- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (January 1, 1900)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 8571395543
- ISBN-13: 978-0060969592
- ASIN: 0060969598
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 57 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The BOOK OF JOB Paperback – January 1, 1900
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"Entralling."--George Steiner, "The New Yorker""Where the text is intrinsically moral, criticism becomes a moral act. Stephen Mitchell's superb translation of "The Book of Job" is moral in just this way--it puts us on the closest terms with the Old Testament book that many commentators regard as the crucial post-Holocaust parable."--David Lehman, "Newsweek""If Mr. Mitchell gives an eloquent account of the effects of Job's poetry in his introduction, in the translation itself he does even better: he makes those effects come alive. Writing with three insistent beats to the line, and hammering home a succession of boldly defined images, he achieves a rare degree of vehemence and concentration."--John Cross, "New York Times""The thoughtful reading of this astonishing translation has been for me a rare experience combining poetry and enlightment."--Erik H. Erikson
From the Back Cover
The theme of "The Book of Job" is nothing less than human suffering and the transcendence of it: it pulses with moral energy, outrage, and spiritual insight.
Now, "The Book of Job" has been rendered into English by the eminent translator and scholar Stephen Mitchell, whose versions of Rilke, Israeli poetry, and the "Tao Te Ching" have been widely praised. This is the first time ever that the Hebrew verse of Job has been translated into verse in any language, ancient or modern, and the result is a triumph.
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I like some of Mitchell's books more than others but this is my favorite of the several I've read. You can really feel old Job's pain and despair and frustration. He argues with his friends, he argues with God-- what have I done, what's it all about? Where are you?
Carl Jung also wrote a book about Job that I love, 'Answer To Job' which is a psychological analysis of, as Jung sees it, the problem of evil and the character of God. Also a very good important book but this present book of Mitchell's is a completely different thing; this one paraphrases the biblical text but, in my opinion, immensely improves what we read in standard versions of the Bible.
This book should become a great classic.
The author briefly discusses the Hindu holy book of Bhagavadgita and the Book of Job on the Problem of the Self as a matter of academic expediency, since God talk to Arjuna, like he does with Job. In Bhagavadgita, Lord Krishna teaches and mentors Arjuna of his spiritual journey and quest for enlightenment. Krishna first comforts Arjuna by instructing him on the externality of the human soul and helping to stave off Arjuna 's own fear of personal mortality and fighting a war with his own kith and kin. In this story, God stands as a protector of Arjuna and all mortals (1, 2).
The author has translated the book from Hebrew to English with an emphasis on the accuracy and the meaning of the original version of the scripture. The life of Prophet Job dates back to about fifth century B.C., but the earliest Hebrew manuscript that survived was written some 1500 hundred years later. Through many centuries of or oral and scribal transmission, corruptions have occurred in the Book of Job. To prove this point, the author discusses selected verses such as 5:6-7; 23:13; 39:21, etc.
1. The Bhagavad Gîtâ and the Book of Job on the Problem of the Self, James Norton, East-West Studies on the Problem of the Self, 1968, pp 177-192
2. Dilemma and Resolution in Bhagavad-Gita and Job, Hazel S. Alberson, College English Vol. 18, No. 8 (May, 1957), pp. 406-413
Be aware that some verses are moved from their places, Elihu's monolog is deleted entirely (understandable from an academic perspective but unthinkable from a Jewish one) and a key (perhaps "the" key) part of Job's epilogue is left out, deleting what is arguably the main point of the book:
Job was restored only when he prayed for his friends.
In the beginning, Job is essentially self-centered. At the end, Job prays for his friends and as a result, all is restored. In Mr. Mitchell's book this lesson doesn't exist.
For an elaboration on this theme, see Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik's essay "Out of the Whirlwind" in his book by the same name (KTAV, 2003).