Did Job live “happily ever after”? Suspicion and naïvety in Job 42:7-17

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Abstract

The book of Job apparently ends happily ever after, with the restoration of the protagonist’s family and fortune (42:7-17). Juxtaposed with the rest of the book, however, this epilogue may appear incongruent and deeply problematic. In light of this, this article argues that a double reading is warranted. On the one hand, we may read the epilogue with a hermeneutic of suspicion, which resists superficial worldviews and protests against injustice. This reading will unmask troubling features in the representation of Job’s God, Job’s restoration, and Job’s speech. On the other hand, though – and drawing on Paul Ricœur – we may approach the text with “second naïvety.” We are thereby welcomed to inhabit the symbolic wholeness of the textual world. The text invites both these readings and does not adjudicate between them. By holding them in dialectic tension, we enrich both hermeneutics and theology.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Theological Interpretation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Job
  • Job 42
  • epilogue
  • frame narration
  • Ricœur
  • second naïvety
  • suspicion
  • hermeneutics
  • happy ending
  • ambiguity

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