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The Book of Job: A Biography

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The Book of Job raises stark questions about the nature and meaning of innocent suffering and the relationship of the human to the divine, yet it is also one of the Bible's most obscure and paradoxical books, one that defies interpretation even today. Mark Larrimore provides a panoramic history of this remarkable book, traversing centuries and traditions to examine how Job The Book of Job raises stark questions about the nature and meaning of innocent suffering and the relationship of the human to the divine, yet it is also one of the Bible's most obscure and paradoxical books, one that defies interpretation even today. Mark Larrimore provides a panoramic history of this remarkable book, traversing centuries and traditions to examine how Job's trials and his challenge to God have been used and understood in diverse contexts, from commentary and liturgy to philosophy and art. Larrimore traces Job's obscure origins and his reception and use in the Midrash, burial liturgies, and folklore, and by figures such as Gregory the Great, Maimonides, John Calvin, Immanuel Kant, William Blake, Margarete Susman, and Elie Wiesel. He chronicles the many ways the Book of Job's interpreters have linked it to other biblical texts; to legends, allegory, and negative and positive theologies; as well as to their own individual and collective experiences. Larrimore revives old questions and provides illuminating new contexts for contemporary ones. Was Job a Jew or a gentile? Was his story history or fable? What is meant by the "patience of Job," and does Job exhibit it? Why does God speak yet not engage Job's questions? Offering rare insights into this iconic and enduring book, Larrimore reveals how Job has come to be viewed as the Bible's answer to the problem of evil and the perennial question of why a God who supposedly loves justice permits bad things to happen to good people.


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The Book of Job raises stark questions about the nature and meaning of innocent suffering and the relationship of the human to the divine, yet it is also one of the Bible's most obscure and paradoxical books, one that defies interpretation even today. Mark Larrimore provides a panoramic history of this remarkable book, traversing centuries and traditions to examine how Job The Book of Job raises stark questions about the nature and meaning of innocent suffering and the relationship of the human to the divine, yet it is also one of the Bible's most obscure and paradoxical books, one that defies interpretation even today. Mark Larrimore provides a panoramic history of this remarkable book, traversing centuries and traditions to examine how Job's trials and his challenge to God have been used and understood in diverse contexts, from commentary and liturgy to philosophy and art. Larrimore traces Job's obscure origins and his reception and use in the Midrash, burial liturgies, and folklore, and by figures such as Gregory the Great, Maimonides, John Calvin, Immanuel Kant, William Blake, Margarete Susman, and Elie Wiesel. He chronicles the many ways the Book of Job's interpreters have linked it to other biblical texts; to legends, allegory, and negative and positive theologies; as well as to their own individual and collective experiences. Larrimore revives old questions and provides illuminating new contexts for contemporary ones. Was Job a Jew or a gentile? Was his story history or fable? What is meant by the "patience of Job," and does Job exhibit it? Why does God speak yet not engage Job's questions? Offering rare insights into this iconic and enduring book, Larrimore reveals how Job has come to be viewed as the Bible's answer to the problem of evil and the perennial question of why a God who supposedly loves justice permits bad things to happen to good people.

30 review for The Book of Job: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Reading the Biblical Book of Job, one could conclude that God is evil, feckless, or even nonexistent. Not until we get to the Book of Revelation do we find a book so controversial and open to so many meanings. This is why Mark Larrimore has performed a useful service with his The Book of "Job": A Biography, which examines the different interpretations of the book through the ages and through the eye of the present time. Consider the framing story we find at the book's beginning: God is making a Reading the Biblical Book of Job, one could conclude that God is evil, feckless, or even nonexistent. Not until we get to the Book of Revelation do we find a book so controversial and open to so many meanings. This is why Mark Larrimore has performed a useful service with his The Book of "Job": A Biography, which examines the different interpretations of the book through the ages and through the eye of the present time. Consider the framing story we find at the book's beginning: God is making a bet with Satan that Job's prosperity is not dependent on the deity's favoring him. He lets the devil do whatever he wishes to Job to affect his worship of the Creator. In the process, Satan runs off his herds and kills his wife and children, leaving the once powerful man bemoaning his faith in a pile of ashes. From there, it gets even stranger. He is consoled by three "friends" who essentially say it's all his own fault. Then there is a mysterious character named Elihu who emerges with his own interpretation (a probable interpolation by another writer). Finally, God appears himself and essentially says He is All Powerful, Almighty, and where was Job when God created the world? Because I am not conversant with the language of theology, I missed some of the terms used in Larrimire's book, but I found it useful enough to want to return to it once I have reread the Biblical book in several translations.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bert van der Vaart

