The book of Job presents a unique and detailed contrastive study of two fundamental and fundamentally opposed religious personae: Job, on the one hand, and the collective image of his friends on the other. It is a normative dispute about the religion’s most basic norm of disposition. How is one to respond to inexplicable disaster when one believes one is blameless? What is the religiously appropriate response to catastrophe? To confront God’s judgment as did Job, or to submissively surrender to it, as his four friends insist he should? Is one supposed to question divine justice when deemed to be wanting, as did Job, or to suppress any thought to the contrary and deem it to be just, come what may? Rather than expound (once again) upon the theological implications of the Job dispute, this paper focuses on its theological-political dimensions, and its looming and vivid, yet largely overlooked presence in the Hebrew Bible’s master narrative; and more specifically, on the marked, if inevitable antinomian nature of the Jobian side to the divide.
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