Job through the Centuries

Code: HIS/HB5/716

Dates: July 12, 2021 - July 16, 2021

Time: 9:00 am for 3 Hours (PT)

The book of Job is much more than a story of a suffering person. Through the centuries, this book, “one of the grandest things ever written with a pen” (Thomas Carlyle), has helped us to ask who and where God is in this bruised universe. In this course, we approach this and other weighty questions from the perspective of “reception history,” which investigates how ordinary people in many times and cultures have interpreted the story of Job and his innocent suffering. Job has a rich history in this regard as a companion to those who have experienced or witnessed unspeakable sufferings. Our exploration will take us through ancient and modern examples inspired by Job. For example, we will listen to the aria, “I know that my Redeemer liveth,” in George Frederic Handel’s oratorio Messiah and ponder on Job 19:25. We will struggle to decide whether we should smile or sob when we come upon Virginia Woolf’s letter of 1922, in which she says, “I read the book of Job last night. I don’t think God comes out well in it.” Medieval people will invite us to remember Job as the patron saint of lepers. Jewish people will share how they turn to the book in remembrance of the fall of Jerusalem and how they mourn for the victims of the Holocaust in front of Nathan Rapoport’s bronze statue of Job at Yad Vashem National Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. We will let the canonical book of Job and its readers accompany us in our own search for the meaning of life in the world where no living being is a stranger to suffering.

600 level for those needing advanced Hebrew Bible (HB500/600)

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