Chapter

The Impregnable Word

Carol A. Newsom

in The Book of Job

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780195396287
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852420 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396287.003.0002
The Impregnable Word

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Chapter 1 argued for reading Job as a polyphonically structured book. This structure is primarily produced by juxtaposing sharply differing genres in such a way that they cannot easily be read as articulations of a single voice or consciousness. Before one can talk about the dialogic sense of truth achieved by the interaction of these voices, it is necessary to treat them separately, attending to the monologic claims made by each. This chapter focuses on the prose tale and how it imagines patterns of possibility and impossibility in the sense in which Nussbaum speaks of them. Perhaps this undertaking seems a bit foolish. The prose tale has not fared well in modern critical and theological evaluation and is often viewed as a mere setup for the intellectually more sophisticated and provocative dialogue, and so scarcely worth serious scrutiny. When it does attract attention, that attention has often been hostile, especially from theological critics. Biblical scholars usually note its critique of “barter religion” as worthy, but when the prose tale is appreciated, it is more likely on the grounds of aesthetic rather than moral values.

Keywords: book of Job; prose tale; genre; moral imagination

Chapter.  20949 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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