This dissertation investigates the tension between the two portrayals of Job in the current form of the biblical book of Job in light of narrative literary theory (ch. 1). It supports the current consensus that the two portraits of Job are best understood as belonging to two separate accounts about Job—one written primarily in prose and serving as a literary frame and the other written primarily in poetry—and confirms that the appropriate division between the two accounts is between 2:10 and 11 and between 42:9 and 10, thereby giving each account a complete literary plot structure (ch. 2).
This dissertation then advances current scholarship by examining each account in isolation in order to identify its unique characterization and plot elements and by showing how many texts that appear to conflict with each other are actually consistent within their own accounts (chs. 3, 4). A close reading of texts that appear near the seams between the two accounts highlights the thematic, verbal, and characterization links that connect 2:8 with the beginning of the poetic account and 2:10 with the end of the poetic account. This dissertation then applies the insights and terminology of the Russian Formalist school of literary criticism to the book of Job in order to propose that the most coherent reading of Job emerges when the two accounts are read non-sequentially—that is, when entire poetic account is understood to overlap with 2:8-10 in the prose account (ch. 5).
The proposed, overlapping reading of Job succeeds both in accounting for conflicts between the prose account—where Job responds to his calamities with instant and extraordinary piety—and the poetic account—where Job’s eventual pious response comes only after prolonged bitterness, accusations, and discontentment—and in explaining the overarching coherence of the combined accounts, which may now be understood to provide a unified perspective on the Principle of Retribution, on the Satan, on God, and on Job. Together, the two accounts reveal all that transpired to bring about Job’s transformation from bitter sorrow in 2:8 to remarkable submission to God in 2:10.
|Advisor:||Sperling, David, Kalman, Jason|
|School:||Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (Ohio)|
|Department:||School of Graduate Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- Ohio|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Biblical studies, Literature, Near Eastern Studies|
|Keywords:||Book of job, Dischronologized, Literary device, Narrative, Non-sequential, Overlapping|
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