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Introduction to the Book of Job


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Title: Introduction to the Book of Job

Introduction to the Book of Job
  • BIB509-2006

1. Title and Place in Canon
  • 1.1 "As in the case of Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes),
    the disturbing thoughts of Job did not prevent
    its acceptance in the biblical canon. An
    occasional rabbinic dissent against the
    historicity of the character Job has survived
    (Baba Bathra 15a), and one Christian thinker,
    Theodore of Mopsuestia, questioned the books
    sacred authority." Crenshaw, Job, Book of, ABD

1. Title and Place in Canon
  • 1.2 "The sequence of writings varied at first,
    Job being placed between Psalms and Proverbs in
    the Talmud, and in Codex Alexandrinus, but
    preceding Psalms and Proverbs in Cyril of
    Jerusalem, Epiphanius, Jerome, Rufinus, and the
    Apostolic Canons. Jewish tradition designates the
    two different sequences by the acrostic
    abbreviations )mt (truth) for Job ()iyob)
    Proverbs (misle), and Psalms (tehill_m), and
    t)m (twin) for Psalms, Job, and Proverbs. The
    Council of Trent fixed the order with Job in the
    initial position."

1. Title and Place in Canon
  • 1.3 "The LXX placed all the poetical books after
    the historical writings but before the prophets,
    with the result that Psalms, Proverbs,
    Ecclesiastes, and Canticles preceded Job. This
    order was altered somewhat in Codex Alexandrinus,
    which placed Job between Psalms and Proverbs,
    while some of the early Fathers, including Cyril
    of Jerusalem, Epiphanius, and Jerome, knew of a
    canon in which Job preceded the Psalter and
    Proverbs." Harrison, IOT, 1022

1. Title and Place in Canon
  • 1.4 The Syriac Peshitta places Job after
    Deuteronomy in honor of the tradition that Moses
    was its author. John E. Hartley, The Book of
    Job, The New International Commentary on the Old
    Testament, (Grand Rapids, Michigan William B.
    Eerdmans, 1988), 3

1. Title and Place in Canon
  • 1.5 Talmud, Baba Bathra 14b ". . . The order of
    the Hagiographa is Ruth, the Book of Psalms, Job,
    Prophets, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs,
    Lamentations, Daniel and the Scroll of Esther,
    Ezra and Chronicles. Now on the view that Job
    lived in the days of Moses, should not the book
    of Job come first? We do not begin with a
    record of suffering. But Ruth also is a record of
    suffering? It is a suffering with a sequel of
    happiness, as R. Johanan said Why was her named
    called Ruth? Because there issued from her
    David who replenished the Holy One, blessed be
    He, with hymns and praises. Who wrote the
    Scriptures? --Moses wrote his own book and the
    portion of Balaam and Job. . . ."

1. Title and Place in Canon
  • Tamud, Baba Bathra 15a ". . . You say that Moses
    wrote his book and the section of Balaam and Job.
    This supports the opinion of R. Joshua b. Levi b.
    Lahma who said that Job was contemporary with
    Moses. The proof is that it is written here in
    connection with Job, O that my words were now
    written and it is written elsewhere in
    connection with Moses, For wherein now shall it
    be known. But on that ground I might say that he
    was contemporary with Isaac, in connnection with
    whom it is written, Who now is he that took
    venison? Or I might say that he was contemporary
    with Jacob, in connection with whom it is
    written, If so now do this or with Joseph, in
    connection with whom it is written, Where they
    are pasturing? --This cannot be maintained The
    proof that Job was contemporary with Moses is
    that it is written in continuation of the above
    words of Job, Would that they were inscribed in
    a book, and it is Moses who is called
    'inscriber', as it is written, And he chose the
    first part for himself, for there was the
    lawgiver's portion reserved."

2. Text and Versions
  • 2.1 General Summary
  • "Textual problems abound in the book, and the
    much shorter Greek versions seldom resolve the
    difficulties. Often merely a paraphrase, the
    Greek text sometimes elucidates a theological
    bias in the present MT . . . . The Syriac
    Peshitta assists in clarifying obscure meanings
    of the Hebrew text. Enough of the Targum from
    Qumran has survived to confirm the same disorder
    in chaps. 2427 as that in the Hebrew. One
    surprising feature of the Targum is its
    termination at 4211 instead of 4217. Jeromes
    Latin translation of the Hebrew text of Job was
    influenced by the Greek translations of Aquila,
    Theodotion, Symmachus, and the Alexandrian
    version as mediated by Origens Hexapla."

