Show MoreJonathan M. Reiland
English 4206 [ 11 November 2010 ]
The Book of Job: An Examination Of all of the stories, fables, proverbs, and histories of the Bible, The Book of Job is one of the most compelling due to its unique literary style and the complex treatment of the issue of suffering. Unlike other books of the Bible, The Book of Job details a conflict between man and God within a poetic structure, and is the only book in the Bible to take on the problem of suffering as its main purpose. Throughout the book, Job pleads to God for all of the misfortunes that have befallen him. This type of discourse found in Job cannot be found anywhere else in scripture. Upon examination of the roles of protagonist and…show more content…
Job’s purpose is to follow God even through extreme circumstances. Satan’s purpose is to test whether or not Job is truly a follower of God. This ambiguity is clarified from the reader’s perspective; each individual’s own bias, interpretations, and beliefs determine the role of Satan and Job. If Satan is put forth as the protagonist in the conflict between Job and God, then Job can be seen as the antagonist. The onus is then on Satan to progress the plot and it is his mission and purpose to bring havoc and destruction upon all of Job’s possessions and all that he holds dear. Job, on the other hand, is working against Satan by pleading to God to cease the suffering that Satan is placing upon Job. Job is clearly the antagonist in this situation. Most people are more likely to view Job as the good guy, as the victim who is a pawn between God and Satan. The problem of suffering arises when it is asserted that God is morally just and righteous. Since God is allowing Satan to bring suffering into Job’s life and ultimately the world, God is ultimately responsible for everything that takes place on earth. Job pleads to God in order to obtain an answer for all of the misfortunes that have befallen him. Morristan writes, “They [Job’s friends] believe that, contrary to appearances, Job is being punished for some sin. Job, on the other hand, proclaims his innocence” (341). After Satan destroys Job’s home, family, cattle, and general
Suffering and The Book of Job Essay
1690 Words7 Pages
Suffering and The Book of Job
The concepts of suffering addressed in "The Book of Job" have no relevance to the ideas of suffering expressed in eastern religions such as Buddhism and Jainism. In fact, for Buddhists, the cause of suffering was discovered some 2,500 years ago by a prince from India named Sidhartha Gautama. This man, who was known as the Buddha, taught that suffering was caused by the craving for material things; ergo, cessation from suffering could be attained by detaching oneself from the things of this world (Ianuale). Had Job been exposed to these strictly eastern concepts of suffering, his outlook on his vicissitudes would have been quite different indeed.
"The Book of Job" is an epic…show more content…
Job argues with each man, never wavering in his insistence that he is guiltless. This great debate continues until Job becomes tired of his friends' ill advice and expresses his desire to argue his case with God himself. His friends fall silent, knowing that they cannot sway Job from his self-righteousness. God then appears to Job as a powerful whirlwind and questions Job, unmercifully, as to whether he could perform the works of God. It is through this barrage that Job comes to accept, without question, his lot, and the awesome power of God.
The end of the story has Job restored to his former state, living a long and prosperous life. As for his friends, they are not so lucky. God punishes them for misrepresenting Him, and asks that they give burnt offerings to Him, while Job prays for them.
Alas, poor Job is left to ponder why such misfortunes were heaped upon him, for God never really answers this question. Moreover, throughout history, people have been pondering the very same question. Many books and essays have been written on "The Book of Job" in an attempt to try to explain the cause of suffering, but the theories that have been extracted have had primarily western theological overtones.
In "God Has Need of Man", Archibald MacLeish dives head-first into the question of suffering. MacLeish finds that the meaning of suffering lies in the idea that God needs the love of man to exist.