J. Gerald Janzen examines the text of the Book of Job as a literary text, within the context of the history of the religion of Israel and within the broader context of the universal human condition. He approaches the basic character of the book from a literary perspective which enables him to identify human existence as exemplified in Job and to expound on the mystery of good and evil, which gives human existence its experiential texture and which together drive humans to ask the same kind of questions asked by Job.
“Consequently, when Job in 12:22 accuses God of bringing light into existence for the purpose of disclosing the dark truth at the heart of things—a purpose which becomes clear only through experience such as Job’s—he in effect accuses God of a cosmic irony in the worst possible taste.” (Page 231)
“Is the creator of the world and the divine benefactor of humankind worshipful only by virtue of what deity does for humankind? Or is God intrinsically worshipful? Is deity capable of creating a creature who, somehow, attains to such freedom and independence, such spiritual and moral maturity, as to be in a position to choose to offer God worship and service because of God’s intrinsic worthiness to be loved? In other words, what sort of covenant is possible between God and humankind? In this way of viewing the prologue to Job, we may see how close it stands in its concerns to the story in Genesis 2–3, though with a different outcome.” (Page 41)
“The Book of Job has to do with the most painful and unavoidable questions which can arise in human experience. These questions arise in connection with experiences of arbitrary suffering. The questions begin by asking after the meaning of such suffering, but in their most extreme form they go on to call into question the meaningfulness of life and of existence as such. The sufferer begins to suspect that the fabric of meanings and the pervasive and undergirding sense of worthwhileness which normally attends our days are only something we have fabricated to mask from ourselves the pointlessness of all our days.” (Page 1)
The Interpretation series from Westminster John Knox Press is clearly established as a rich source for teaching and preaching. They have tapped the talents of a varied and esteemed group of contributors, resulting in what is clearly the essential comprehensive commentary series on the Bible.
—W. Eugene March, A.B. Rhodes Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
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—Brian K. Blount, President and Professor of New Testament at Union Theological Seminary