Christ in the book of Job, an introduction.
The book of Job is a “wisdom book,” the same category as the Proverbs and the Ecclesiastes. The book of Job, however, begins with a Prolog which sets a stage where the central drama unfolds; and ends with an Epilog which presents conclusions, and answers the questions presented in the central part of the book. The book of Job is a Jewish Trilogy which offers a dramatic dialogue, or a debate, among friends who belonged to the group known as the “wise man.” These men were also conscientious concerning the way they lived and behaved. Most of the debate among Job and his friends consisted of cryptic poetic parallelism. However, we could confidently conclude that the book of Job is not a biography of its main character. A man like the main character, in the book of Job, most likely did not live. Analysis showing that the book of Job was composed over a more extended period, and possibly by more than one author, supports this conclusion. The book of Job has an affinity with several earlier books included in the Jewish Canon. The most probable period of writing is from the sixth to the fourth centuries before the Birth of the Messiah.
The book of Job, in its central part, presents a treatise on two subjects, prominent in the Jewish theology and logic; but have relevance in the Christian theology. The first subject, in the book of Job, concerns the “suffering of innocent people,” in light of “all-knowing God.” The second subject addresses, not explicitly, the source of the righteousness of men. There are also shorter subset-subjects embedded in the book.
The book of Job presents significant difficulty for both the translators and the interpreters of it. The problem arises from the unique style of presentation of arguments. The arguments consist of a set of elaborate debates employing the highly poetic method and words not commonly used in the Hebrew language. Some of these unusual words are found only in the book of Job, and nowhere else in the Bible. This nature of the book of Job is probably the reason why the book is longer in the Hebrew language than in its earlier translations: the Septuagint, the Targum, the Syriac, and the Vulgate.
Will continue in the next blog.