Job and the Hebrew Canon

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Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
I'm just curious and speculative. How do you all think the Hebrews got a hold of the book of Job? Should we thank Abraham? Moses? Jethro maybe?
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Matthew Poole reminds that that the Ezekiel (14.14) and James (5.2) confirm that Job was truly a man of God, plus Paul's quotation from this book in 1 Cor. 3.19 all serve together to confirm the authenticity and canonicity of this book.

He also states that the author is unknown for certain, but supposes three possibilities: Job himself, Elihu, or Moses.

I don't have a strong opinion either way. I do believe the timeframe for the story precedes Moses, so Job seems like the best candidate to me, but that doesn't rule out other possibilities. That's just my :2cents:
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by VirginiaHuguenot
Matthew Poole reminds that that the Ezekiel (14.14) and James (5.2) confirm that Job was truly a man of God, plus Paul's quotation from this book in 1 Cor. 3.19 all serve together to confirm the authenticity and canonicity of this book.

He also states that the author is unknown for certain, but supposes three possibilities: Job himself, Elihu, or Moses.

I don't have a strong opinion either way. I do believe the timeframe for the story precedes Moses, so Job seems like the best candidate to me, but that doesn't rule out other possibilities. That's just my :2cents:

Oh I agree. There's no doubt of it's authenticity. I also think Job is the most likely author. I just wondered how the Hebrews got a hold of it. If Job did predate Moses (which I think he did) then somehow the Hebrews had to pick it up somewhere. But there is no reference to Job until Ezekial (outside of the book of Job itself). That's way I specualted perhaps Abraham or Jethro since it appears that Job's worship style predates the Mosaic economy, and even perhaps the Abrahamic covenant. But Moses never mentions Job. Maybe Melchezidek is another possibility. :detective:
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
:2cents:
However old the events are (and it does seem to lie either pre-mosaic, or contemporary to him due to the religious economy artlessly set forth therein), I tend to think its inscripturation parallels the age of the other "wisdom" literature books--the Psalms (bulk of David), and Solomon's contributions. Fitting the genre as it does, argues for it's close association in composition as well. I'm just not aware of any biblical testimony regarding authoritative scripture (and Job would have to have been if it were already written, unlike say, the book of the Generations of Adam, Book of Jasher, Book of the Wars, and other mentioned texts) lying parallel to the Law/Early Prophets. I guess its an "argument against silence"?
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Contra_Mundum
:2cents:
However old the events are (and it does seem to lie either pre-mosaic, or contemporary to him due to the religious economy artlessly set forth therein), I tend to think its inscripturation parallels the age of the other "wisdom" literature books--the Psalms (bulk of David), and Solomon's contributions. Fitting the genre as it does, argues for it's close association in composition as well.
So do you think that is why both the Jews and Christians place Job next to the wisdom literature in the ordering of their canons? I think the Jewish canon tried to be more chronological if I remember correctly.

[Edited on 29-12-2004 by puritansailor]
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
Patrick,

For what it's worth, I read through the Bible chronologically last year and they put the book of Job after Genesis 12. He seems to be a contemporary of Abraham. And, I've read before, as I'm sure you have, that Job is the oldest book.

I also think Moses wrote it because of the use of one phrase, "the sons of God" (Gen 6:4 and Job 2:1), in speaking of angels, though I should add the disclaimer that I have not studied the texts critically. It just seems to me there is a link there.

In Christ,

KC
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Originally posted by puritansailor
So do you think that is why both the Jews and Christians place Job next to the wisdom literature in the ordering of their canons? I think the Jewish canon tried to be more chronological if I remember correctly.
The final form of the Jewish canon list has three divisions, Torah, Prophets, and Writings, in that order (fewer books, because some are combined). Job comes after the Psalms--or Prov/Job; order varies, which follows Malachi and stands at the head of the final category. Ours follows the Septuagint which put all the histories together, and prophetical literature together, which changes took bits and pieces out of the Writings category. Only the five "wisdom" books remained out of the original 12/13 (depends if you split Chronicles or not).

Here's a theory. I'm sure it's been bettered. I do think there was something of a chronological development from the pentateuch in the two "strands" of Prophets and Writings, which had separate "beginnings" as collections. Joshua surely formed a prototypical prophetic addition. If Job the book is as ancient as its events (relatively) then it could have formed the prototypical Writing/Wisdom literature at about the same time, along with unquestionable items such as the Prayer of Moses (Psalm 90). Thus psalmic literature stands at the head of the Writings (followed by Job? I know this flouts my own previously espoused notion about it's origin... but that is the way it lies in the Hebrew text)

Samuel was probably a key figure in this second wave of literature, beginning with the book of Judges (prophet), and possibly Ruth (writings) as well. (Although on this theory, I have no idea why it falls after Psalms, Job, and Proverbs.) Samuel would also have had to contribute significantly to the books that bear his name. And this brings us right into the age of David, and the preliminary Psalms text (reorganized by himself, or Samuel, Nathan, Gad, or even Solomon--which book continues to be enlarged over time to its present shape of five books).

Over the next centuries, the prophetic history is recorded in the Kings, and the writing prophets add their messages: Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel (large books, in chronological order); and concludes with "the Twelve", a grouping of the smaller (i.e. minor) prophets which eventually formed a single scroll and are generally chronological, and big-to-small, and alternating Israel/Judah; more of an olio than anything definite you can say about the order.

The Writings are obviously added to by Solomon. How responsible is he for the order Psalms through Ecclesiastes? My guess is that he did it (Hezekiah's scribes added some to Proverbs, but Psalms was also being added to until nearly the close of the canon.) If he was responsible for Job, as well as Prov., SoS, and Eccles., it would not surprise me. As for including Ruth in the middle of the four, the best I can say is that it seems to me a kind of "place of honor," (although it frankly puzzles me still; also var order = Song/Ruth with Eccles after Lam).

To the Writings is added Lamentations 586 BC, Esther 464 BC and Daniel 530 BC (both brought back from Babylon), Ezra/Nehemiah & Chronicles c. 425 (probably put together by Ezra, who would have also added the final post-exilic prophets to the Twelve, and possibly organized their final form).

So, no matter which order--Hebrew, Greek, other--chronology and other factors are there, in varying degrees.
 
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