2. Text and Versions
  • 2.2 MT
  • 2.2.1 "The many rare words and textual
    disturbances make the Hebrew of Job one of the
    most obscure in the OT. The ancient versions
    testify to the fact that many passages were
    unintelligible even to the earliest translators."

2.2 MT
  • 2.2.2 "As in other books of the OT, so in Job
    variants that materially affect the sense,
    whether between existing MSS of ? or between the
    Qre and Kethib, are not numerous but ? is
    rendered peculiarly difficult in Job by the fact
    that the version is often free and periphrastic
    and the use of ? for determining the original
    text of ? is greatly limited by the fact that
    much of that text was not rendered at all."
    Driver Gray, A Critical and Exegetical
    Commentary on the Book of Job

2. Text and Versions
  • 2.3 LXX
  • 2.3.1 "The Greek text (LXX) is essentially a
    faithful translation of the Hebrew. A few variant
    readings bear witness to a different Hebrew text
    but many of these variants are attempts to cope
    with an obscure text. Though the translator
    fluctuated between literal renderings and
    paraphrases, in a extensive analysis of the LXX
    Orlinsky has demonstrated that its translator
    strove to render the Hebrew into Greek as
    accurately as possible. His work leads him to
    reject the view that the translator was
    frequently governed by his theological bias in
    his translations. Nevertheless, this translator,
    like any other, was influenced by his theological
    outlook, e.g., on occasion he slated the
    translation toward Gods exalted, unassailable
    perfection. The most remarkable feature of the
    oldest Greek text is that it is shorter than the
    MT by some 400 lines."

2. Text and Versions
  • 2.3 LXX
  • 2.3.2 Driver-Gray Line list

Prologue 1
Chap. 7-14 23-29
Chap. 15-21 59
Chap. 22-31 124
Chap. 32-37 114
Chap. 38-42.6 43
Epilogue 3
2.3 LXX
  • 2.3.3 "One explanation for these omissions is
    that the book of Job has been translated into
    Greek before its development was complete. But
    because the number of omissions increases
    significantly in the trite third cycle and in the
    wordy Elihu speeches, and because many of the
    lines omitted are recurring lines and thoughts, a
    more likely explanation is that the Greek
    translator abridged the speeches intentionally."

2. Text and Versions
  • 2.4 Targums
  • 2.4.1 The Targum, the Aramaic translation and
    paraphrase, follows the MT closely but has some
    of its own idiosyncrasies, e.g., interpreting
    some verses in the light of Israels history and
    adding theological explanations (e.g., 1.6, 15
    20.26-28). Hartley
  • 2.4.2 There are two mss of targums (Aramaic
    translations) to the book of Job among the Dead
    Sea Scrolls found at Wadi Qumran a substantial
    text found in Cave 11, consisting of about 20
    percent of the book in 38 fragmentary cols
    (11QtgJob) and two small ms fragments from Cave
    4, essentially comprising about a dozen
    fragmentary lines from two cols (4QtgJob). The ms
    do not overlap the Cave 4 fragments preserve

2. Text and Versions
  • text from chaps. 35, while the Cave 11 material
    preserves intermittent text from 1714 to the end
    of the book. Because of the lack of common text
    and, even more, because the Cave 4 Targum is so
    little preserved, it is an open question as to
    whether these two texts preserve the same or
    distinct Aramaic versions of Job. In any case,
    neither of these targums appears to show any
    direct relationship to the standard targum found
    in the Rabbinical Bible and available, for
    example, in the edition of Lagarde.Bruce
    Zuckerman, Job, Targums of, ABD

2. Text and Versions
  • 2.5 Peshitta
  • 2.5.1 The Syriac Peshitta, which was translated
    directly from the Hebrew, offers insight into
    some obscure words and difficult passages. As the
    textual tradition of the MT becomes more fully
    understood, the Peshittas value in the textual
    studies will increase. Hartley, The Book of
    Job, 4
  • 2.6 Latin
  • 2.6.1 After having translated Job into Latin
    from the Greek at the end of the 4th century AD,
    Jerome decided to improve the translation by
    working directly from the Hebrew text. To help
    him with this task he engaged a rabbi of Lydda,
    who opened the rabbinic tradition to him.
    Therefore, the Vulgate offers some assistance in
    determining the original Hebrew text of Job.

