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


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On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent + A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation (15th Anniversary Edition with New Introduction by Author) + Introducing Liberation Theology
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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: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #196,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

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.

Review

On Job asks a direct and profound question: How, in the face of so much suffering among the human innocent, can we talk about God? Theodicy is, of course, the business most central, intellectually, to liberation and theology, and Gutierrez is first and foremost a liberationist Christian. While On Job does not unravel the mysteries of evil (nor should it, Gutierrez observes), it does follow clearly mid with integrity Job's progress toward God-talk and understmiding. In doing so, the author, by analogy, states movingly and potently the spirituality of Latin American Christians today. In his conclusion, Gutierrez offers us an explicit summary of his ministry and of the volume's: "...for us Latin Americans the question is not precisely 'How are we to do theology after AuschwitzT ...In Latin America we are still experiencing ... the torture we find so blameworthy in the Jewish holocaust But Christianity everywhere, Gutierrez continues, will be matured and perhaps even "...scandalized at hearing a frank avowal of the human and religious experience of the poor, and at seeing their clumsy attempts to relate their lives to the God in whom they have such deep faith." All in all, not a shocking book; not an exciting book, not an easy book. Just an instructive, compassionate, graceful book, and one lacking in all politics save that of our shared humanity. -- From Independent Publisher --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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I would recommend this book to those who study theology/philosophy.
Efrain Albarran
Gutierrez does an excellent job analyzing the Book of Job and explaining its relevant theological messages.
John L. Hennessey
Gutierrez helps us see how JOB is a listener - a listener to hear the will of God.
Kenneth M. Servais

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 39 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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18 of 19 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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11 of 11 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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John L. Hennessey on September 29, 2005
Format: Paperback
Gutierrez does an excellent job analyzing the Book of Job and explaining its relevant theological messages. Of special importance is the refuting of the social darwinistic doctrine of temporal retribution (which is the belief that people are rewarded or punished during their lives based on their sins). The theological arguments are rather complex, but are explained so clearly that they are easy to understand. While Gutierrez makes a connection between the message of the Book of Job and poverty in Latin America, this theme could have been expanded upon more in the book. All in all, this book is a very interesting read and is a must for those who wish to understand the Book of Job.
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