Book of Job--an ancient example of "cut and paste"?

Most theologians seem to argue that the Book of Job was put together by different authors at different times. For example: (1) Did the same author write the prologue, epilogue, and poetic body of the work. (2) Job chapters 24-27 appear to be seriously disarranged. (3). Did the original version contain the poem on wisdom (Job 28), the Elihu discourses (Job 32-37), and (4), God’s intervention in Job 38-41. If so, this puts the divine inspiration of the Book of Job in serious doubt. Something I’ve long wondered about, as it appears to depict the Almighty as a mercurial sadist, who doesn’t even have the decency to answer Job’s questions about why was he so ill-treated.

:popcorn:

You are probably referring to the historical-critical method of biblical interpretation. That method is meant for scholars not for the average layman. Besides that, it is strictly secularist with secularist interests driving it, so it is unreliable and nearly unusable except by those who have enough knowledge to pick the pearls out of the refuse.

As to God’s treatment of Job, no he didn’t mistreat Job. The reason God answers him as he does is because Job’s questions can’t be answered by mere human reason–although God is not unreasonable. The mind of God is far above our own nor does he need to answer to us for anything. Rather, it is we who must answer to him. Besides this, Job’s questions could only be answered in Christ, who wasn’t yet come. It is in Christ whom Job looked forward to when he declared “I know that my redeemer lives.” If the very angels of heaven cannot fully comprehend the mind of God and his plans we can hardly claim that we should have that privilege. Still, God has now, in the fullness of time, revealed himself in Christ. He is the answer to all our questions.

Divine inspiration isn’t based on the fact that one book was written by one or two men, but wheter or not God’s message is transcribed in it. And it is.

There are many ways to look into this, but in no way did God mistreat Job. Job had no relationship with God, but merely tried to live relunctantly according to His precepts without understanding them, in order to keep his prosperity. The removal of all well-fare and health allowed Job to understand that it wasn’t his sinless lifestyle that made him worthy of His grace, as he frequently argues when rebutting his friends (I don’t have the verses right now, I haven’t read the book in a while now). He goes on saying how he’s given to the poor, been righteous to all, etc. etc. without mentioning once that he “walked with God”, as it is decribed in other righteous men such as Noah, Abram (yes, I said it right) and others, because he didn’t. He simply did these things expecting His blessings, and not His love. That’s prosperity theology (which is pratically the thing that both he and his friends, excluding Elihu, seemed to believe), and that is, demonstrably through this book, completley false.

God did not put Job in such misery for His sadistic enjoyment, but to cause Job to have a change in heart over his view of Him. Let us keep in mind, the very first time Job addresses God directly is only in chapter 30. He needed to go through that much to even dare to talk to Him as the Father that He rightfully is. And God’s final address to Job in the end of the book contemplated His greatness, showing that any of the good things that Job had were not products of his good works, but graces from Our Lord’s love and will.

I can talk more about this, but I’ll leave it at that for now. Any questions, spew them over! :thumbsup:

To take up the issue of authorship, the central story certainly describes a real person. In OT times much was passed down as folklore and mythological story telling, which doesn’t mean the stories were false, it’s merely how stories/truths were passed from one generation to the next. When the story was written down it had added amendments to it meant to clarify it’s context and meaning for the readers of that time and culture. The truths is contains, though are transcendent since they are divine truth that teaches us about God and our relationship with him. Scripture wasn’t directly dictated by God to human beings, rather human beings were inspired by the Holy Spirit in what they wrote, thus whatever is true is acceptable, even if it comes from a non-Hebrew/non-Christian author. Catholics are not either/or believers. We are both/and believers, which means that a story/Scripture passage may have more than on meaning and may teach us more than one lesson. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this about scriptural interpretation:

The four ways of interpreting Scripture: #s 115-119.

The senses of Scripture
115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.
116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: "All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal."83
117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.

  1. The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism.84
  2. The moral sense. The events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written “for our instruction”.85
  3. The anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, “leading”). We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem.86
    118 A medieval couplet summarizes the significance of the four senses:
    The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith;
    The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.87

119 "It is the task of exegetes to work, according to these rules, towards a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church to form a firmer judgment. For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God."88

There was no Holy Spirit during the Old Testament ^

The visionary Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich claims exactly that! She says the Book of Job was reworked by Moses, and Solomon.

tanbooks.benedictpress.com/index.php/page/shop:flypage/product_id/610/keywords/emmerich/:wink:

Visions are not proofs for or against anything since they are not part of the deposit of the Faith. It was up to the Magisterium of the Church to determine which books were part of the canon and why. It doesn’t matter if Job was authored by one person or a hundred, it’s still part of the word of God and completely reliable in matters of faith and morals. That’s all the matters for our consideration. We cannot possibly know what consistuted any original text since we don’t have it. But we can trust that the Church is led by the Holy Spirit in deciding such matters.

Ratzinger didn’t find the method to be ‘nearly unusable’ or to be ‘refuse’… :wink:

It is in Christ whom Job looked forward to when he declared “I know that my redeemer lives.”

