Ancient Near East Lecture Series: "A Biography of Job"
Wed, November 16, 2011 • 5:00 PM • Union, Sinclair Suite
A lecture by Edward L. Greenstein (Bar Ilan University)
Job is a most intriguing figure whose story has excited the imaginations of artists of every kind. Readers may be curious to know more about the character Job, but the book that portrays him presents only fragments of his biography. Although biographical works are very popular in our world, the biographical form as such was apparently not typical of ancient Near Eastern literature or of the Hebrew Bible. Some moderns have tried to reconstruct Job’s story by superimposing a biographical pattern drawn from elsewhere, but such readings run up against the details of the biblical text. Not all is lost, however. Readers may restore many aspects of Job’s biography by asking questions and seeking answers in the allusions, images, and suggestive gaps in the book. No background in Hebrew or Biblical studies is necessary in order to join in this adventure of the literary imagination. We may discover that Job’s story is both sadder and more inspirational than we had formerly thought.