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The theology of the book of Job and its use by some modern thinkers

Baiden, E. K. (1978) The theology of the book of Job and its use by some modern thinkers. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The thesis is written in contrast to the conventional idea that the righteous is always rewarded and the wicked is always punished. It begins with an introduction about the development of the religious life of the Israelites in relation to the justice of God. God's justice appeared to be challenged when it was realized that the wicked triumphed in undeserved prosperity. The Psalmists lamented over the undeserved prosperity of the wicked. Isaiah 55, the vicarious sufferer and the book of Wisdom Chapter 5 are introduced to throw more light on the whole problem of suffering. The authorship of the book of Job, and the theology of sin and suffering follow. The prologue is introduced to provide a discussion about the prosperity of the righteous. Satan enters into a wager with Yahweh whether Job earns his prosperity by means of his righteousness. Job is stripped of his prosperity and of his honour to see what consequence this might bring. Job at first accepts the challenge calmly without argument, but his three friends who come to console him, turn against him and accuse him of committing sin that is why he is suffering. Job replies that he has not sinned. He even brings charges against God as a Judge. Job establishes his firm faith in God; since God is a righteous Judge, He will in the end pronounce the right judgement. At the last God vindicates Job of his innocence and justifies him by his faith. The wisdom poem shows that wisdom belongs to God. The Elihu speeches show among other truths that suffering is educative, for it humbles pride and draws man nearer God. The Yahweh speeches show that there are mighty things in creation compared with, which man is infinitesimal in God's providential care, and that though there are mysteries in the world, including suffering. it is enough for man in his suffering to have God. The epilogue describes the restoration of the prosperity of Job and shows that God rewards man by grace and not by righteousness. Barth discusses Job as a faithful witness and emphasizes that God was not under obligation to Job and Job acted as a free agent; he did not know the argument between God and Satan. Jung describes the book of Job as a myth or an image and presents God as capricious in breaking his covenant for not protecting Job. Fortes introduces West African Religion with emphasis on fortune as not of one's making, but as one's destiny and this is equated with the doctrine of grace. The conclusion deals with suffering as a test of faith and as vicarious, with reference to life after death in Wisdom Chapter 5. It indicates how Jesus gives a better understanding of suffering on earth and in life hereafter.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1978
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:42

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