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Job Today


USU78

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Today we covered Job in Gospel Doctrine. The presenter/teacher is an old friend whose wife has suffered terrible health problems over the past 15 years or so. It was gratifying to be there, though we didn't do much actual discussion: mostly a monologue.

Anyway, I was impressed yet again with the structure: ( 1 ) Prologue in Heaven and ( 3 ) Epilogue on Earth with G-d doing the talking, sandwiching ( 2 ) the trials of Job and the 4-way serial pontificating by Job and his 4 friends.

Assuming it's a dramatic presentation, possibly in a temple or at least cult-site setting, there are a lot of good parts, including the comic relief, Job's wife, and a dandy Deus ex machina with mustache-twirling heavy in tow.

What struck and strikes me is what appears to me to be a fairly early, possibly shortly-after-the-captivity, presentation of an attempt to make sense of why G-d would suffer His Firstborn, Israel, to be stripped of everything but existence only to be restored in miraculous fashion. The conclusions drawn, that Job/Israel, was not at fault in the fate suffered at the hands of Assyria and Babylon, but was, rather, being tried in the crucible of suffering in order to make Israel something greater than she was.

And, yes, I'm mindful of the resurrection and "restoration of all things" Job experiences in the last couple of verses as a type of human experience: Man is born, achieves spouse, children, friends and material goods, then loses everything, sooner or later, but life itself, and ultimately dies, only to have everything that was lost and more still restored to him at the resurrection.

Thoughts?

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... And, yes, I'm mindful of the resurrection and "restoration of all things" Job experiences in the last couple of verses as a type of human experience: Man is born, achieves spouse, children, friends and material goods ...

Well, in my case, I guess one outta the four ain't bad! :P;)

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was impressed yet again with the structure: ( 1 ) Prologue in Heaven and ( 3 ) Epilogue on Earth with G-d doing the talking, sandwiching ( 2 ) the trials of Job and the 4-way serial pontificating by Job and his 4 friends.

Assuming it's a dramatic presentation, possibly in a temple or at least cult-site setting, there are a lot of good parts, including the comic relief, Job's wife, and a dandy Deus ex machina with mustache-twirling heavy in tow.

Liturgical drama? Probably. See Richard Medina, "Job's Entree into a Ritual of Mourning as Seen in the Opening Prose of the Book of Job," Die Welt des Orients, 38 (2008), 194-210, for example

p. 199, "Through stylized movements, acts and speech, they enter into the liminal state . . , decouple from the sphere of day-to-day life and adopt a transitory ritual identity."

p. 204, re Job 1:20, "the wearing of garments are also part of divine protection (Gen 2:25, 3;7, 3:21); hence the removing of them means loss of it."

I don't know about you, but that is my experience in the Temple.

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