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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Job: Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?
Dell, Katharine J.

Sheffield, England: Sheffield Phoenix, 2013 pp. xiv + 111. $19.95

Series Information
Phoenix Guides to the Old Testament, 14

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Description: This short guide to the book of Job launches an exciting new series of guides to the Hebrew Bible that present the latest developments and most up-to-date scholarship in biblical studies. In the light of dramatic new hermeneutical approaches to the Bible that have characterized the last couple of decades, this guide to Job follows both literary and readerly approaches to the book that acknowledge the traditional historical questions but find others yet more pressing for our time.

Job is a work of great literature that has engaged readers, scholars, sceptics and believers for many centuries. This guide reflects that diversity in its rounded picture of exciting new work that is taking place in the present-day readerly arena. Each chapter contains a ‘key text’ that highlights a particular section of the text of Job that serves as a focus for a topic of current concern.

A special emphasis and interest of Katharine Dell is the matter of genre. She shows how problematic the term ‘wisdom’ is for this unique book, and argues that its radical sentiments earn it, rather, the title of ‘parody’. Of all the biblical books it comes closest to tragedy, raising profound questions about its nature and place in the biblical canon.

Job’s relationship to its ancient Near Eastern counterparts, notably in ancient Mesopotamia are also closely examined and key theological themes that characterize the book are explored. Finally different readerly approaches—feminist, liberationist, ecological and psychological—are pursued that illuminate and inform our own personal readings and generate ever fresh understandings of this enigmatic text.

This is the first volume in a series, written by members of the Society for Old Testament Study, that is planned to cover all the books of the Old Testament / Hebrew Bible. A parallel series for the New Testament books began to appear in 2012.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Wisdom Literature, Job, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches

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Review by Martin A. Shields
Published 9/8/2014
Citation: Martin A. Shields, review of Katharine J. Dell, Job: Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2014).

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