That’s a very difficult claim to make. Is there a sense of Scripture in which we see that this can refer to Christ? Absolutely. Does that mean that Job recognized this? No, there’s nothing to suggest that this claim holds up. Job is responding to people who are telling him to give up hope. Job says, “nope, I won’t give up. My goel will rescue me!” In Hebrew culture, relatives would make promises to one another – if one was captured and in distress, the other would rescue him. The only reason that a person might give up hope is if his goel was already dead. Job is simply saying that he has a reason to hope to be rescued from his predicament.

I said it was “nearly unusable” and “refuse” for lay people not for Bible scholars who know how to “pick the pearls out of the refuse.” I see lay people who are seriously confused by the historical-critical method because they are not Bible scholars like then Cardinal Ratzinger. I believe it is irresponsible to present that method to lay people for their study because they don’t have the education and exegetical tools to discern what is useful in that method and what isn’t.

That’s a very difficult claim to make. Is there a sense of Scripture in which we see that this can refer to Christ? Absolutely. Does that mean that Job recognized this? No, there’s nothing to suggest that this claim holds up. Job is responding to people who are telling him to give up hope. Job says, “nope, I won’t give up. My goel will rescue me!” In Hebrew culture, relatives would make promises to one another – if one was captured and in distress, the other would rescue him. The only reason that a person might give up hope is if his goel was already dead. Job is simply saying that he has a reason to hope to be rescued from his predicament.

I am perfectly right in my assessment of Job’s beliefs. All the OT partriachs and prophets were looking forward to the One who would “crush” Satan from the time God made his promised to Adam and Eve. It was this belief which directed their dependence on God that was counted to them as righteousness. Jesus and the Apostles taught this truth.

The Scriptures are not to be interpreted literally alone, as I cited from the CCC. While your interpertation has merit it certainly isn’t the only way to understand Job’s faith.

I can’t answer your biblical critque, but as far as the meaning of the book, it is … blessed be the name of the Lord.

In all of his suffering, it comes down to this simple phrase … blessed be the name of the Lord.

What trust. This is what all the saints have in their blessings and sufferings … blessed be the name of the Lord. Never a complaint, just … blessed be the name of the Lord. For they consider suffering as a negative blessing and accept with eagerness both as a blessing.

That is not to say that many cannot understand that.

May God bless and keep you. May God’s face shine on you. May God be kind to you and give you peace.

FWIW, G.K. Chesterton had a good essay (written in 1907) on the book of Job.

cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/job.html

Your right of course. But, visions can inspire and open up new possibilities. In this example, the visionary claimed there was three versions of Job. If we then find the other versions, we can be open minded about them. It may also inspire people on understanding the Book of Job. The original poster said many scholars already speculate about, what this visionary claimed. Would a study of writing style, show Solomon produced the version of Job we have now?

If it’s ‘refuse’, then it’s ‘refuse’, regardless who’s picking through it. :shrug:

I believe it is irresponsible to present that method to lay people for their study because they don’t have the education and exegetical tools to discern what is useful in that method and what isn’t.

It would be ‘irresponsible’, so to speak, to ask someone without sufficient background to investigate and draw their own conclusions; but, the critique of the method per se doesn’t hold, I’d assert, nor does it make sense to expect that people would be given the method’s results without a discussion of what the method was doing.

I am perfectly right in my assessment of Job’s beliefs. All the OT partriachs and prophets were looking forward to the One who would “crush” Satan from the time God made his promised to Adam and Eve.

So… Job is saying “I’m in a world of hurt right now … and you guys are giving me grief right now… but I’m looking forward to a future Messiah and the day of the Lord” ??? Seriously? It’s reasonable for you to claim that the allegorical sense here is the anticipation of the Messiah who will be the ‘goel’ for all nations; but to claim that this is what Job’s intent was, in his statement… that’s just untenable. :shrug:

The Scriptures are not to be interpreted literally alone, as I cited from the CCC. While your interpertation has merit it certainly isn’t the only way to understand Job’s faith.

Umm… in Job’s day, there was no understanding of heaven; part of the drama in the narrative is that everyone expects him to own up to his sins and receive his just punishment (death & residence in sheol) – after all, that’s how they understood things back then (good people get rewarded in this life, and evil people get punished by loss of life). Job’s faith is in a God who will rescue him now – and that’s precisely how the audience who received this story would have understood it! That’s Job’s question to God: “why are you punishing me; I’m not a bad guy?!?” And in fact, that’s precisely the result that they see – Job gets back double what he lost, because he retained faith in God (even when it didn’t make sense to him)! We, looking back at the story, see foreshadowings of Christ; Job (the character in the story) would never have had the level of knowledge to reach this kind of understanding.

Not really. It’s not so cut and dried as that because quite orthodox Bible scholars, such as Benedict XVI do employ what they find useful in that method.

It would be ‘irresponsible’, so to speak, to ask someone without sufficient background to investigate and draw their own conclusions; but, the critique of the method per se doesn’t hold, I’d assert, nor does it make sense to expect that people would be given the method’s results without a discussion of what the method was doing.

