RGB3279/6279  The Wisdom Tradition and the Book of Job – Michael Kolarcik

Fridays 9-11 (AD Students 9-12 on alternating Fridays see course outline for specific dates)

The Wisdom Tradition in Israel faced the paradox of maintaining God’s mercy and justice in the light of Israel’s failures and suffering. The Book of Job is an eloquent expression of Israel’s grappling with the issues behind theodicy. The course begins with an exploration of Israel’s Wisdom Tradition in relation to the Ancient Near East, prophecy and cult in order to set a context for reading and interpreting the book of Job in its entirety. The literary features and structure of the work provide a methodological lense for appreciating how the Wisdom Tradition in the Book of Job  dealt with suffering, ethics, beauty and love. (Lectures, discussion, book review, major paper; and for AD students, reading selected texts in Hebrew).

A textbook has been ordered at Crux Bookstore (Wycliffe College).

PERDUE, Leo G. Wisdom & Creation: The Theology of Wisdom Literature. Nashville: Abingdon, 1994.


Course Outline                                                 Course materials for class use only        Turabian style sheet for term papers


Lecture 1  Sep 17 

Wisdom texts in the Ancient Near East and Israel
Lecture 2  Sep 24
Wisdom in Israel in relation to Prophecy and Cult
Lecture 3  Oct  1 Israel’s unique perspective of creation theology as expressed in sapiential texts (Personification of Wisdom, Prov, Sir, Wis) (AD Hebrew readings Job 1)

Lecture 4  Oct  8

Literary Structure of the Book of Job – fissures in the text
Lecture 5  Oct 15  
Prologue Job 1-2
(AD Hebrew readings Job 2)

Lecture 6  Oct 22

The arguments of the friends Eliphaz, Bildad, Zofar (Deuteronomy)
October 29     --  READING WEEK - no lecture

Lecture 7  Nov 5 The complaints of Job (laments, juridical speech)
(AD Hebrew readings Job 3)

Lecture 8  Nov 12

Speeches of Elihu
Lecture 9  Nov 19

First Divine Speech
(AD Hebrew readings Job 38)

Lecture 10  Nov 26

Second Divine Speech
Lecture 11  Dec 3

Job’s response and the Epilogue
(AD Hebrew readings Job 42)

Lecture 12  Dec10

The Book of Job in World Literature (Robert Frost, Masque of Reason)



BD Pre-requisite:  one introductory course to the Old Testament

AD Pre-requisite: one year of Biblical Hebrew,


The goals of the course are:  for the student

a)      to be familiar with the perspectives, values, and genres of Israel's Wisdom Tradition (lectures, book review).

b)      to appreciate the literary structure of the Book of Job as a means for interpreting fissures in the text (readings, lectures, discussions).

c)    to be thoroughly knowledgeable with a chosen text in the Book of Job  from the point of view of literary analysis, history of interpretation and theological import. This will arise from your focus on a chosen text or topic for a major term paper..

For AD students, d) to be able to read a number of chapters of the book of Job in Hebrew in order to appreciate the difficulties associated with the book's
                              theological interpretations (sessions on Hebrew translation).

                               – Assignment ONE: 25 %

A critical book review of chapters 1 and 2 of Leo Perdue's book Wisdom & Creation: The Theology of Wisdom Literature.
1. Where Shall Wisdom Be Found? Old Testament Theology and Wisdom Literature
2. "Come to Me, Those Who Are Unlearned, and Lodge in My School":  Imagination, Rhetoric, and Social Location in Wisdom Literature.

In order to appreciate both the complexity and simplicity of Perdue's analysis, you may further consult, Leo Perdue, Wisdom in Revolt: Metaphorical Theology in the Book of Job. pp. 1-72.

                                 Due date, Friday before reading week, October 22nd, 2010.

                                – Assignment TWO: major paper  75%

                                                            BD 12 pages, not including bibliography.
                                                            AD 15 min. 20 pages max, not including bibliography

                                   Please use Turabian guidelines for bibliographical notation (see the explanation that I provide on my webpage).

   Due date, last day of exam week December 17, 2010.


