The Book of Job as a Greek Tragedy

The Book of Job as a Greek Tragedy

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The Book of Job as a Greek Tragedy

The Book of Job as a Greek Tragedy

Read FREE!

Excerpt

In 1587 Theodore Beza began a course of lectures on Job in Geneva by dividing the book into acts and scenes, and in the following period several similar attempts were made. Lowth tells us in the 18th century that scholars all but universally regarded Job as a drama; they counted the acts, and discussed the structure of the play, the catastrophe, the introduction of the deus ex machina, just as if they were handling an Attic tragedy. In his volume on Hebrew Poetry (1753), which in so many ways makes an era in the subject, Lowth devotes an entire lecture to this question. Taking Aristotle's Poetics as an incontestible criterion, he finds that, although Job has all the other marks of tragedy, it lacks precisely the essential element, the "actio." This does not mean -- it may not be quite superfluous to remark -- that it is not suitable for acting; tragedies intended to be read, not played, were written before Aristotle's time, and he himself observes that the proper power of tragedy is felt without scenery, costume, or actors. The "action" which Aristotle demands and Lowth misses is something doing in the drama itself, the doing in which the story, "the soul of the drama," is unfolded, and by which the tragic event is determined and brought about. Lowth concludes that Job may be called a dramatic poem, but not properly a drama. This has become a critical com-

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