I have no idea what you’re trying to say here, but please don’t explain again. :wink:

So… Job is saying “I’m in a world of hurt right now … and you guys are giving me grief right now… but I’m looking forward to a future Messiah and the day of the Lord” ??? Seriously? It’s reasonable for you to claim that the allegorical sense here is the anticipation of the Messiah who will be the ‘goel’ for all nations; but to claim that this is what Job’s intent was, in his statement… that’s just untenable. :shrug:

The same could be said of this passage:

Isa. 7[10] Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz,
[11] “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”
[12] But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.”
[13] And he said, "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also?
[14] Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Imman’u-el.
[15] He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.
[16] For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.

But the Church interprets it referring to Mary and Christ, while is also refers to an event to happen at the time. It’s both/and not either/or.

Umm… in Job’s day, there was no understanding of heaven; part of the drama in the narrative is that everyone expects him to own up to his sins and receive his just punishment (death & residence in sheol) – after all, that’s how they understood things back then (good people get rewarded in this life, and evil people get punished by loss of life). Job’s faith is in a God who will rescue him now – and that’s precisely how the audience who received this story would have understood it! That’s Job’s question to God: “why are you punishing me; I’m not a bad guy?!?” And in fact, that’s precisely the result that they see – Job gets back double what he lost, because he retained faith in God (even when it didn’t make sense to him)! We, looking back at the story, see foreshadowings of Christ; Job (the character in the story) would never have had the level of knowledge to reach this kind of understanding.

It doesn’t matter because many OT people spoke prophetically without full knowledge that what they said referred to the Messiah and the coming age of grace. Even pagans spoke prophetically when the Spirit moved them. But they spoke prophetically just the same. Job may or may not have meant immediate salvation from his earthly difficulties, but his statement is a statement of faith in God’s plans for him and that plan did include eternal life for him and for all who trusted in God whether Job understood that or not. It’s perfectly all right to read it as a prophecy. Again, I refer to how the Church interprets Scripture as cited in the CCC not how some Bible scholars using whatever method interpret it. And that’s all I have to say about it.

LOL! Just that, if we told folks “here’s what this passage tells us”, without explaining the historical-critical approach or asserting that it’s valuable, then we get the kind of ‘witch-hunt’ mentality we’ve seen here. :wink:

The same could be said of this passage:

Isa. 7[10] Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz,

But the Church interprets it referring to Mary and Christ, while is also refers to an event to happen at the time. It’s both/and not either/or.

I agree! You’ve got the context of the conversation between Ahaz and God (through Isaiah), and the context of God’s prophecy of Jesus. But, that’s not relevant, since it doesn’t apply to your claim, which was, “it is in Christ whom Job looked forward to when he declared ‘I know that my redeemer lives.’” Do you mean that the Church understands that Job’s words apply to Christ, or that Job understood that he was talking about Christ? I agree with the former; but it sure seemed like you were saying the latter – which is what I’m claiming is untenable.

Did I misunderstand you, then, when you said that Job was looking forward to Christ? :hmmm:

It’s perfectly all right to read it as a prophecy.

Absolutely it is! What’s not perfectly all right is to get anachronistic and ascribe knowledge to Job that is completely beyond what he could possibly have known!

Gorgias;12906425, I am not going to debate with you. I know what I’m saying is perfectly sound. I believe we’re talking past one another, but I do understand what you are saying, and I disagree. You are limiting Job’s experience to the merely physical, which is not enough to explain his faith/trust in God. The OP deserves to have his thread stay on topic, I am bowing out now, so you need not bother to reply. Have a nice day.

I think you’ve just guaranteed that lay people will go flocking to historical-critical literature. Maybe it would be more beneficial to talk about authors who are easy to follow.
:thumbsup:

You think so? I doubt it. I think most Catholics on CAF know better than to mess around with a method that can be detrimental to their faith. In any case, I’d be too late if that were my intention. Lay people have already been misled and fooled by the h-c method foisted on them by well-meaning teachers determined to “set them straight” about biblical interpretation, who misused the h-c method or misunderstood what they were doing. The result is an entire generation of confused Catholics (indeed many Protestants as well) who lost their faith or had it seriously damaged. I am the very last person on earth who would urge people to “flock” to that method. There are several reliable Bible commentaries that people can consult, such as Haydock’s, that quote Church Fathers and the best theologians the Church has produced.

It is bizarre to me to see threads here with Catholics denouncing the historical critical method. I understand it from fundamentalists, but not Catholics. Historical critical is the method used by most (probably the vast majority) of Catholic theologians and biblical scholars - as reflected in the approved versions of Catholic bibles. We are not fundamentalists.

On the actual topic of the thread, I think it is clear that Job is the work of more than one hand. It is an extended parable, which has been redacted, edited and added to at various points. I do not agree with the OP’s suggestion that his somehow calls the inspiration of the work into question. There is no reason to believe that inspiration requires that each book of the bible have a single author. If that were the case, it is likely none of the Old Testament, and little of the New, would qualify.

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