Brian Doak - The Last of the RephaimAn exciting new book in biblical gigantology has just been published:

Brian R. Doak, The Last of the Rephaim: Conquest and Cataclysm in the Heroic Ages of Ancient Israel (Ilex Series 7; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2013)

Although HUP’s publication date is January 2013, copies appear to be available already on Amazon.

The book is a revision of Doak’s 2011 Harvard doctoral thesis under Peter Machinist. As Brian kindly sent a copy of his thesis to me last year, I can confirm for readers interested in the giants of the Bible (the Rephaim, Nephilim, Anakim, Goliath, etc) that The Last of the Rephaim will be the leading work in the field.

Here’s what the HUP blurb says:

The figure of the giant has haunted the literatures of the ancient Mediterranean world, from the Greek Gigantomachy and other Aegean epic literatures to the biblical contexts of the ancient Near East. In The Last of the Rephaim, Brian Doak argues that the giants of the Hebrew Bible are a politically, theologically, and historiographically generative group, and through their oversized bodies, readers gain insight into central aspects of Israel’s symbolic universe. All that is overgrown or physically monstrous represents a connection to primeval chaos, and stands as a barrier to creation and right rule. Giants thus represent chaos-fear, and their eradication is a form of chaos maintenance by both human and divine agents. Doak argues that these biblical traditions participate in a broader Mediterranean conversation regarding giants and the end of the heroic age—a conversation that inevitably draws the biblical corpus into a discussion of the function of myth and epic in the ancient world, with profound implications for the politics of monotheism and monarchy in ancient Israel.

A must-have for any gigantologist’s library.