6 September 2023 |
For thousands of years mankind has wrestled with the problem of human suffering. The book of Job is primarily concerned with this problem. The first two chapters are in prose and the last chapter is mostly prose. Sandwiched between these two prose passages are 39 chapters of poetry. If we take the last prose passage and combine it with the prose at the beginning, we have a complete folk tale in prose. The poetic chapters consist of a dialogue or debate regarding Job’s traumatic experiences. The folk tale is used as the setting and context for the debate.
The prose chapters have all the trappings of a folk tale: a “once upon a time” kind of beginning and a “happily ever after” kind of ending. They also have the characteristic repetition of key phrases that make a folk tale memorable and easily transmissible in the oral tradition. The prose and the poetry compositions differ not only in genre, but also in names used for God, Job’s attitude, Job’s reward, and explanations of suffering.
Overall, four explanations of suffering emerge from this discussions between Satan, Job’s friends, Elihu, and Job himself. Our discussion can consider whether each is true, never true, or sometimes true.
Horace B. Alexander M.A., Ed.S., Ed.D., is a Professor Emeritus of English with a specialty in the literature of the Bible. The author of the historical novel Moon Over Port Royal, he has also served as a school principal, District Superintendent, Dean of Instruction, and College Vice President.
Gina Jett is a retired attorney from the Sacramento area.
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The class is intended to last about 2 hours, though the conversation often continues to 4 PM (Eastern time).
About our class:
- The AT Sabbath Seminar is intended to be a courteous forum. We discuss and ask questions politely. We don’t accuse, get angry, put people down, or judge the state of their salvation.
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We look forward to getting acquainted with you!
- Bryan Ness (PUC)
- Raj Attiken (Kettering)
- Tom deBruin
- Pilira Zapita (Newbold)
- Kärt Lazic (Newbold)
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