Monday, March 02, 2009

How to Enjoy the Book of Job

Remember that most of the book is poetry. The introduction that sets up the story is prose. The last chapter is prose. In between, we do not have a logical and rational development of the problem of evil. No, we have an ancient middle eastern love for coming at a problem with a profusion of colorful images and metaphors. The same thing is sometimes repeated but in different combinations and permutations.

The author, whoever they were, lived in our world and loved it. They were not a denier of the flesh as some would be in the early Christian centuries. God and all the interlocutors draw upon what we call the natural world for many of their lessons. Notice how God loves his creation and describes the activities of creatures he has created. He derives much joy from them.

The book is about sense. Imagery from and about all the senses is there. Among his many ills, Job complains about not being able to taste.

We men often have difficulty with expressing ourselves, what we see and how we feel. Job, Jeremiah, and the other prophets are ancient examples of men who expended great effort and spoke from out of the depths of their being. They were not evidently afraid to tell God they hurt and they did not like what He was putting them through. These guys were emotional. They were generally way ahead of contemporary ancient literature in this.

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