The_Book_of_Job - The Book of Job Introduction The book of...

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The Book of Job Introduction The book of Job is named after its protagonist, innocent man who suffered loss and endured pain through no fault of his own. For many, the man Job is most well-known through the cliché about "the patience of Job," derived from the traditional translation of Jas 5.11. The Greek term that is translated as "patience," however, means not so much patience as "endurance," "persistence," or "steadfastness." And, indeed, the Job that one encounters in the book that bears his name is not patient, but he is persistent in his claim that he has suffered undeservedly. The provenance of the book is unknown. Its author is anonymous, while its date and place of origin are matters of debate. Most scholars place the bulk of the book, if not its final form, somewhere between the seventh and the fourth centuries BCE, although also recognizing that the final form is the result of a complex history of transmission. The prose framework, what are now the book's prologue (1.1-2.13) and epilogue (42.7.17), consists of a narrative that is likely based on an ancient folktale about the undeserved suffering and final restoration of the protagonist. The rest of the book consists of dialogues (written in poetic style) between Job and the friends who had ostensibly come to comfort him (3.1-31.40), and between Job and God (38.1-42.6). Intruding into this material are a poetic interlude on the inaccessibility of Wisdom (28.1-28) and the speeches of Elihu (32.1-37.24) that appear to have been added at a later time. Interpreters have called attention to certain linguistic and stylistic shifts, as well as occasional inconsistencies in the story line. Such discrepancies have bee explained in terms of multiple authors, a single author with multiple sources, a primary work that has been redacted two or three times, or a single author who has worked with the materials over a long period of time. Whatever the truth, the book in its present form must be read as a whole. Although the book of Job in its entirety is unique in ancient literature, it draws on a variety of traditions and genres that were known throughout the ancient Near East. The character of Job himself is presented as a non-Israelite from the land of Uz (perhaps northern Arabia), and it is likely that versions of the story of Job were told by many of the peoples of the region. In the sixth century BCE the prophet Ezekiel mentions Job, along with Noah and Dan'el, as heroes of antiquity who saved others by their righteousness (Ezek 14.14, 20). Despite its mention by Ezekiel, this Dan'el (spelled "Daniel" in the NRSV translation, but footnoted as "Danel") is not the same Daniel as the biblical book of that name, but an ancient Canaanite king whose story is known from the tablets found in the ruins of the second millennium BCE city of Ugarit. Similar to Ezekiel's setting of Job among the legendary figures of antiquity is the way in which
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The_Book_of_Job - The Book of Job Introduction The book of...

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