    A very well written examination of the Book of Job. Larrimore does an excellent job examining the book on its own, as well as the views of various generations of those who have been drawn to this paradoxical and provocative book. I like his objective analysis and respect for all the traditions, from the literalist view to the post-modern. Bottom line is that we can only begin to grasp God's greatness or his ways in snatches--through the poetry, the railing against God but the ultimate acceptance A very well written examination of the Book of Job. Larrimore does an excellent job examining the book on its own, as well as the views of various generations of those who have been drawn to this paradoxical and provocative book. I like his objective analysis and respect for all the traditions, from the literalist view to the post-modern. Bottom line is that we can only begin to grasp God's greatness or his ways in snatches--through the poetry, the railing against God but the ultimate acceptance of God's unfathomable greatness. Some of the corollaries are fascinating-that what we should do when confronted with suffering or depression of friends, we should not (as opposed to Job's "friends") take a God's-eye view in trying to explain why the sufferer is suffering, but rather to listen and share the knowledge that life on earth is aspirational to Heaven--not Heaven itself. well worth reading.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Christi

    Wow, I finally finished this book! I bought it when I heard the author speak on Radio West, and I found interesting what he had to say about faith and the suffering of innocents. I wasn't paying enough attention to realize that his book was an academic one. I've never read an academic book all the way through (I've never even read my husband's dissertation. I know, I'm a terrible person) and there were times when I did not understand terminology, but I was able to come away with a completely new Wow, I finally finished this book! I bought it when I heard the author speak on Radio West, and I found interesting what he had to say about faith and the suffering of innocents. I wasn't paying enough attention to realize that his book was an academic one. I've never read an academic book all the way through (I've never even read my husband's dissertation. I know, I'm a terrible person) and there were times when I did not understand terminology, but I was able to come away with a completely new perspective on the book of Job, which is my new favorite book of scripture. The man has read virtually everything ever written in history about the book, and presents and interprets what he's learned in this book. The book of Job is for everyone who has ever suffered, or known someone who has suffered, and it was extremely interesting to see the different lenses though which people have seen this story through the ages. Thanks, Mark!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Peter Menkin

