Perspectives on the Book of Job Essay

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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 …show more content…
"As always, God 'tests' those human beings to whom he is close and whom he loves."8 It is unclear whether Buber bases the preceding statement on his personal opinion or on the biblical text. Buber points out that Job's plaintive cries constitute a form of prayer, and in fact cement his relationship with God. Buber concludes that Job passed God's test, successfully "bore witness to his God"9 and has the eternal mission of serving God. One comes away from Buber with the impression that both God's behavior and Job suffering are morally justified.

In contrast to Buber's vindication of God's role and glorification of Job's suffering, C. G. Jung excoriates God for his "crimes"10 in an excerpt from Answer to Job11. Setting an irreverent tone, Jung begins by stating that God's "thunderings... completely miss the point"12 by failing to address Job's questions, demonstrating God's self-absorption. Jung points out that God's self-aggrandizing diatribe only makes sense if directed towards a "doubting thought", which can only be Satan. Jung suggests that God has turned his verbal displeasure on Job rather than Satan in order to avoid facing the fact that he was duped by Satan into sanctioning the punishment of his most faithful follower.

Job realizes that the self-centered God speaking from the whirlwind has no interest in Job's rights, and thus Job has no choice but to retract his "demand for justice"13 and submit to the divine omnipotence

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