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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

At the Scent of Water: The Ground of Hope in the Book of Job
Janzen, J. Gerald

Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2009 pp. xiii + 137. $16.00

Description: The book of Job is often discussed as a theodicy ó an attempt to "justify the ways of God to man." In this remarkable rereading of Job, J. Gerald Janzen brings new light to this familiar account, showing instead that God invites Job to give up the traditional Deuteronomic logic of reward-punishment for a life affirming strategy of risk-reward. From this perspective, affirmation of life in the face of all its vulnerabilities is the path to true participation in the mystery of existence. On the basis of a study of "east wind" in the Bible ó "whirlwind" in Job ó Janzen proposes that the prominence God gives to rain in Job 38, with its renewal of the parched earth and the ensuing vigor of all forms of life, signals God's response to Job's thirst, heals Job's bitterness, and restores him to a life at the end of which he dies contented. Janzen demonstrates how life-crippling bitterness is transcended and hope in life's worthwhileness is restored in the face of grievous evil. The resolution of the Joban question lies not in a vindication of divine justice but, rather, in God's renewal of Job's appetite for life. Janzen underscores this interpretation with a candid epilogue on his own struggle with aggressive prostate cancer, which enabled him to connect personally with Job's story and to find a fresh and illuminating grace. At the Scent of Water will resonate with students, pastors, and any readers who have experienced grief or suffering.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Wisdom Literature, Job, Literature

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Review by Suzanne Boorer
Published 6/12/2010
Citation: Suzanne Boorer, review of J. Gerald Janzen, At the Scent of Water: The Ground of Hope in the Book of Job, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2010).

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