    Mark Larrimore writes in his book: 'Keeping company with Job, as friend or interpreter, is a worthy activity....' An interview... Interview: Mark Larrimore wrote ‘The Book of Job: A Biography’ Keeping company with Job, as friend or interpreter, is a worthy activity. Only the one who sees no challenge in Job or the questions his book is thought to raise should be dismissed. Recognizing that Job’s questions are not only “unfinished” in the book of job but “unfinishable”, we may conclude only that Mark Larrimore writes in his book: 'Keeping company with Job, as friend or interpreter, is a worthy activity....' An interview... Interview: Mark Larrimore wrote ‘The Book of Job: A Biography’ Keeping company with Job, as friend or interpreter, is a worthy activity. Only the one who sees no challenge in Job or the questions his book is thought to raise should be dismissed. Recognizing that Job’s questions are not only “unfinished” in the book of job but “unfinishable”, we may conclude only that our obligation is to keep the retelling going in all its difficulty. This means learning to listen to every part of the text, and perhaps also to every serious past attempt to enter the argument—joining the long line of interventions that began with Elihu. Showing how or why this might be done has been the intention of this book. Professor Mark Larrimore, author at New School New York City Author Mark Larrimore, at New School New York City photo by NiQyira Rajhi for the New School Free Press by Peter Menkin How I do like the way Mark Larrimore has begun his work, “The Book of Job: A Biography.” There is a chill to the start. Here are the first sentences of his book, part of a series by Princeton University Press: The book of Job tells of a wealthy and virtuous man in an unfamiliar land in the East. His virtue is so great that God points him out to hassatan—literally the satan. “the adversary.” a sort of prosecuting attorney in the divine court, who, whether by temperament or profession, is skeptical regarding the possibility of genuine human piety. There in the introduction to this interesting work that is part of the very complete and large series of titles, “Lives of Great Religious Books,” we find quickly a sense of foreboding. The series is described by Princeton University Press this way, in case you didn’know:”Lives of Great Religious Books is a series of short volumes that recount the complex and fascinating histories of important religious texts from around the world. Written for general readers by leading authors and experts, these books examine the historical origins of texts from the great religious traditions, and trace how their reception, interpretation, and influence have changed–often radically–over time. As these stories of translation, adaptation, appropriation, and inspiration dramatically remind us, all great religious books are living things whose careers in the world can take the most unexpected turns.” Let us give ear to author Mark Larimore’s own recitation on the radio to a longish interview with Tom Ashbrook who says of Job in his introduction to the talk: The Book of Job is a brutal corner of the Bible. A good man, Job, thrown arbitrarily, suddenly, into a life of absolute agony. Stripped of his wealth. His children killed. Plagued and hounded and showered with misery. His only consolation is sounds like none: “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.” Deal with it. The Book of Job is so harsh. It’s about unrelieved injustice and the suffering of innocent humans. About grief and rage and the human condition. And maybe about wisdom that goes right beyond the Bible. Up next On Point: The Book of Job, and life right now. – Tom Ashbrook The broadcast is here and this is its title: The ‘Book of Job’ In the Modern Age The Book of Job and the trials of Job. Hard and endless. We’ll ask what the hard old Bible story has to say now. http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/10/10/bo... A man with a PhD from Princeton who teaches at the innovative or some would say liberal and even small, special New York City University with the excellent reputation The New School, Mark Larrimore is consistently rated by students a superior teacher and a very interesting one. Called by editor of Princeton University Press a very talented up and coming writer, the promising and talented Mark Larrimore is a good talker who is a pleasure to engage in a conversation and a man who has what used to be called “good vibes” with lots of energy and good sense, too. That is judging by his intelligent and educated conversation that holds ones interest: he is to put it more briefly, engaging. This short statement from his University profile says much of the character of his course material, and this is a quote: “The study of religion and liberal education are indispensable to each other because religion is so often illiberal and liberals so often anti-religious.” To reach the Professor by email, write him [email protected] . Since 2002, Mark Larrimore has been teaching Religious Studies at Eugene Lang College. In this interview conducted by WNSR’s James Lowenthal for [email protected], Larrimore discusses his discipline and its relation to the Lang community, and the various changes he has seen during his time at Lang. Here is that radio interview: Feature Broadcast on May 9, 2011 Feature: [email protected]: WNSR Interviews Mark Larrimore Mark Larrimore is a man who as writer of the work on Job thinks. This excerpt gives evidence of his efforts to find meaning and even some ongoing effort at working out the difficulties of the Book of Job…it’s kind of ongoing effect on readers through centuries of different readers and times: Keeping company with Job, as friend or interpreter, is a worthy activity. Only the one who sees no challenge in Job or the questions his book is thought to raise should be dismissed. Recognizing that Job’s questions are not only “unfinished” in the book of job but “unfinishable”, we may conclude only that our obligation is to keep the retelling going in all its difficulty. This means learning to listen to every part of the text, and perhaps also to every serious past attempt to enter the argument—joining the long line of interventions that began with Elihu. Showing how or why this might be done has been the intention of this book. An interview with the author Mark Larrimore was held with questions sent in writing and answers given in writing to Religion Writer Peter Menkin. INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR MARK LARRIMORE WITH PETER MENKIN Mark Larrimore, author of “The Book of Job: A Biography” (The words of the whirlwind} and a professor of religious studies at The New School. The book is also found here: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/100... . 