3. Language
  • 3.1 "The language of the book of Job is notable
    for its numerous rare words and unique examples
    of morphology and syntax. Many suggestions have
    been made to account for its singular nature.
    Since the story may have an Edomite setting, it
    has been suggested that the author was an
    Edomite, a descendant of Esau, Jacobs brother
    (Gen 25.23-24). Since Edom was famous for its
    wisdom (cf. Obadiah), it is possible that Job is
    an example of that wisdom tradition. The lack of
    any significant literary documents from that
    region prevents the testing of this hypothesis."

3. Language
  • 3.2 From the time of Ibn Ezra (12th cent AD)
    some scholars have thought that Job was
    translated into Hebrew from another language,
    perhaps Arabic or Aramaic. . . . While scholars
    frequently resort to Arabic to help explain some
    of the obscure words, the insights are not
    frequent enough and consistent enough for the
    book to have been composed in Arabic. In another
    effort to account for the peculiarity of the
    language of this book, Tur-Sinai posits that the
    MT arose from a partial translation into Hebrew
    of a lost Aramaic original. In his opinion, the
    translator left many Aramaic words and phrases
    untranslated because of their closeness to
    Hebrew. In addition, the author mistranslated
    various words. Tur-Sinai identifies the language
    as the Babylonian Aramaic of the 6th century B.C.

3. Language
  • Furthermore, he posits that the Masoretes added
    to the confession by incorrectly vocalizing many
    words. Working with these hypotheses, Tur-Sinai
    makes many new and unique interpretations of the
    MT of Job. But because he goes so far in his
    efforts, his ingenious insights are buried amidst
    many wild speculations. ." Hartley
  • 3.3 "It is clear that the author wrote in a
    dialect distinct from the Hebrew of Jerusalem, in
    which much of the OT is composed. His dialect was
    closer to Aramaic. The author may also have been
    multilingual, as are many inhabitants of a region
    in which many related languages are spoken. He
    drew skillfully on his rich vocabulary and
    knowledge of the various dialects of Hebrew to
    probe the depth of his subject." Hartley

4. O.T. Parallels Proverbs
Job Proverbs
4.8 22.8
5.17b 3.11a
12.13 8.14 (cf. Isa 11.2 Ps. 147.5)
15.7b 8.25b
18.5a, 6b 21.7a 13.9b 24.20b
18.7a 4.12
26.6 15.11a
26.10b 8.27b
28.15-19 3.14-15 8.11, 19
4. O.T. Parallels Psalms
Job Psalms
5.16b 107.42.b
5.17 94.12a
6.25a 119.103
10.20b 21a 39.14 (Eng. 13)
12.21a 24b 107.40
18.7-10 140.5-6 (Eng. 18)
19.10 52.7 (Eng. 5)
19.13, 14 88.19 (Eng. 18)
22.19a 107.42a
4. O.T. Parallels Psalms
Job Psalms
29.12 72.12
33.14 62.12 (Eng. 11)
33.24-25 49.8-10 (Eng. 7-9) cf. Ps 34.7-8 (Eng. 6-7)
34.14-15 104.29
4. O.T. Parallels Lamentations
Job Lamentations
6.4 7.20 16.12 3.12
9.18b 3.15a
12.4 3.14 (similar Jer. 20.7b)
16.9b 10a 2.16a b
19.7-8 3.7-9
30.9 3.14 cf. 3.63
4. O.T. Parallels Other Books
Job 1.21 Eccl 5.14 (Eng. 15)
Job 19.17 Jer 20.8
Job 19.24 Jer 17.1
Job 5.18 Hos 6.1 (cf. Deut. 32.39)
Job 13.28 Hos 5.12
Job 9.8b Amos 4.13d
Job 9.9a Amos 5.8a
Job 18.16 Amos 2.9c
Job 31.15 Mal 2.10a
4. O.T. Parallels Other Books
Job 42.2b Gen 11.6b
Job 42.17 Gen 25.8 35.29
Job 4.16c 1 Kgs 19.12b
4. O.T. Parallels Isaiah
Job Isaiah
9.8a 44.24c
12.9b 41.20a
12.24-25 19.14
14.11 19.5
15.35a 59.4d (cf. Ps 7.15 Eng. 14)
16.17a 53.9b
26.12a 51.15b
5. Authorship
  • 5.1 "The author of Job hides nameless in the
    background of his work while demonstrating
    overwhelming sensitivity to the human plight,
    capacity for massive theological understanding,
    grasp of vast areas of culture and learning,
    insight into deep struggles among opinionated
    persons, and skill in literary craftsmanship.
    Rarely in the history of artistic endeavor has
    anyone left such a noble legacy yet so little
    evidence of his identity, circumstances, or
    motive." LaSor, Hubbard Bush, Old Testament
    Survey, 562