                                 A+ 90<               – mastery of materials presented in the lectures and seminars,
                                                           – well-written and well argued         
                                                          – creative application of selected method to specific question or problem
                                                          – innovative/original contribution to the field of inquiry
                                 A  85-89             – mastery of materials presented in the lectures and seminars,
                                                           – well-written and well argued         
                                                           – creative application of selected method to specific question or problem
                                 A- 80-84            – adequate comprehension of materials presented in the lectures and seminars,
                                                          – well-written and well argued
                                                          – productive application of selected method to specific question or problem
                                 B+  78-79           – comprehension of materials presented in the lectures and seminars
                                                          – some difficulties with written syntax and/or argumentation
                                                          – application of selected method to specific question or problem
                                 B    75-77           – limited comprehension of materials presented in the lectures and seminars
                                                          – some difficulties with written syntax and/or argumentation
                                                          – application of selected method to specific question or problem
                                 B-  70-74            – limited comprehension of materials presented in the lectures and seminars
                                                          – difficulties with written syntax and/or argumentation
                                                          – limited application of selected method to specific question or problem
                                 Failure 69>            considerable deficiencies in any of the three areas: comprehension, writing and argumentation,
                                                               and application of methodology; plagiarism 

Students agree that by taking this course all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism.  All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference databases solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers.  The terms that apply to the University’s use of the Turnitin.com service are described on the Turnitin.com web site.

    Course Information:  
Office hours: My office is located at Regis College, #319 (level 4) 100 Wellesley Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 2Z5
Telephone:   416 922-5474 ext 249.
I will try  to be available in my office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 - 4 pm for discussions or clarifications. Otherwise, feel free to drop by whenever I am in the office or make an appointment during the week. 
email  mf.kolarcik@utoronto.ca


Selected Bibliography:

1)        General Works Introducing Wisdom Literature:

 PERDUE, Leo. The Sword and the Stylus, An Introduction to Wisdom in the Age of Empires.  Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2008.

2)         Commentaries and Translations:

ANDERSEN, F.I.  Job: An Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries; Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1977.

* BALENTINE,  S.E. Job. Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary with CDROM. Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys, 2006.

BERGANT, D. Job, Ecclesiastes. Wilmington, Del.: Michael Glazier, 1982.

DHORME,  E. A Commentary on the Book of Job.  Translated by H. Knight (Le livre de Job. Paris, J. Gabalda, 1926). London: Nelson, 1967.

EBACH, Jürgen. Streiten mit Gott, Hiob. Teils 1-2. Neukirchen: Neukirchener Verlag, 1995,1996.

GOOD, Edwin M. In turns of tempest: a reading of Job, with a translation.. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990.

GORDIS, R. The Book of Job: Commentary, New Translation.  Special Studies, Moreshet Seires 2. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1978.

HABEL, N.C. The Book of Job: a commentary.  Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1985.

HARTLEY, J.E. The Book of Job, New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988.

JANZEN,  J.Gerald. Job. Interpretation, a Bible commentary for teaching and preaching. Atlanta : John Knox Press, 1985.

NEWSOM, Carol A. The Book of Job, Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections. The New Interpreter's Bible, Vol. 4. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996.

POPE, M. Job. Introduction, Translation and Notes.  Anchor Bible, vol. 15. N.Y.: Doubleday, 1965.

ROWLEY, H.H. The Book of Job. New Century Bible Commentary. 2nd edition. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976.

WHYBRAY, R.N. Job: Readings, a new biblical commentary. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1998.


3)  Works and Studies on the Book of Job

ALBERTZ, Reiner. "The Sage and Pious Wisdom in the Book of Job: The Friends' Perspective." In  The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, edited by John G. Gammie and Leo G. Perdue,  Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns,  1990.  243-261.

ALONSO SCHÖKEL, L.  “Toward a Dramamtic Reading of the Book of Job.” Semeia 7 (1977): 45-61.

AUFRECHT, W.E. Studies In the Book of Job. SRSup 16. Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier University Press: 1985.

CERESKO, A. “The Option for the Poor in the Book of Job.” Indian Theological Studies, 26 (1989).

CHENEY, Michael. Dust, Wind and Agony: Character, Speech and Genre in Job. Con BOT 36. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1994.

CLINES, D.J.A. “The Arguments of Job's Friends.” In Art and Meaning: Rhetoric in Biblical Literature, edited by D.J.A. CLINES (JSOTSup 19, 1982) 199-214.

CLINES, D.J.A. “Why Is There a Book of Job, And What Does It Do To You If You Read It?” In The Book of Job, edited by W.A.M. Beuken, Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1994. 1-20.

CLINES, D.J.A. “Deconstructing the Book of Job.” In The Bible as Rhetoric, edited by Martin Warner. New York: Routledge, 1990. 65-66.

COLLINS, John J. “Job and His Friends: God as a Pastoral Problem.” Chicago Studies 14 (1975): 97-109.

COLLINS, John J.  Jewish Wisdom in the Hellenistic Age. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997.

COX, D.  The Triumph of Impotence. Analecta Gregoriana 212, Rome: 1978.

DAILEY, Thomas F. “And yet he repents - on Job 42,6.” ZAW 105 (1993): 205-09.

DAILEY, Thomas F. “Theophanic bluster: Job and the wind of change.” Studies in Religion/Sciences religieuses 22 (1993): 187-195.

DAILEY, Thomas F., The Repentant Job: A Ricoeurian Icon for Biblical Theology. New York: University Presss of America, 1994.