1. 1. During the three years you worked on “The Book of Job: A Biography,” did you find the creation and research a kind of meditation? If so, tell us something of your meditation. Yes, this is a broad question, and to narrow it down: In what way did you find Job a Christian statement in your meditation, if at all? Let me take that as two questions. Was it a kind of meditation? Yes, absolutely. I understand Job to be very significantly about our inability to understand the suffering of others, and even to acknowledge what profound questions it poses for our own religious views. The book is about interpretation and its failures. For me it’s a meditation on the experience of others, on our duty not to forget others in our own meditations. As I make clear in the introduction to my book, I do not come to the Book of Job out of world-wrenching suffering of my own. The Book of Job demands of me that I admit this. To the extent that it argues that extreme pain and anguish give a privileged understanding of things, an insight not attainable in any other way, I shouldn’t be interpreting it. But then my book isn’t my take on Job but an effort to provide resources for anyone’s effort to make sense of this book and the momentous questions it names, introducing interpretations and uses which are far deeper than any I could come up with. Larrimore_BkJob Was mine a Christian meditation? Not so much. In part that’s because I attempted the perhaps impossible task of discussing the Book of Job as not clearly Jewish, or Christian, or humanistic – but also not free-standing, self-contained and self-interpreting. If we don’t ignore parts of it (as many readings do), the BoJ is troubling and difficult enough that it pretty much forces us to seek help wherever we think that can be found. It’s not a coincidence that Gregory the Great’s Morals in Job wound up drawing on pretty much the whole rest of the Christian scriptures. But this will be different for people of different faith backgrounds. I obviously drew on materials from Jewish as well as Christian traditions, as well as the essentially humanistic textual, historical and literary scholarship on which not only secular but many contemporary religious interpretations build. 1. 2. As both writer and scholar, let us turn to the exercise of writer as participant in this larger series, Lives of Great Religious Books. Was your work part of a discussion with others or mainly a matter as a writer of solitary activity? Here the question is narrowed to the activity of the writing of “The Book of Job: A Biography,” or of its research and the reading of the Bible itself. My book stems from a seminar I teach on interpretations of the Book of Job. I was pleased to be asked to contribute to the LGRB series, and also pleased at the discretion the editor gave us to define the project in our own way. In my college every course, no matter how specific its subject matter, also has to be an introduction to its discipline, so my “Reading Job” course was also an introduction to religious studies, to religious studies ways of reading. I think that’s reflected in the book – I hope so. I might add also that the course is a seminar, where mine is only one voice among others. I may have been wrestling with this text longer than the others in the discussion, and certainly have read more books about it, but that didn’t prevent my students from surprising and enlightening me on many, many occasions. When it came to writing the book I didn’t seek out many new conversation partners but that didn’t make it a solitary activity. I wrote it alone – indeed, many of my colleagues had no idea I was working on it! – but the colloquium of the seminar continued in my head as I was writing. I regret profoundly not having got my acknowledgments to the press in time for inclusion in my book. I would have included the names of all my students. 1. 3. Does Job engage you in a personal way, and how so did the book you wrote and the Book of Job itself especially finds you as a human being? I want to say one would have to be inhuman not to be engaged by this story—except that, as I show in the book, many people turned away, condemning Job for his pride; some, more recently, condemn him for his “capitulation” at the end. Perhaps that’s human, too. And of course it’s precisely what the Book of Job predicts. I tried not to judge Job but to listen to him. That’s not always easy, as the fate of his friends shows. Indeed I recognized myself in the friends as much as in him, and am almost as critical of those who write off the friends without listening to them as to those who omit the parts of Job’s speeches they don’t want to deal with. I want to coopt Santayana here and say that those who do not learn from the mistakes of the friends are doomed to repeat them. I also think it’s a great hubristic temptation to take God’s side and speak for him – the one thing everyone agrees the Book of Job warns against! I don’t do it in the book but I can say here that I find something very powerful in the divine speeches. Some forms of theological thinking and feeling are rendered obsolete by the vastness of outer and inner space discovered to us by science, but not this. 1. 4. Does God act out of character in smiting Job, or is it solely the work of Satan? It’s certainly not just the work of the satan: Satan hadn’t happened yet. But even in the later tradition which reads hassatan as Satan, the larger question is the same. If God’s in control, then the sources of human affliction are operating with divine permission. What’s particularly troubling about Job is that the usual arguments for divine permission aren’t made. It may be, as later interpreters say, that the affliction was for Job’s own good, but he’s never told that (except by Elihu, and God never says so). Instead, it seems like God is passing the time in heaven by inviting the prosecuting attorney of the heavenly court (hassatan) to test his favorite pet. Hassatan is just doing his job. It is God who acts out of character here. Or we might have to say that the Book of Job shows that our understandings of God’s character are inadequate. I don’t mention King Lear in the book but that’s a very Joban play. “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods, they kill us for their sport” is a very Joban thought. 1. 