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The Book of Job: A Contest of Moral Imaginations Paperback – June 29, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0195396287 ISBN-10: 0195396286

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Editorial Reviews


"This book offers an insightful reading of Job and conceptually advances the understanding of modes of expression of Iraelite religious thought." --Old Testament Abstracts

"This approach results in a extraordinary reading of Job, both methodologically and substantively. Newsom does not pretend to resolve all the interpretive cruxes, but to put the conversation on a firm footing, and she succeeds admirably.... readers who engage Job under her guidance will find themselves grappling indirectly with its moral and even its pastoral implications. This is the kind of interpretation that gets to the heart of the matter and makes a real difference--criticism in the best sense of the word."--Anglican Theological Review

"Carol Newsom's magnificent analysis of the book of Job from the perspective of modern hermeneutics, and propelled by the theme of the moral imagination, is destined to become a classic. Her deft handling of the interpretive tradition, her choice of guides--e.g., Mikhail Bakhtin, Wayne Booth, Emmanuel Levinas, Paul Ricoeur, Martha Nussbaum, Alasdair MacIntyre--and her engagement with the biblical text in all its complexity are a joy to behold."--James L. Crenshaw, Robert L. Flowers Professor of the Old Testament, Duke University

"Carol Newsom's study of Job is an insightful and provocative reading of that most difficult of biblical books. By combining literary-critical and postmodern methodologies, she significantly advances our interpretation of the book of Job, solving many problems that earlier treatments have not. This is a major and substantial contribution, lucid in both argument and style. Future work on Job will have to begin where Newsom leaves off." --Michael D. Coogan, Editor, The New Oxford Annotated Bible, The Oxford History of the Biblical World, and The Oxford Companion to the Bible

"Carol Newsom's new book raises the level of discourse on the discourse of the Book of Job to a higher plane. Rarely has such literary sophistication been applied to a Biblical text with such clarity and moment. We are led to read the different parts of Job and the different voices given expression within them in dialogue with each other, without privileging one over the other. Drawing (ever critically) on the work of Bakhtin and several other theorists and critics, Newsom makes a powerful argument for an active reading of Job that is intensely engaged both textually and morally. No serious reader of Job will pass over Newsom's book, and no reader of the book will ever be the same. Readers may well find it, as I did, a milestone in their education. A tour de force and a major contribution to Biblical interpretation."--Edward L. Greenstein, Professor of Bible, Tel Aviv University

About the Author

Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament at Emory University's Candler School of Theology. She has written and edited several books, and is co-editor of The Oxford Annotated Bible .

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (June 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195396286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195396287
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #922,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daniel A. Walter on December 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Newsom's thesis is that the truth about God and suffering in the book of Job is not found in any one pronouncement of the book, any section, or any genre, rather it is explored through the dialogic process. Job is a polyphonic text, meaning a text composed of different voices, none of which has privilege. While this will be less than satisfying to some, it does offer an interesting study. Newsom does a lot of work with narrative theory, as opposed to many of the Job scholars out there. Some of her unique insights include an ingenious explanation for why the third cycle of the dialogues ends the way it does, the (il)logic of Job's speeches in the dialogue, and an interesting theory on Elihu's speeches. Job invites us to offer our own explanation for suffering to the discussion. If you have been working on Job for a while and are frustrated with all the conflicting theories, pick this book up for a fresh read.
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By R. Taylor on September 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Quite a slog through this because I don't purrrrr through intellectually-inspired theological petting. Almost finished. However, I enjoyed the unique perspective of Moral Imaginations and the juxtaposition of poem, prose, wisdom dialog to decode a divine dissertation. This perspective gave me a greater understanding of Jesus' parables.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Phyllis F. Perkins on February 6, 2013
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One of the most widely referred to books in the Bible and yet probably one of the least understood. We talk of Job as a cliche, but this book makes the timeless moral, philosophical and even existential issues (ooooooh doesn't that sound heavy?) of the book come alive -- even to those of us who don't really believe in an immanent God! And unlike this review, it is very readable!
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