Sunday, April 5, 2009

Job Resources

I read a few good essays on Job during my three days away. Dust Wind and Agony, by Michael Cheney is a helpful surmise of characterization in Job based on a top down structural approach (length of speech in poems and cola, internal microstructures, verbal and linguistic clues, etc). I thought of many things to say as I read it - and they may come out in subsequent and comments on or revisions of past posts. It was good to have a sense of how little traction Tur Sinai's approach has had. Cheney has a particularly good look at Aramaic and Arabic as well as archaisms in the dialogues and concludes that the ancients knew how to write dialect and used such skill as part of the characterization of individual speakers.

I also have Harold Bloom's collection of essays on The Book of Job with contributions by Northrope Frye on Blake's Job - brilliant as usual, Robert Alter, always the perceptive poet - I love his approach to the speeches of יְהוָה, Ken Frieden - the closest to a unified response, an unexpected gem, Réné Girard, meaningful but perseverating on his thesis. Also in the the book is an essay by Daiches which I did not find gripping or exciting, and Ricoeur, which got better towards the end but began with such abstraction that I had nowhere to stand. Bloom's Introduction is short and to the point - 4/7 for the book as a whole.

I also have the Word Commentary by David Clines which I will try and look at in more depth. At least it is a second commentary but on first glance I thought it was too heavy to put in the car for holiday reading. The testimonia at the beginning from Auden, Calvin, Frost, etc are delightful. I will conclude with two of these - one from Clines and one from Cheney (who also cites Clines).

[God to Job in the afterlife]
Robert Frost

You realize by now the part you played
To stultify the Deuteronomist
And change the tenor of religious thought

Leonard Cohen
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in

The Auden is over my head - but I know it is very clever as are all his poems that I have sung. I won't copy it since it is probably still under copyright - Google this if you like:

where job squats awkwardly upon his ashpit
... Scraping himself with blunted Occam Razors

Also a bit more of it here, a place I am happy to reference. I do have my prejudices.

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