Bonus episode tomorrow: we look at the Book of Job and the fascinating question of why a good, all-powerful God permits pain and suffering. And what happens when a lowly human dares to ask this question? The dialogue between God and Job is without a doubt one of the greatest moments in all of literature.
Joan Acocella offers some thoughts on the significance of the book and the reasons why it still fascinates today:
I believe that if you woke a lot of people in the middle of the night, and asked them why they cared about the Book of Job, they would name the most troubling, least sympathetic character in that document: God. He, not Job, is the star of the Book, and though he is not loving or fair, that seems to be part of the attraction.
Image credit: William Blake’s “Behemoth and Leviathan,” creatures of an all-powerful God. courtesy Morgan Library & Museum (newyorker.com).
7 thoughts on “Sneak Preview: The Most Bewildering Book in the Bible”
Job is the only book in the bible i have ever liked.
Very interesting (and in some ways not surprising!). I’d be interested to hear your take on tomorrow’s episode!
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I read Job this summer during a personal difficult period and I found the disturbing questions about God that it raises helpful to me.
I’m glad to hear it, and I think you’re not alone in finding Job helpful. It’s an admirable aspect of the Bible (whether viewed as a literary text or a religious one) that it takes these on these questions directly. Thanks for the comment, and good luck to you!
‘The most troubling, least sympathetic character is God’. I tend to look at it differently. Yes, God allowed Satan to take basically everything from Job in his Earthly life, but that was to draw him to Him. It was a labor of love. But, I am no Biblical scholar, so my opinion may not hold much weight.
I think that’s a great point. If you start with the premise that God’s love (or I guess maybe heaven) is the ultimate positive end result, does that justify the infliction of pain and suffering as a means of getting there? I’m not a Biblical scholar either – but I think your opinion (and mine) are perfectly valid nevertheless. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
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I think those who have not read Job would be surprised how like themselves he was, always complaining, thinking he had done all that was right when may be had he given more thought to it all he could have done more. Job speaks for us all at times. Really good post jackie.