Broken in Pieces by Words/Breaking Words in Pieces

Carol A. Newsom

in The Book of Job

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780195396287
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199852420 | DOI:
Broken in Pieces by Words/Breaking Words in Pieces

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This chapter explores the language and rhetoric of chapter 9 in the book of Job, where, it is generally agreed, legal language and the framing of Job’s situation by means of a legal metaphor first make their appearance in the dialogue. Drawing on theories of discourse and metaphor, it traces the reappearance of such language in subsequent chapters. The discourse of law, though it never becomes Job’s only discourse, is the means by which he exposes and contests the assumptions of the friends, especially as embodied in their advice concerning petitionary prayer. The chapter concludes by examining the contrasting assumptions of these two discourses and shows why legal discourse is of such value to Job in negotiating the problem of divine-human alterity.

Keywords: book of Job; friends; language; legal discourse

Chapter.  20708 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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