DELL, Katharine, J. The Book of Job as Sceptical Literature. BZAW 197. Berline and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1991.

DI LELLA, A.A. “An Existential Interpretation of Job.” BTB 15 (1985): 49-55.

N.M. GLATZER, The Dimensions of Job. New York: Schocken Books 1975.

GOOD, E.M. “Job and the Literary Task.” Soundings 56 (1973): 470-84.

GOOD, E.M. In turns of Tempest. Standford: University Press, 1990.

GOOD, E.M.  Irony in the Old Testament.  Sheffield: Almond Press, 1981.

GROLLENBERG, L.H. A New Look at an Old Book. New York: 1969.

GUILLAUME, Philippe and  Michael SCHUNCK. “Job’s Intercession: Antidote to Divine Folly.” Bib 88 (2007): 457-472.

GUTIÉRREZ, G. On Job -- God talk and the suffering of the innocent. Translated by M.J. O'Connell. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1987.

HABEL, N.C. “Of Things Beyond Me: Wisdom in the Book of Job.” Currents in Theology and Mission 10 (1983): 142-154.

HANDY, Lowell K. “The Authorization of Divine Power and the Guilt of God in the Book of Job: Useful Ugaritic Parellels.” JBT 60 (1993).

JANZEN, J.Gerald. “On the Moral Nature of God's Power: Yahweh and the Sea in Job and Deutero-Isaiah.” CBQ 56 (1994): 468.

GIRARD, René. “Job as Failed Scapegoat.” In The Voice from the Whirlwind: Interpreting the Book of Job, edited by Leo G. Perdue and W. Clark Gilpin. Nashville: Abingdon, 1992. 185-207.

GIRARD, René. I See Satan Fall Like Lightning. Translated by James G. Williams [Je vois Satan tomber comme léclair, Paris: Editions Grasset & Fasquelle, 1999]. Ottawa: Novalis, 2001.

KAPLAN, L. “Maimonides, Dale Patrick, and Job XLII,6.” Vetus Testamentum 28 (1978): 356-58.

KING, N. “The hand of the Lord has touched me; Job, Qoheleth, and the Wisdom of Solomon.” Way 22 (1982): 235-244.

LACOCQUE, A. “Job or the Impotence of Religion and Philosophy.” Semeia 19 (1981): 33-52.

LEVENSON, J.D. The Book of Job in its time and in the twentieth century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972.

MacKENZIE, R.A.F.  “The Transformation of Job.” BTB 9 (1979).

MacKENZIE, R.A.F. “The Purpose of the Divine Speeches in the Book of Job.” Biblica 40 (1959): 435-445.

MATADI, G.T. Suffering, Belief, Hope: The Wisdom of Job For an Aids-Stricken Africa. Translated by Joseph P. Newman, S.J. and Robert E. Czerny [De l’absurdité de la souffrance à l’espérance: Une lecture du livre de Job en temps de VIH/SIDA, Kinshasa, D.R. Congo : Médiaspaul, 2005]. Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2007.  

MEIER, S.  “Job I--II: A Reflection of Genesis I—III.” Vetus Testamentum 39 (1989): 183-193.

MILLER, James E. “Structure and Meaning of the Animal Discourse in the Theophany of Job.” Zeitschrift für Alttestamentlische Wissenschaft 103 (1991): 418-421.

MORAN, William L. "The Babylonian Job." In The Most Magic Word: Essays on Babylonian and biblical literature by William L. Moran, edited by Ronald S. Hendel, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 35, Washington: CBAA, 2002. 182-200.

MORROW, William S. “Toxic religion and the daughters of Job.” Studies in Religion/Sciences Religeuses 27 (1998): 263-276.

NASH, J. “Images of Job.” Review for Religious, 42 (1983): 28-33.

NEWELL, B.L. “Job: Repentant or Rebellious.” Westminster Theological Journal 46 (1984): 298-316.

NEWSOM, Carol A. “The Moral Sense of Nature: Ethics in the Light of God's Speech to Job.”  Princeton Seminary Bulletin 15 (1994).

PATRICK, Dale. “The Translation of Job XLII,6.” Vetus Testamentum, 26 (1976): 369-71.

PATRICK, Dale. “Job's Address of God.” ZAW 91 (1979): 268-82.

PENCHANSKY, D. The Betrayal of God: ideological conflict in Job. Westminster/John Knox, Louisville, Kentucky: 1990.

* PERDUE, Leo G. Wisdom in Revolt: Metaphorical Theology in the Book of Job. JSOTSup 112, BIBLE AND LITERATURE SERIES 29, Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991.

* PERDUE, Leo G. Wisdom & Creation: The Theology of Wisdom Literature. Nashville: Abingdon, 1994.

