Job and Suffering in Talmudic and Kabbalistic Judaism
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Of all the books in the Bible, the text which has often been regarded as the most enigmatic is the Book of Job. An enormous amount of attention has been applied to this text, both within and without the Jewish tradition, and most commentators have found the prospect of reorganising its verses almost irresistible. Some have gone further and have literally rewritten it, in such a way as to bring out, in their view, its real structure and meaning. I am going to resist this temptation, and my aim here is merely to point to some of the main features of the text and how they have been understood within Jewish theological and philosophical thought. But before doing this, given the problematic nature of the text in the view of many commentators, it is incumbent on me to say something about the nature of the text itself, since otherwise it will be unclear on what I am commenting. I take the Masoretic text to be accurate and the arrangement of the verses accurate also. I regard the content of the Book to be no more or less problematic than anything else in the Tanakh, and it is from that standpoint, which will be regarded as terribly ingenuous by many commentators, that I am proceeding.
KeywordsMaterial Thing Jewish Tradition Negative Theology Divine Providence Divine Justice
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