book of Judges, Chapters 13-16. We will be reading from Chapter 16 this week in Latin; for your background reading you will need to read Chapters 13, 14, and 15 in order to get caught up on the story. Please read these chapters out loud in order to get a sense the style used by the King James translation, and how it attempts to convey some of the quality of Jerome's Latin sentence structure. It will just take you 10-15 minutes to read all three chapters out loud; if you emphasize each "and" and "but" you will see how the King James version strings together some endless sentences, much like Jerome's paratactic Latin style: Judges 13, Judges 14, Judges 15.

You will learn how Samson's pious parents dutifully consecrated him as a Nazirite (Judges 13). Yet Samson fell in love with a Philistine woman, much to his parents' displeasure (Judges 14). On the way to court this woman, Samson killed a lion. Later, he returned to this same spot and gathered the honey produced by bees who had built their hive in the lion's body. At his wedding, Samson then challenged the Philistine men with a riddle based on this adventure with the lion. Unable to guess the answer to the riddle, the Philistines extracted the answer from Samson's wife. Samson was outraged and vowed to get his revenge, setting fire to the crops of the Philistines (Judges 15). The enraged Philistines in turn killed Samson's erstwhile bride and her father. After their murder, Samson attacked the Philistines again, and then fled into the land of Judah. Because they were afraid of the Philistines, the men of Judah tied Samson up and turned him over to the Philistines, but the cords seemed to melt away because of Samson's incredible strength. Years later, Samson visited a prostitute among the Philistines, and they trapped him inside the city, but Samson simply pulled the gate of the city from off its hinges and carried it away with him as he made his escape.

And that is where the story of Delilah will begin...

Modern Languages 4970 / MRS 4903: Medieval Latin. Spring 2003 Online Course at the University of Oklahoma. Visit for more info.
Laura Gibbs, University of Oklahoma - Information Technology © 2003. Last updated: December 29, 2002 7:12 PM