PERDUE, Leo G. The Sword and the Stylus: An Introduction to Wisdom in the Age of Empires. Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 2008.

PERDUE Leo G. and W. Clark GILPIN, eds. The Voice from the Whirlwind: Interpreting the Book of Job. Nashville: Abingdon, 1992.

PLEIN, J. David. “Why Do You Hide Your Face?” Interpretation 48 (1994): 230.

POLZIN, R.,  D. ROBERTSON, eds. Studies in the Book of Job. Missoula: Scholars Press, 1977.

PYPER, H. “The Reader in Pain: Job as Text and Pretext.” Journal of Literature and Theology 7 (1993): 111-129.

ROWOLD, Henry. “Yahweh's Challenge to Rival: The Form and Function of the Yahweh-Speech in Job 38-39.” CBQ 47 (1985): 199-211.

SCHMID,  Konrad. "The Authors of Job and Their Historical and Social Setting." In Scribes, Sages, and Seers: The Sage in the Eastern Mediterranean World, edited by Leo G. Perdue, Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008.  145-153.

SIMUNDSON, D.J.  The Message of Job. Augsburg Old Testament Studies, Minnesota: 1986.

TERRIEN, Samuel.  "Job as a Sage." In  The Sage in Israel and the Ancient Near East, edited by John G. Gammie and Leo G. Perdue,  Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns,  1990.  231-242.

URBROCK, W. “Reconciliation of Opposites in the Dramatic Ordeal of Job.” Semeia 7 (1977): 147-154.

VALL, Gregory.  “The Enigma of Job 1,21a.” Biblica 76 (1995): 325-342.

VAWTER, B.  Job & Jonah - Questioning the Hidden God.  New York: Paulist, 1983.

VOGELS, W. “The Inner Development of Job: One more look at Psychology and the Book of Job.” Science et Esprit 35,2 (1983): 227-230.

VOGELS, W. “The Spiritual Growth of Job, A Psychological Approach to the Book of Job.” Biblical Theology Bulletin 11 (1981): 75-80.

VOGELS, W. “Job a parlé correctment.” Nouvelle Revue Théologique  112°,#6, 1980.

VOGELS, W. Job, L'homme qui a bien parlé de Dieu. Lire la Bible. Paris: Cerf, 1995.

VOGELS, W. “Job's Empty Pious Slogans.” In The Book of Job, edited by W.A.M. Beuken. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1994. 369-376.

WILCOX, John T. The Bitterness of Job: A Philosophical Reading. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1989.

WOLFERS, David. Deep Things Out of Darkness: The Book of Job, Essays and a New English Translation. Grand Rapids: Wm.B. Eerdmans, 1995.

WOLFERS, David. “The Speech-Cycles in the Book of Job.” VT 43 (1993): 385-402.

WOLF, P. May I Hate God? Toronto: Paulist Press, 1979.

ZUCK, Roy B. ed. Sitting with Job: Selected Studies on the Book of Job. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992.

ZUCKERMAN, Bruce. Job the Silent: a Study in Historical Counterpoint. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.


4) The Book of Job as Literature or from the  perspective of Philosophy and  Psychology


BOLD, Alan. Muriel Spark, London, New York : Methuen, 1986.

BRAITERMAN, Zachary. (God) After Auschwitz, Tradition and Change in Post-Holocaust Jewish Thought. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998.

CAMBELL, C.C. “The Transformation of Biblical Myth: MacLeish's Use of the Adam and Job Stories.” In Myth and Symbol: critical approaches and applications, edited by Bernice Slote. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press,  1963.

FRANCISCO, Nancy A. “Job in World Literature.” Review and Expositor 68 (1971): 521-533.

FROST, Robert. A Masque of Reason. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1945.

HAYES, Richard. “The Humanism of Crisis.” Commonweal 70 (1959): 153-157.

HEINLEIN, Robert. Job: A Comedy of Justice. New York: Ballantine (Del Rey), 1984.

HONE, R.E. ed. The Voice out of the Whirlwind: The Book of Job. San Francisco : Chandler, 1972. 

HYNES, J.  The Art of the Real: Muriel Spark's Novels. Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses 1988.

JUNG, C.G. Answer to Job. Translated by R.F.C. HULL. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973, 2nd edition 2002.

MACLEISH, Archibald. J.B., a play in verse. Sentry Edition. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1958.

ROTH, Joseph. Job, the story of a simple man. New York: Viking, 1931.

SIMON, Neil  God's Favorite. New York: Random House, 1975.

SPARK, Muriel. The Only Problem. London: Bodley Head, 1984.

TERRIEN, S. Job: Poet of Existence. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1957.

WALKER, Dorothea. Muriel Spark. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1988.

WHEDBEE, W. “The Comedy of Job.” Semeia 7 (1977): 1-39.