This little volume is an excursion through the Book of Job, the most magnificently daring work in the Old Testament.
Interest in Job is at its height today. Modern dramatic works interpreting him claim attention of readers and playgoers. Philosophic treatises relate him and his problems to those of our own day. But the persistent question remains: "What did Job actually say?"
In the following pages we try to provide an answer. The time is ripe for an attempt to relate Job to the wealth of material, old and new, now at our disposal. Thanks to the toil of the archaeologists in excavating the sacred places, schools, and libraries of the ancient Near East, we can begin to recognize more clearly what Job is saying, and we can attempt to discover more about the great poet who produced this enigmatic work.
Here we shall try to place the author in his own setting, to feel our way back to his reasons for writing as he did, and to sense the urgency that moved him when he wrote. Our knowledge of his literary sources--of the ways of writers and teachers of his own and earlier times--is rapidly expanding; we shall utilize it freely to throw light upon his method and meaning.
Something less familiar, and more experimental, is also at our disposal. We can begin to relate the author of Job to the art of his day, such as the splendid head of a votive statue from Cyprus, which is the frontispiece of this book. Its powerful features bear the stamp of qualities evinced by the Almighty when, at long last, He addresses Job. In these features, as in the final chapters of the Book of Job, we discover power, benevolence, humor, and the hint of a strain of cruelty.
What is the significance of this surprising parallel between Joban chapters and a votive head excavated from a pagan temple