The Cruel God: Job's Search for the Meaning of Suffering

By Margaret Brackenbury Crook | Go to book overview
Save to active project

A Lifting of the Veil

Having come so far with the Poet and his commentators, dare we go a little further? Are we able, in some measure, to lift the veil from the fortunes of the great book when it passes from the Poet's keeping into the hands of his students, and, from them, to the world at large?

We have ventured to place the emergence of the Book of Job in the earlier half of the fifth century B.C. In those years, descendants of the exiles, from Susa in the east to the coast- lands and the islands of the undefined west, shared an emotional crisis. The dread reflections in which men indulged, the piercing questions they raised, were seized upon by the Poet and immortalized in the figure of the bravely searching Job.

When the master dies, or ceases to lead his school, his students, who have known the great work as it came into being and contributed to the debate that evoked it, have a consuming desire to possess a copy of the scroll upon which it was written. It is not beyond the range of possibility that a few of them managed to obtain a copy for themselves and held it, a beloved heirloom, for their sons and grandsons.

The Poet's students would be sons of scholars and merchants, men of substance, as the students in the schools of Sumer had been two thousand years earlier.1 Education in the ancient world was the privilege of those who moved in the upper circles of society, for the simple reason that it was costly. A work as large as the Book of Job might have a limited circulation among students wealthy enough to employ a copyist or sufficiently eager to make a copy for themselves. It would then circulate among men whose literary judgment carried weight, whose libraries were the depositories of valuable works.

Did a son or grandson of one of the Poet's students place the Book of Job in the hands of the Elder Elihu? Certainly Elihu writes as though he had given a first reading to a book that he


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Cruel God: Job's Search for the Meaning of Suffering
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 224

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?