Religious Studies | Religion of Ancient Israel: Book of Job and the Crisis of Faith
R511 | 29181 | C. Halberstam


The biblical book of Job is widely acknowledged as a masterpiece of
world literature.  It tells a simple story: a man named Job seems,
by all accounts, to be a good person, but he is afflicted with
terrible misfortunes.  Why?  Job embodies the crisis of faith--and
for nearly 40 chapters, he moves from anger to sadness to
resignation to anger again as he tries to understand how a good and
just God could be responsible for so much needless suffering.  It is
a question that undoubtedly resonates with us today as much as it
did for the authors of the book of Job in ancient Israel.  This
course begins by examining the book of Job on its own terms and in
its own context, comparing it with other poems about innocent
suffering from sources outside the Bible in the ancient Near East,
in order to better understand how ancient societies grappled with
the crisis of faith.  It then explores how scholars, commentators
and artists through the ages have read and interpreted the book of
Job in attempting to come to terms with their own experiences of
injustice.  Aside from the book of Job itself, readings in this
course include modern reworkings of Job such as F. Kafka's novel The
Trial, W. Blake's "Illustrations of the Book of Job," R. Girard's
Job, The Victim of His People, and Steven Spielberg's film "The
Color Purple."
Class will meet with R300