6. Literary Genres Used
  • 6.1 Lament
  • description of suffering 6.2-4, 11-13 7.3-6
    9.25-28 10.1 16.6-17 17.1-2, 6-9 19.13-20
  • apprehensive fear
  • of death 13.28 14.18-22 17.11-16
  • of God 23.15-17
  • sorrow at general human suffering 7.1-2 14.1-12
  • justification of lamenting 6.5-7
  • complaint
  • against friends 6.14-27 12.2-6 13.1-3 16.2-5
    17.10 19.2-6 21.34 26.2-4.
  • against God 7.7-10, 11-21 9.17-18, 21-24
    10.2-7, 13-17 16.7-14 19.7-12

6. Literary Genres Used
  • 6.2 Lawsuit
  • with the friends 13.4-12
  • with God 9.2-4, 14-16, 19-20, (28b), 29-33
    13.13-17 (purposed), 18-27 23.3-7 (wish)
  • 6.3 Petition
  • to the friends 6.28-29 19.21-22
  • to God
  • wish to die 6.8-10 7.15
  • wish for some relief before death 7.7-10, 16-21
    10.18-22 14(5-6), 13-17
  • request for the easing of his suffering so that
    he can dispute with God 9.34-35 13.20-21
  • plea for vindication 16.18 17.3-4 19.23-24
  • plea for deliverance form enemies 27.7-10

6. Literary Genres Used
  • 6.4 Hymnic lines in praise of God 9.5-13
    10.8-12 12.13-25 23.8-9, 13-14 26.5-14
  • 6.5 Avowal of innocence 6.28-30 16.17
    23.10-12 27.2-6
  • 6.6 Affirmation of trust in God 16.19-22
    19.25-27 23.6-7
  • 6.7 Wisdom instruction 12.7-12
  • 6.8 Warning to friends 17.5 19.28-29
  • 6.9 Disputation on the success of wicked
    21.2-33 24.1-17 (followed by a curse on the
    wicked, 24.18-24, and a challenge to be proven
    wrong, 24.25)

7. Structure of Job
  • 1. Prologue 1.1-2.10
  • 2. Discourses 2.11-31.40
  • 2.1 Setting 2.11-13
  • 2.2 Job Curses the Day of his Birth 3.1-26
  • 2.3 The First Discourse Cycle 4.1-14.22
  • 2.3.1 Eliphaz Speech 4.1-5.27
  • 2.3.2 Job Speech 6.1-7.21
  • 2.3.3 Bildad Speech 8.1-22
  • 2.3.4 Job Speech 9.1-10.22
  • 2.3.5 Zophar Speech 11.1-20
  • 2.3.6 Job Speech 12.1-14.22

7. Structure of Job
  • 2.4 The Second Discourse Cycle 15.1-21.34
  • 2.4.1 Eliphaz Speech 15.1-35
  • 2.4.2 Job Speech 16.1-17.16
  • 2.4.3 Bildad Speech 18.1-21
  • 2.4.4 Job Speech 19.1-29
  • 2.4.5 Zophar Speech 20.1-29
  • 2.4.6 Job Speech 21.1-34
  • 2.5 The Third Discourse Cycle 22.1-31.40
  • 2.5.1 Eliphaz Speech 22.1-30
  • 2.5.2 Job Speech 23.1-24.17
  • 2.5.3 Bildad Speech 25.1-6 26.5-14
  • 2.5.4 Job Speech 26.1-4 27.1-7
  • 2.5.5 Zophar Speech 27.8-23 24.18-20, 22-25

7. Structure of Job
  • 3. A Hymn to Wisdom 28.1-28
  • 4. Job Speech 29.1-31.40
  • 5. The Words of Elihu 32.1-37.24
  • 6. God Answers Job out of the Whirlwind 38.1-42.6
  • 6.1 Gods First Answer 38.1-40.5
  • 6.2 Gods Second Answer 40.6-42.6
  • 7. Epilogue 42.7-17
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