Carol Newsom

in Biblical Studies

ISBN: 9780195393361
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:


The book of Job is one of the wisdom writings in the Hebrew Bible. In the Jewish canon it is placed with the Kethubim (“Writings”), and in the Christian canons with the Poetical Books. Unlike other biblical wisdom texts, it does not take the form of an instruction or a proverb collection. Uniquely, it is a set of poetic dialogues (first between Job and his friends, then between Job and God), which are framed by a prose tale about the legendary figure of Job. Although the date of the composition of the book is uncertain, most consider it likely to be from the early postexilic period. The book shows considerable familiarity with ancient Near Eastern literary and mythic traditions, and indeed, Job himself is not presented as an Israelite. The literary quality of the book is exceptionally high, with poetry that is difficult and sophisticated. Undoubtedly the author was a member of a learned scribal intelligentsia. Within the book, issues concerning the nature of piety, the enigma of innocent suffering, the nature of God, and the existence (or not) of a moral order in the world are examined from a variety of perspectives. Job not only has elicited extensive theological commentary but has also inspired significant artistic and literary work throughout the ages.

Article.  11523 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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