Thursday, May 2, 2013

Poetic Unevenness in The Book of Job

In the Book of Job, the writer does some pretty amazing stuff with Hebrew poetry. All of Job's poetry is rather innovative and creative. It is as if Job himself is an extremely skilled minstrel above perhaps even David himself. He borrows from aramaic to create new words that make the whole text sound different and to keep rhymes consistent, and he uses imagery unlike any found elsewhere in the Bible. The interlocutors of Job, who insist on Job's guilt and proclaim all suffering as the result of a just God's righteous anger, all use poetry that is rather pat and ordinary. It isn't much different than that found in the rest of the Psalms. The words used are common ones, and the imagery is familiar to any who are frequent readers of the Psalms and Prophetic Books. So Job comes off as someone more creative and far more intelligent than his interlocutors. It is a subtle but powerful way of indicating that Job is closer to God, and is in the right.

I find this stuff so cool. The subtleties of the Bible are just something else.

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