5. In the conception and execution of this book was this work you did one of the scholar or of the teacher? Perhaps because I teach at a seminar college, it’s a little difficult for me to distinguish these. I don’t lecture but try to structure spaces of reading and discussion where students learn how to keep learning, how to become a teacher, how to become a scholar. I want my students, and the readers of my book, to learn how to do what I’m doing – how to read, how to have the confidence to form interpretations and the humility to challenge them, how to trace the sources of a work, the drama of a debate, the history of an idea, the uses of a story. I might add that, when it comes to the Book of Job, I feel myself as much student as scholar. I am not a Hebraist or Biblical scholar – I came at this material from the other end, working my way backward from modern philosophy and religious life to its sources. I would not have been able to write my book without leaning very heavily on the work of scholars like Carol Newsom, David Clines, James Kugel, Bruce Zuckerman, Robert Eisen, Lawrence Besserman, Susan Schreiner… In this connection I suppose I’m teaching that you don’t need to be a scholar of the Hebrew Bible to be able to engage and explore it. Most of the interpreters I discuss in my book weren’t Hebraists either. Job with friends Job with friends etc. 1. 6. Talk to us about the reader in your mind when you wrote the book? I didn’t really know who my readers might be. This was my first time writing something which might reach beyond the halls of academe. It was a little hard fixing an image of the educated lay reader I was trying to be of service to. So sometimes I was thinking of my friends and students, sometimes of readers of other books in the Lives of Great Religious Books series, sometimes of my parents! I had had the pleasure of leading a four-session discussion group on the Book of Job at my church (the Church of the Holy Apostles), so I imagined study groups as another possible readership – though these discussions made me feel very much the bookish academic! Only very late in the process, as a friend who’s studying at Union Theological Seminary was working through the text with me, did it occur to me that it might also be of use in seminaries. 1. 7. In your book you stress that the Book of Job is read differently by people from different faith traditions, or from none, and appropriately so. What are some distinctly Christian ways of reading it, and do you think they can be of value for other readers? It makes sense for people to read a sacred text in the context of the whole canon of scripture – especially for a text as full of puzzles and paradoxes as Job. It’s distinctive of this modern chapter in the history of the Book of Job that people think they should read it on its own, out of any context. The traditional Christian reading is allegorical: Job is a “type” for Christ. Like all Old Testament texts, it’s a riddle which can’t be solved without the key of the New Testament. But although typology is intellectually and historically very interesting, I’m not sure anyone really knows how to think that way anymore. The folks at Oberammergau tried to bring it back in their most recent Passion Play, juxtaposing a scene of Job’s quarrel with his friends with the mocking of Christ, but I suspect most viewers just saw it as a parallel. The much-celebrated “patience of Job” is Christian, too – the phrase comes not from the Old Testament but from the New Testament Epistle of James. I dare say it’s the dominant understanding of the story among Christians: God pushes nobody farther than s/he can go, God has God’s own reasons for striking human beings with afflictions but if we abide patiently we will be amply rewarded. Job’s suffering here isn’t a parallel to Christ’s but to our own. In my book I try to suggest that if Job defines what patience is – all of the Book of Job, not just the first two chapters! – then we may need a more robust understanding of what patience means. That more robust understanding, largely forgotten among Christians today, is deeper and richer than mere servile, masochistic silence. Job’s world has fallen apart. He feels abandoned, indeed persecuted by God – and he says so. Job’s recantation, “I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes,” has been an important part of Christian understandings of Job, too, but there are good textual reasons to question this translation. It is not that Job – the most virtuous human being – is a despicable sinner, but that, compared to the infinite power and majesty of God, the merely created is as nothing. But one shouldn’t stop there, for in the Book of Job the infinitely powerful and majestic One knows and is proud of this nothing, and even speaks to him. Many of these ways of understanding Job could be shared by non-Christians. I’ve had wonderful discussions about these topics with a Hindu friend, for instance. It was also in conversation with her that I realized just how astonishing is the Christian belief that God subjected Godself to Job’s human experiences of anguish and abandonment out of love for the world. 1. 8. It’s been a pleasure to make your acquaintance through these questions. Have we missed anything important? If so, please talk to us about what we’ve missed now. Thank you for the wonderfully thoughtful questions. One of the great satisfactions of this project is the quality of conversations it has generated, from each of which I learn a little bit more about the Book of Job and its continuing power to help us wrestle with the most important questions. APPENDIX I “The Book of Job: A Biography” by Mark Larrimore. by OnPointRadio APPENDIX II Published on Apr 28, 2012 (Audio Narration by: Max Mclean). This work originally appeared Church of England Newspaper, London.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    A great guide Survey of how the Book of Job has been read, performed, and interpreted through the centuries. The many voices and layers combined with intense experience and drama of Job prevent any one reading from being satisfying. I found this quote to best sum up Job: his book records the strange and painful discovery that God’s presence is felt most keenly in what might otherwise seem his absences: in the ethical irrationality of the world, and especially in those experiences of loss and suff A great guide Survey of how the Book of Job has been read, performed, and interpreted through the centuries. The many voices and layers combined with intense experience and drama of Job prevent any one reading from being satisfying. I found this quote to best sum up Job: his book records the strange and painful discovery that God’s presence is felt most keenly in what might otherwise seem his absences: in the ethical irrationality of the world, and especially in those experiences of loss and suffering that defy human conceptions of justice or meaning.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Wm. Wells

