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On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent Paperback – July 1, 1987

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Here is a theological reflection-cum-commentary on the book of Job by the founder of liberation theology. Seeking fruitful ways to talk about God from the perspective of innocent suffering (a concern grounded in commitment to the poor of Latin America), Gutierrez focuses on two types of language Job discovers: that of prophecy , as he generalizes beyond his own plight to the suffering of others, and that of contemplation , as he responds to the voice in the whirlwind. Extremely well done. EC
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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"Brilliant"--Elie Wiesel

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Product Details

  • Series: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent
  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books (July 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0883445522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0883445525
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Geno Ford on July 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
In his book, On Job: God-talk and the Suffering of the Innocent, Gustavo Gutiérrez, an innovator of Latin American Liberation Theology, tries to discover the meaning of the Book of Job and how it can contribute to both how we talk about God and how we approach the reality of human suffering, in particularly, the suffering of the innocent. Gutiérrez shows readers how Job's experiences gradually cause him to doubt the theory of retribution and to evolve in his understanding of God's freedom, love, justice and gratuitousness.

Gutiérrez helps us to understand how difficult it is to talk about God when the innocent suffer and how empty theology sounds when it refuses to speak from the harsh realities of life. Gutiérrez incorporates the works of various scholars, priests, playwrights, teachers, theologians and Latin American poets to help readers understand his approach to the topic. Gutiérrez thoroughly analyzes the deep messages to be found in the Book of Job and concludes by challenging Christians to use the insights found in its text to contemplate God's gratuitousness and live in accordance with its demands as we seek to help the plight of the innocent sufferers in the world.

Gutiérrez believes that Job's suffering has made him more conscious of other innocent sufferers. Gutiérrez also insists that God's justice can only be understood in the light of God's gratuitousness. He insists that the world turns on God's gratuitousness, not the theory of retribution. Gutiérrez also insists that those who suffer and talk (or complain) about God with honesty may actually be more pleasing to God than those who, like Job's friends, worship and obey God out of self-interested hope of reward or fear of punishment.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth M. Servais on June 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am reading G. Gutierrez's book "ON JOB:God-talk and the suffering of the innocent" for the second time this summer (2000). I find it as refreshing and guiding as the first time that I read it several years ago. Not being a theologian, nor a biblical scholar, it helped me understand the Old Testament book of JOB, which I think is challenging to understand. There are two main reasons I liked it. First, it helped me understand the essence of religion, i.e., giving praise to God, rather than the rewards and punishment that can easily be promoted by western thinking or the petitioning of God "to do our will." It also lays the basis for deep prayer - contemplation. Second, it helped me understand the plight of the poor. Until all of us recognize that each of us is broken, i.e., "poor" to some extent there will be incomplete or no peace in this world. As a public educator, I think this is an essential understanding for working with the young in our society. Gustavo Gutierrez's reflection on JOB helps us gain that understanding. In my sharing with my colleagues I express the uniqueness of the gift of "listening". It is the best gift we can give our family, friends, or students. Gutierrez helps us see how JOB is a listener - a listener to hear the will of God. In our educated ways, whether in education, theology, business, medicine, law, etc., we miss it if we don't understand the wisdom of JOB. Gutierrez can help one understand it. A quote from the text: "The men (women) are competent, even if mistaken, theologians (or put the other professions); they are convinced of their teaching but they are unaware that it has nothing to say to suffering human beings." (p.Read more ›
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bomojaz on May 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
Gustavo Gutierrez is a liberation theologian from Lima, Peru. In this book he discusses the connection between the oppression of Job and his questioning God for his plight, and the need for the poor to do the same. Job, however, does not abandon God but remains faithful. When Christ on the Cross asks God why he has abandoned him, Gutierrez reminds us that we must hear those words and respond. "Those who suffer unjustly have a right to complain and protest," he says. Jesus will not be heard if "our tongues keep quiet about what our souls believe." Yet the message of the Cross must not be forgotten and leads to salvation. "Only if we know how to be silent and involve ourselves in the suffering of the poor will we be able to speak out of their hope." To be truly involved, Gutierrez assures us, removes us from being merely "sorry comforters" - what Job accused (rightly) his friends of being. Gutierrez's book is enlightening and profound and speaks to the poor and the faithful alike.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Conniry on January 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This remarkable commentary is a coalescence of both great scholarly insight on the Old Testament book of Job and a plea for the poor and weak who find their voice in Job's story. Gutierrez examines Job's situation through the lens of Latin-American suffering. This agenda, though perfectly reasonable in its aims, sometimes leads Gutierrez to some rather gratuitous conclusions regarding the actual text - none so gratuitous, however, as to be unforgivable. I will begin with a brief overview of the book at large and end with some of my own conclusions regarding Gutierrez's treatment of Job.

To begin with, the book of Job tells the story of God testing Job's faith by allowing Satan to bring Job's life from fortune to misfortune. Job is brought through a number of tribulations, from the loss of his entire family to malignant skin diseases. Job's friends contend that his misery is a direct result of sin in his life. Job argues against his friends and brings his frustration and queries in direct appeal to God - even challenging God. Finally, God enters the narrative in the ending chapters to confront Job. In analysis of this Old Testament book, Gutierrez makes the beginning observation that Job's story, though written with a specific purpose in mind, seems written with "a faith that has been drenched in tears and reddened by blood." What makes this a particularly powerful observation is that it seems readily apparent that such a description can be equally applied to Gutierrez. His words are not like those of meticulous scholars who sacrifice meaning in pursuit of its details, but rather of one who is emotionally and personally invested in the topic he's writing about.

Gutierrez's treatment of Job can be broken down into four prominent themes that carry from beginning to culmination.
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