Re-reading Job Understanding the Ancient World s Greatest Poem Quotes

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Re-reading Job Understanding the Ancient World s Greatest Poem Re-reading Job Understanding the Ancient World s Greatest Poem by Michael Austin
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Re-reading Job Understanding the Ancient World s Greatest Poem Quotes Showing 1-10 of 10
“None of us wants to reject our core assumptions about the universe and start all over again. It is hard work, and it deprives us of nearly everything that makes us feel secure.”
Michael Austin, Re-reading Job Understanding the Ancient World s Greatest Poem
“Consider Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem, “The Raven.” Here we have a first-person narrator whose wife or lover, Lenore, has recently died. He is in his library searching through his books to find a way to make her death meaningful—or even understandable. When a raven enters the library, the narrator takes it as a sign and asks a series of increasingly desperate questions. The raven, of course, has long been a symbol for death, and the questions that the narrator asks the raven are all really questions about death. Is there a heaven? Does death come from God or the Devil? Will he ever get over her death? Will he see her again? These are likely the same things he was trying to find out from his books. But while the books may have tried to give answers, the raven—death itself—says only one word: “Nevermore.” So this is a poem that makes claims—or, more specifically, it is a poem that rejects claims. It rejects the notion that anyone can know anything about death, or what happens after death, except that a person who has died no longer exists. All that death “says” to us is “Nevermore.” If we try to go beyond this, we will eventually suffer the narrator’s fate and become insane. Many people would disagree vigorously with this premise. Some people believe that the spirits of the dead become ghosts that we can still communicate with. Others believe in heaven, hell, reincarnation, Nirvana, or some knowable final destination for the soul. I can imagine a number of different ways that one might go about rebutting Poe’s metaphysical truth claims. But it makes no difference whether or not ravens can talk. Nothing about Poe’s poem can be supported, or refuted, by scientific knowledge about the vocalization mechanisms of the Corvus corax. Nor does it matter whether or not Edgar Allen Poe ever knew anybody named Lenore, or owned a “bust of Pallas,” or did or said any of the things described in the poem. “The Raven” makes metaphysical truth claims that we can isolate and evaluate. But these claims do not depend on either the history or the science of the poem turning out to be true.”
Michael Austin, Re-reading Job: Understanding the Ancient World's Greatest Poem
“Why did the best Jewish poet of the post-exile generation choose the (probably) Persian fable of Job as the basis for his greatest work? What does the obviously Hebrew poet want to accomplish by presenting Job as an “Everyman” character rather than as a Jew? What does this suggest about the way that the Abrahamic Covenant was understood by at least some people during the Babylonian captivity? What different perspectives do Job’s Comforters represent? Who in the poet’s culture held the views attributed to Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar? Why do Job’s friends hold so firmly to their belief in Job’s guilt? Why are they willing to condemn the man that they came to comfort? What do they consider more important than friendship? Do we ever act like they do? How does the poet want us to answer the question, “Why do people suffer?” How does he not want us to answer this question? Why does the poet represent God at the end of Job as an asker of questions rather than as a giver of answers? Does the God that the poet presents at the end of the poem deserve our respect, or just our fear? Is there a difference? Does the final prose segment of Job undercut the poem? Or does the poem’s rebuttal undercut its ideology so effectively that it becomes ironic? Is it possible to believe in a God of rewards and punishments after reading Job?”
Michael Austin, Re-reading Job: Understanding the Ancient World's Greatest Poem
“As in Job God died, so also in Christ will God be made alive.”
Michael Austin, Re-reading Job: Understanding the Ancient World's Greatest Poem
“imagine a written version of the Cinderella story that begins and ends with a simple paraphrase of the Disney movie but contains, in between, a 10,000 word poem called “Cinderella’s Lament”—a brilliantly written feminist manifesto challenging most of the sexist assumptions in the original story. Imagine that the poem is written primarily from Cinderella’s perspective but includes speeches by the stepmother and stepsisters as well. The Cinderella of the poem (let us imagine) is as radical as the Disney version is safe. She questions some of her culture’s deepest values and beliefs that women should marry men, that rich and handsome princes are automatically desirable, that a man can love a woman even if he can’t remember what she looks like. The other characters in the poem are, of course, horrified by her unorthodox views, and they do everything they can to contradict her. Every time she speaks, they rebut everything she says. But Cinderella is a clever debater, and she holds her own. They go on arguing and arguing until the Fairy Godmother shows up and angrily puts an end to the debate. “I spent a lot of time and effort catching you a prince,” she tells Cinderella, “and you had better marry him fast if you don’t want to end up a pumpkin yourself.” Cinderella knows when she has been beaten, and she submits—not to a better argument, but to superior physical force. She marries the prince, and they live happily ever after—except, of course, they don’t, and we know they don’t because we have been made privy to Cinderella’s deepest thoughts.”
Michael Austin, Re-reading Job: Understanding the Ancient World's Greatest Poem
“As countless readers have pointed out, the Book of Job does not answer the question, “Why do bad things happen?” It does, however, tell us that humanity’s most common answer to this question is wrong. Material misfortunes, the poet insists, do not trace back to moral choices in any way that human beings can evaluate. There”
Michael Austin, Re-reading Job: Understanding the Ancient World's Greatest Poem
“Does God really make friendly bets with Satan? Why would a just God kill a man’s children in order to score debating points? Was Job tested beyond what a human being can endure? When does the action in Job occur? Why did God bother to appear to Job in the first place if He wasn’t going to answer his questions? And just where is the Land of Uz? These”
Michael Austin, Re-reading Job: Understanding the Ancient World's Greatest Poem
“Though the question of Job’s historicity has never been the subject of specific revelation for Latter-day Saints, it has been the subject of at least one semi-official letter from a First Presidency source, as Thomas Alexander reports in Mormonism in Transition: In October 1922, while Heber J. Grant was in Washington, the First Presidency received a letter from Joseph W. McMurrin asking about the position of the Church with regard to the literality of the Bible. Charles W. Penrose, with Anthony W. Ivins, writing for the First Presidency, answered that the position of the Church was that the Bible is the word of God as far as it was translated correctly. They pointed out that there were, however, some problems with the Old Testament. . . . While they thought Jonah was a real person, they said it was possible that the story as told in the Bible was a parable common at the time. The purpose was to teach a lesson, and it “is of little significance as to whether Jonah was a real individual or one chosen by the writer of the book” to illustrate “what is set forth therein.” They took a similar position on Job.”
Michael Austin, Re-reading Job: Understanding the Ancient World's Greatest Poem
“Here are the six things that I learned about Job: Job was a historical figure, thus the Book of Job should be read historically. The Book of Job is a single, internally consistent narrative with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Job was a patient fellow. The Book of Job fits logically with the narrative arc of the Old Testament and with the other Standard Works. In the midst of his great suffering, Job occasionally, and for no apparent reason, prophesied of Christ with famous words like “I know that my Redeemer lives.” The Book of Job ultimately shows that, if we just wait long enough, God will reward our good behavior with material prosperity.”
Michael Austin, Re-reading Job: Understanding the Ancient World's Greatest Poem
“Job’s Comforters believe that they understand why God has made Job suffer. Job does not understand why he suffers, but he thinks he should be able to find out. He”
Michael Austin, Re-reading Job: Understanding the Ancient World's Greatest Poem