Saturday, April 14, 2007

Blogging The Book of Job: I'm flummoxed!

David Plotz has been "blogging the Bible" on Slate for some time. Here's the conclusion to his discussion of the Book of Job:
From Slate Magazine: A Posting for the Sabbath Day
I confess that I'm flummoxed by Job. Should we believe Chapters 38 through 41, when God tells us we're nothing, and that we have no right to question Him? Or should we believe Chapter 42, when God acknowledges that Job was right and settles the lawsuit? The God of Chapters 38 through 41 is petulant, arrogant, and wrong. The God of Chapter 42 is willing to correct His mistake. Also the God of Chapter 42 admits that the three friends are wrong. By punishing them, He seems to be conceding that, in fact, the wicked aren't always punished and the good aren't always rewarded. But isn't such a concession impossible for God? If He disavows their arguments, isn't He saying He's impotent? That he doesn't actually reward the righteous and upbraid the wicked?
I'm troubled, I'm puzzled, I have more questions than answers—and that, I suppose, is why the Book of Job has been required reading for almost 3,000 years.

Given what my wife and I have been through the past several years, I've dipped into Job myself, and have largely concluded that its author must have had (or helped to create) a mordant, if lively, Jewish sense of irony.
Professors at both Yale and Wisconsin Law Schools teach popular courses on the Book of Job. (I don't think it qualifies for the Wisconsin bar privilege, but that's an interesting thought.) Anywhere else? Besides maybe Regent?

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