    excellent overview of how the Book of Job has been used historically

  7. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    A really excellent large-scale study of the history of the interpretation of Job. The book is split into five chapters, each focused on a different era and style of interpretation: ancient midrashic Jewish and allegorical Christian readings, along with the retelling of the story found in the Testament of Job; medieval frameworks of philosophical dialogue, whether that is the apophatic theology of Maimonides or the philosophical disputation of Aquinas; Job an "enacted" in medieval times through t A really excellent large-scale study of the history of the interpretation of Job. The book is split into five chapters, each focused on a different era and style of interpretation: ancient midrashic Jewish and allegorical Christian readings, along with the retelling of the story found in the Testament of Job; medieval frameworks of philosophical dialogue, whether that is the apophatic theology of Maimonides or the philosophical disputation of Aquinas; Job an "enacted" in medieval times through the Office of the Dead or the Book of Hours, the French play La Pacience de Job, or the fable of Griselda; the post-enlightenment thinkers who wrestled explicitly with the issue of theodicy and the theme of sublimity in Job, along with the artistic portrayals of the book done by Blake; and finally, the modern interpreters who employ text-critical methods to get "behind" the text, embracing a polyphony of voices within the fractured book they see Job to be, as well as modern 20th-century Jewish interpretation wrestling with life after the Shoah, particularly as expressed by Elie Wiesel. Every chapter of the book was excellent, well-researched and clear. Larrimore begins by suggesting that we adopt the posture of one of Job's friends, coming to be with him as he experiences his suffering (and potentially trying to impose our own framework of understanding on his situation, which is how we might initially look at other eras of interpretation). Personally, I found the discussion of ancient midrashic interpreters, the exploration of other versions of the tale that have emerged throughout history (all of which offer a clearer and simpler kind of explanation for suffering than the book of Job), the medieval "enactments" of Job like the French play La Pacience de Job, the exploration of Blake's artwork and theology, and the 20th-century journey of Wiesel and the larger Jewish community in the interpretation of the book of Job to be the most informative and unique. Larrimore does a great job in approaching other eras of interpretation with humility and openness, and the range of what is covered in the book really does give the reader a very broad sense of the ways in which the book of Job has been read and interpreted.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katie Marquette

