Item description for Job (WBC) (Westminster Bible Companion) by James a. Wharton...
Overview Wharton concludes that the function of Job never has been to provide answers but to keep the questions urgent and contemporary for all who set out to honor and serve God. At the simplest and most important level Job provides faithful people with this slim confort: it resounds with our cries of the heart and honors those cries as an authentic dimension of faithfulness.
Job is the quintessential study when it comes to questions of faith in the face of adversity and the universal human quest for meaning and order in a world that consistently mocks both. James Wharton concludes that the function of Job never has been to provide answers but to keep the questions urgent and contemporary for all who set out to honor and serve God.
Books in the Westminster Bible Companion series assist laity in their study of the Bible as a guide to Christian faith and practice. Each volume explains the biblical book in its original historical context and explores its significance for faithful living today. These books are ideal for individual study and for Bible study classes and groups.
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Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.16" Width: 5.95" Height: 0.49" Weight: 0.66 lbs.
Release Date Jan 4, 2002
Publisher Westminster John Knox Press
Series Westminster Bible Companion
ISBN 0664252672 ISBN13 9780664252670
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a preacher looks at an enigmatic biblical book Jul 24, 2005
An emeritus professor of homiletics introduces Job in this study guide, which belongs to a series that is intended to help the church's laity read the Bible more clearly and intelligently. Wharton mentions issues that occupy academic scholars only where these are deemed to illuminate the reading of the book's final form. The guide's introduction treats the book's function, structure, the names of God in Job, and the concept of Job as the Lord's servant (Nebucha\drezzar appears for Cyrus in his mention of Isa 45). In his exposition, 'hassatan' of the prologue is not God's archenemy of later theology, but his denial that disinterested piety exists may be 'satanic'. It is hinted that the relationship between prologue, epilogue, and the poetic centre may be explained by a reworking of a pre-existing and simplistic Job tale, one which in its original form would have satisfied the certainties of Job's counsellors. The poetic reworking forcefully rewrites the story as a challenge to religious truisms. Because the wisdom of Job's friends has deep roots in Jewish and Christian piety, Wharton attempts a sympathetic hearing of Eliphaz by allowing him to develop his argument in chs 4-5, 15, and 22 without the interruption of Job's responses and other interlocutions. The nine basic elements of Eliphaz' case are at home in the piety of Judaism and Christianity.
Wharton is especially attentive to the friends' 'panic-ridden anxiety about one's own precious theological maxims' and to Job's insistence upon speaking to God rather than about him, whether or not he is motivated by the theological rhetoric of Job's gang of counsellors. The book of Job does not provide answers to the questions it raises, instead driving its readers 'to use all the resources of biblical faith to find some alternative ways of relating the reality of God to the realities of human experience.'
The shape of Wharton's intended readership motivates him to linger over the famous 'redeemer' passage at 19.25. Even if these words 'have simply achieved a life of their own in the heart-language of Christian faith, and that language is not finally subject to correction by technical exegesis', echoes of Handel's rendering of this passage express 'our faith ... not the faith of Job.' Job, in contrast to Handel's proto-Christian seer, desires a go'el because he 'has otherwise despaired of achieving such a fair hearing before God on his own.'
The breakdown of established patterns in chs 24-27 is neatly surveyed. The 'confusing dissonance rather than a clear resolution' that results is owing to the 'hopeless scrambled' nature of the text, a circumstance which occurred, 'whether deliberately or inadvertently, somewhere in the process of copying, preserving, editing, and transmitting the text.' The epilogue is not a resettling upon the ancient truisms, but a profound challenge to both Job and his friends.
Wharton's exegesis throughout ably brokers the scholarly discussion for the discerning practitioner.