Job as Tragedy?

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Puritan Board Freshman
Brothers and Sisters,

Here are some questions I have had recently concerning the book of Job. I welcome your comments.

Does Job exhibit the tragic hubris and affliction of Oedipus or Hamlet?

Does Job provide a cathartic experience in the Aristotelian sense?

Does Job suffer into truth?

Do we experience pity and fear in an Aristotelian sense?

To what extent can Job be considered a work of tragedy?


Puritan Board Junior
Good questions. I used to have a copy of a play that had turned the words of the book of Job into a play.

Is it a tragedy? Hard to say, but I have read both Shakespeare and the greek tragedians and I don't think it is a tragedy. Job, at the end does get his wealth back and a new family. What's more in a way he is vindicated as well. His friends kept insisting that he had done something wrong, some sin, that was the cause of his pain. Job maintained otherwise. If anything we know that what has happened to Job has happened because he is righteous.

Is he guilty of hubris? I don't think so. Where is his flaw? God himself held him up as a model of humility and holiness.

Does Job suffer into truth. Yes. Job learned not to argue with God, that HE has his reasons even when we don't understand what they are.

Job is a wager. The devil tells God that HE only has followers because he bribes them, he gives them goodies. If HE stopped giving them goodies then no one would follow HIM. God says that his servant Job would still follow him.

Do we feel pity and fear at the plight of Job? I certainly do. Could I pass the test he is given? I'm afraid to find out.


Puritan Board Junior
Does Job "suffer into truth"? I would say no. At the end of the book, Job is confronted with God himself. Job is brought to confess his unworthiness at the end of God's speech before he has his health restored. Before God restores Job, Job is brought to the point where he must see that even in his suffering he can be content because of who God is. It is not Job's suffering that brings him to truth-ultimately-it is the appearance of God.
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