    This was a wonderful, informative look at one of my favorite biblical books - The book of Job. One of the most poetic, challenging, and distressing books of the Bible, the book of Job asks, "why do good people suffer?" The book has been cherished by Holocaust survivors, who see in Job a kindred spirit. Elie Wiesel famously lectured on Job for over thirty years, telling others that Job was right to put God on trial. His only disappointment in the book was that Job did not rebel enough. Early Chri This was a wonderful, informative look at one of my favorite biblical books - The book of Job. One of the most poetic, challenging, and distressing books of the Bible, the book of Job asks, "why do good people suffer?" The book has been cherished by Holocaust survivors, who see in Job a kindred spirit. Elie Wiesel famously lectured on Job for over thirty years, telling others that Job was right to put God on trial. His only disappointment in the book was that Job did not rebel enough. Early Christianity incorporated Job's laments into funeral services, finding Job's laments and curses echoes of humanity's own anxieties about death and suffering. In a secularized world, the Book of Job has even been lauded by atheists and humanists, who see in Job a righteous indignation against a cruel and unjust God. Larrimore brilliantly traces the history of the book while remaining respectful toward the many different interpretations, literal, figurative, new historical, etc. To me, Job is a beautiful book, one which offers condolences, but also says "it is OKAY to question the universe! and yes, bad things happen to good people and NO ONE KNOWS WHY!" This is not reason for despair but a reason to stand in awe at the mystery of the world and also to acknowledge the strange universality of suffering, pain, and grief. Larrimore's concluding thoughts sum up my own feelings well: "In its jarring polyphony and in its silences, the book of Job speaks to and for the broken. In its protagonist's persistence, it speaks of hope even in the depths of despair. In its unfinalizability, it offers a shared project for sufferers and witnesses, and an outline of a community of care. As we continue the work of binding shattered lives and worlds into livable wholes, we will continue also to make books of Job."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michael Flick

    It’s hard to say if this book demands a close reading of the Biblical Book of Job before it’s read or, rather, it demands a close reading of that book after it’s read. Or both, which is the case for me. Like any good book, both this and the Biblical Job raise more questions than provide answers—in a good way. If you are in search of an explanation of evil, or why bad things happen to good people, you won’t find it here: questions, not answers. Seek and you won’t find...

  10. 4 out of 5

    The Jewish Book Council

    Read Morton Merowitz's review for the Jewish Book Council. Read Morton Merowitz's review for the Jewish Book Council.

  11. 4 out of 5

    David

    Brilliant book from a brilliant series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rolf Yngve

    Job clarified from an historical viewpoint. Worth the effort for anyone searching for the concept of evil.

  13. 4 out of 5

    BHodges

    A fantastic overview of one of the Bible's best books. The entire Princeton series is, almost without exception, outstanding, and this is one of the best of the bunch. A fantastic overview of one of the Bible's best books. The entire Princeton series is, almost without exception, outstanding, and this is one of the best of the bunch.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julia

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ann

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carson Harraman

  18. 5 out of 5

    Urquhart

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gay

  21. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Bradham

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Moore

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Thomas Morris

  25. 5 out of 5

    ann

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jahnathon Larson

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Petro

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Reichard

    A very interesting book on different views and aspects about the book of Job. I came to this book with a completely different expectation on what Larrimore was going to write about but in the end, I found this book helpful and challenging. Larrimore doesn't tackle the book of Job as most people do nowadays. He lets the book speak for itself and lets the weight of other texts and writings help develop this complex and intense book. I would say if you are going to read this book make sure you are A very interesting book on different views and aspects about the book of Job. I came to this book with a completely different expectation on what Larrimore was going to write about but in the end, I found this book helpful and challenging. Larrimore doesn't tackle the book of Job as most people do nowadays. He lets the book speak for itself and lets the weight of other texts and writings help develop this complex and intense book. I would say if you are going to read this book make sure you are familiar with some of the Ancient texts about Job because Larrimore references a lot of non-canonical literature.

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