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Perspectives on the Book of Job

Powerful Essays
The Book of Job is one of the three books in the Hebrew bible whose genre is described as wisdom literature.1 Certainly the Book of Job satisfies the literary conventions that qualify a biblical book for such status. 2 Yet Job may be associated with wisdom in a much more literal sense. The Book of Job attempts to deal with a problematic question that confronts suffering humanity: why do bad things happen to good people? The variety and vehemence of commentators' contemporary responses to this chapter of the Bible is testament to the continued relevance of the Book of Job's wisdom thousands of years after it was written. Although the commentators examined herein arrive at differing and sometimes conflicting conclusions after reading the story of "the holy Arab"3, none are left indifferent.

The first commentator under consideration is Martin Buber in an excerpt from his Darko shel miqra'4. Buber draws an apt parallel between the Book of Job and the proceedings in a court of law, casting God as judge and Job as prosecution. In Buber's legal parallel, Job demands what in an earthly court of law would amount to due process, or a fair trial. And yet, even as Buber confers the legitimacy of a court of law on Job's complaints, Buber suggests that Job knew his appeal was "suppressed from the start."5 Buber cites Job: "Though I am right, my mouth will condemn me!"6 By highlighting the justness of Job's claims and the non-existent chance of a divine finding in Job's favour, Buber stresses how human justice and divine justice diverge. This difference is highlighted further by discussion of how Job is made to suffer hinnam, or gratuitously, from both God and Job's perspective.7

Rather than condem...

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Frick, Frank S.. A Journey Through The Hewbrew Scriptures. New York: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1995.

Hey, Tony and Patrick Walters. Einstein's Mirror. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Jung, C. G.. Answer to Job. The Hebrew Bible In Literary Criticism. Ed. and Comp. Alex Preminger and Edward L. Greenstein. New York: Ungar, 1986. 454-5.

Kroll, Paul. “The Trial of Job”. Grace Communion: International. Grace Communion International, 2013. 26 February 2015.

René de Chateaubriand, François. The Beauties of Christianity. The Hebrew Bible In Literary Criticism. Ed. and Comp. Alex Preminger and Edward L. Greenstein. New York: Ungar, 1986. 445.
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