Great Books 101: Ancient to Medieval

The Book of Job”

Overview

The story of Job interrupts the Old Testament historical sequence found in Genesis through Esther. A literary and theological masterpiece, the Book of Job is the first of the “wisdom books.” Wisdom is a common characteristic of the righteous throughout the Old Testament, and it is a sign of God’s favor. Job is introduced as the greatest man in the East, who lives a righteous life, has great wealth, and is favored by God.

Job’s life is turned upside down in one of the most famous Biblical trials of faith. His family and property are either taken or destroyed, and he is scourged with boils from head to toe. In a show of unshakable faith, which challenges the conventional wisdom, Job does not blame God for the evils that befall him. Accused of impiety and wickedness, Job bears witness to a living Redeemer, who will be the arbiter between man and God. A careful reading of the Book of Job reveals a hope for all mankind in the emergence of a new kind of wisdom.

Lecture

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Recommended Readings

Discussion Questions

  1. According to Dr. Sundahl, what is the job of the Book of Job?
  2. How is the Book of Job connected with the wisdom of the New Testament? 
  3. What does the metaphor of the tree have to do with hope?
  4. What can the Book of Job teach us about wisdom today?

Q & A Session

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Daniel J. Sundahl is a Professor of English at Hillsdale College and the Director of the Hillsdale College Program in American Studies. He received his B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College and Northern Arizona University, his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Utah.