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THE BOOK OF JOB

GEORGE A. BARTON

INTRODUCTION

THE book of Job belongs to the "Wisdom” literature of the Hebrews. Other books belonging to this class of writings are Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, among canonical books; Ecclesiasticus (or the Wisdom of the Son of Sirach) and the Wisdom of Solomon, among Old Testament Apocrypha. Of all these books Job is the greatest both in religious depth and in literary power. The “Wisdom” literature was produced by Israel's sages. In their way they made a contribution to Israel's religious thought as important as that of priests or prophets.

GENERAL ANALYSIS OF THE BOOK

As the text of the Book of Job stands it falls into the following divisions : 1. The Prologue; chs. 1, 2. This is in prose.

I 2. Job's Wail of Despair; ch. 3.

3. The great Debate between Job and his Friends on Suffering; chs. 4–31. Chs. 3-31 are in poetry.

4. The Elihu Speeches. Chs. 32–37. Of these 32:1-6a are in prose and the rest in poetry.

5. Jehovah's Address and the final Colloquy between Jehovah and Job; 38:1-42: 6, in poetry.

6. The Epilogue; 42:7-17, in prose.

THE STORY OF JOB AND THE POEM BY DIFFERENT AUTHORS

It requires no very profound study of Job to convince one that the prologue and epilogue are not the work of the poet who wrote the bulk of the book, but that they belong to an old folk tale which he found already in cir

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