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The Book of Job Suffering into Truth: “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead They were.

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Presentation on theme: "The Book of Job Suffering into Truth: “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead They were."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Book of Job Suffering into Truth: “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead They were graven in the rock for ever!” Job 19:23 USE THE TEXT Tutorial #3. Choose one of the topics below. Explore it as deeply as you can, and be sure to use textual references and proper citations. Draft due Dec 17. Revisions over break. Finished paper due January 7 th How do the teachings of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita clarify and exemplify the features of Hinduism which Huston Smith discusses? Ponder the Hindu conception of self and of soul? What is the relationship of man to god? What does union with god mean in Huston Smith’s book and in the Gita? What do you understand by the path of renunciation? What is being renounced? To what end? (Separately, a side bar: Who are modern day” renouncers”? What are they renouncing? Can you make any connections or patterns between these various movements? Compare and contrast the ideas of Hinduism to those of the Stoics, (Seneca and Epictetus). Action and inaction. What are the gains to be made from acting and or by not acting? Are contemplation and reflection more closely related to action or inaction? What insights do the writings of Aristotle, the Hindus provide? What additions can you make? Consider relevant examples from real life situations.

2 Background Sumerian version, B.C.E. Two proposed sources: J (Yahwist) and P (Priestly). Comparable to Greek tragedy in poetry, age (likely BCE), and structure (agon, hamartia, peripateia, catharsis). Aligned with themes of Genesis: character of God, meaning of suffering, proper character of the righteous, nature of wisdom. Remember the audience is the same for whom stories were written about protecting the widow, orphan and alien.

3 Job’s story Rich farmer (Job 1:1-5). How did he get that rich? What does the story tell us? Conversation between Satan (aka Adversary) and God (1:6-12). What does Job lose? Why does he not initially lose his wife? Job’s response: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return; the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Does Job express this out of knowledge or belief? Job’s wife’s response: “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God, and die.” Why is Job’s wife included in the story?

4 The Consolation of Job’s friends Their logic: man is sinful, you are a man, your knowledge is incomplete; God’s is just, God does not punish without reason, God is punishing Job because he has sinned. Accuse Job of faults: impatience, ignorance, arrogance (confidence in his own wisdom), emotion Why does their logic fail?

5 Quotes to consider On human nature. Eliphaz: “For affliction does not come from the dust,/nor does trouble sprout from the ground;/but man is born to trouble/as the sparks fly upward.” 5:6-7 On the rationality of suffering. Bildad: “[I]f you are pure and upright,/surely then he will rouse himself for you/and reward you with a rightful habitation.” 8:6 On the limitations of wisdom. Job: “But I have understanding as well as you;/I am not inferior to you./Who does not know such things as these?” 12:3 On the source of human fallibility. Eliphaz: “What is man, that he can be clean?/Or he that is born of a woman,/that he can be righteous?” 15:14 On the source of human fallibility. Job: “And even if it be true that I have erred,/my error remains with myself./If indeed you magnify yourselves against me,/and make my humiliation an argument against me,/know then that God has put me in the wrong,/and closed his net about me.” 19:4-6

6 Additional questions What does the conversation between Satan and God reveal about their relationship? Why does God allow Satan to test/punish/torture Job? Which is the most accurate word in the preceding question? Job: “Teach me, and I will be silent;/make me understand how I have erred[…]Why dost thou not pardon my transgression/and take away my iniquity?” 6:24, 7:21 Job: “Why is light given to a man whose way is hid,/whom God has hedged in?” 3:23 Is the Hebrew God responsible for everything in the world and therefore evil? Does suffering have a rational purpose and explanation? If not, can God be regarded as JUST? What is the significance of humans in the universe? According to Job? His friends? You? Why in God’s universe do the good sometimes suffer and the evil prosper? Is Divine Justice the same as human Justice? What is the nature of Faith? Its purpose?

7 Dramatic irony (the audience knows more than the characters about the circumstances and events of the plot) is prevalent in this story. Where and how does it appear? What would the story be without it? Job is often considered an refutation of gnosticism. “Gnosis” is “knowledge” and “gnostikos” is “good at knowing,” both in Greek. Do you agree that the author is attempting to subjugate knowledge in favor of faith or a balance between faith and knowledge?

8 Final Thoughts on Job

9 Contrast the two major value systems Hebraic Family-centered Monotheistic Faith-based Life experiences Motivated by piety (guilt) Hellenic Individualistic Polytheistic Rational Ideal/reputation Motivated by ego (shame)

10 Humans are not the Center of it All The Book of Job is anti-anthropocentric. –God describes a list of natural forces and creations more powerful than humans. –Gods emphasizes Job’s (and all humanity’s) inferiority in the face of such natural power (Behemoth, Leviathan, rivers, etc., saying that Job’s wisdom does not give those natural forces their power, implying God’s wisdom does.

11 Job is a Woman? C.S. Lewis says that God is and must be masculine as the prime mover, the actor, and the creator, thus all humanity-- including Job and all of us--is feminized. Examine the story in light of this claim.

12 Suffering, Evil and the Existence of God What is Lewis’ argument about suffering? Justice? Evil? Is this dualistic philosophy—humans only know to complain about the bad, because they know what is good—enough to justify the existence of God? Francis Bacon wrote, “Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; Adversity is the blessing of the New; which carrieth […] the clearer revelation of God’s favor. […] Certainly virtue is like precious odours, most fragreant when they [hearts] are incensed or crushed: for Prosperity doth best discover vice, but Adversity doth best discover virtue” (qtd. in Hone 167).


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