Thinking Out Loud

January 23, 2017

How Factual is The Book of Job?

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 12:18 pm
Job after a particularly bad day

Job after a particularly bad day (Wikipedia)

Growing up in a fairly conservative Christian culture, there are things I simply never questioned. The Book of Job was one of them. There was, in my opinion, a guy named Job to whom God permitted a great testing to take place, and that was that.

On the theological spectrum, I probably still rank conservative, though one’s general hermeneutics and one’s position on current social issues can often seem unaligned. Furthermore, within Evangelicalism we’ve had a number of challenges in the last decade or so to the early chapters in Genesis, some of which I believe has affected me often because of the respect I hold for the authors and speakers calling for a more allegorical reading.

So when a friend emailed on the weekend and asked if Job’s story is factual, like to proverbial politician I found myself hedging my bets. I grabbed a few print commentaries and noted that the book is rooted in a particular location — a sign of a not-made-up story — and that Job is mentioned in two other books. But I found myself re-examining the issue of whether the story should be taken literally or seen poetically. (And some commentaries would say it’s both with the intro and ending prose and the main body poetry. Is that also waffling on the subject?)

So for the second time in 24 hours, I invite your comments.

How do you read Job? Fact or Old Testament parable? And why?



  • Also, yesterday’s survey on the care and feeding of your copy of the Bible is still open. Read the questions at this link:

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