God comes to Job: A response to J. Richard Middleton on Yhwh's second speech from the whirlwind

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First I want to thank Richard Middleton for his reminder that a book like Job, despite its ancient origins, has relevance in our present time. Even though, as he states, the book has fascinated readers for over two millennia, its special attraction in our contemporary world is the refusal of its hero to accept easy answers to suffering, and, more than that, to be willing to ‘be upset with God’. This perspective has always made sense to those who have undergone personal crises, but even if a contemporary reader has not yet experienced such disorientation, the context that none of us can escape is the global suffering now brought to us daily through world-wide 24/7 media. The audacity and bold speech that characterizes the book of Job has long inspired those of Jewish faith. On 28 September 2016 Shimon Perez, the former President of Israel, passed away. Knowing that the seminar planned for Middleton’s visit that was held a few days later was focusing on the lament genre, a student sent me this quote attributed to Perez: ‘The Jews’ greatest contribution to history is dissatisfaction! We’re a nation born to be discontented. Whatever exists we believe can be changed for the better.’1 Dissatisfaction is well expressed in the Yiddish word ‘chutzpah’—with its connotations of both audacity and courage. I think this is why even ‘speaking impiously’, as Job is said to have done, is not anywhere perceived as a sin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages7
JournalSt. Mark's review: A journal of Christian thought and opinion
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2017


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