Redefining Job and the Conundrum of Suffering

This page is dedicated to the journey of writing my book about Job. The Book of Job is one of my most treasured passages and a piece that is forever showing me new and wonderful things.  Yes, wonderful.  This may be due to my vision of Job which does not see the man weeping on the ash heap, facing loss, and suffering further aggravation from friends and family.  I see a hero.  I see a man who looks at the world, the universe, and still dares to ask, nay demand, “What is going on here?”  I see a man who accepts that “bad things” happen, but that the intensity of such occurrences can be inexplicable.  I see a man willing to stand toe to toe with his Maker and accept the consequences, knowing the power he faces.  To hear the phrase “the patience of Job” is, to me, an odd interpretation.  I suppose he was, to some degree, patient. My hero, however, is the Job that looks the universe square in the eye and says, “Teach me.  Instruct me.  Show me your ways.”

The other part of my journey is the story of the fellow that tried for a number of years to get me to start writing.  Not just about Job, but about a number of things within scripture as well as things I found inspiring elsewhere.  This fellow was my husband.  Before vascular dementia took his mind away we would spend hours and hours discussing, debating, quibbling over a whole spectrum of subjects in literature, history, the sciences, and in scripture.  His knowledge of the ancient languages of Greek, Latin and Hebrew gave my thought process depth.  His educational background included a PhD in philosophy from the University of North Carolina, and a Masters or two in math and biological sciences.  As a teenager he was instructed by both Jesuits and rabbis and won a scholarship to NYU Courant Institute at 16.

This was my training field.  Our late night conversations helped me organize my thoughts, clarify my arguments and define sources for the information I was lacking.  Add to this a life time in accounting,  financial analysis, and business modeling, and you have a person that loves to take things apart and see how they should fit together.  I only wish I had managed to start my writing career before I lost my most avid supporter.  I still hear him, though.  Each paragraph I write stares back at me with similar questions, “Does this really make sense?”  “Have you considered this?”  “You’ve wandered a bit here and your metaphor has a severe limp.”  Which causes me to dig a bit deeper.  It is my sincere hope that the process develops a work that is informative and helpful; now and with future publications.

This page is meant to help track of the progress of Redefining Job and the Conundrum of Suffering. Some of my blog posts refer to the work. I have created a category, My Journey With Job, which groups them together.  I thought it would be helpful here to provide an outline of what the book will look like. It contains a bibliography of ancient and modern references. I have also engaged a cartographer, Julie Witmer, to help illustrate portions of text, such as the ancient world of Job and his much later author.  It isn’t just about Biblical scenes, I wanted to show where the commentators who are cited lived and how their home and travels may have influenced their writings.

Last, but not least, is how the content of the text is arranged. Here, then, is the Table of Contents.

Part I: Nuts and Bolts
Chapter 1 – Who, What, Where
Chapter 2 – A Bit of Exegesis
Chapter 3 – The Language, the Author, the Date
Chapter 4 – What Happened
Chapter 5 – Building a Tool Box

Part II: Theodicy and Philosophy
Chapter 6 – The Study of Why
Chapter 7 – The Pillars of Early Christian Thought
Chapter 8 – Philosophy or Homily?
Chapter 9 – The Conservative Jewish Philosophers
Chapter 10 – The Aristotelians

Part III: A Different Point of View
Chapter 11 – The Dawn of Religion, Preliterate and Ancient Faiths
Chapter 12 – Suffering in the Far East
Chapter 13 – Suffering in the Ancient Near East
Chapter 14 – Ayyub ~ The Prophet of Patience

Part IV: Recasting Job
Chapter 15 – Is Job Really about Theodicy?
Chapter 16 – God on Trial
Chapter 17 – When it Gets Real
Chapter 18 – Can Job be Understood Through Comic Vision
Chapter 19 – Suffering in Literature

Part V: Redefining the Conversation
Chapter 20 – The Gordian Knot
Chapter 21 – The View from the Author’s Window
Chapter 22 – Consider the Measure of Earth
Chapter 23 – Consider the Beasts of the Field
Chapter 24 – Consider Leviathan
Chapter 25 – Before I Heard, But Now I See

List of Maps and Charts
Bibliography and Works Cited

Dr. David von Schlichten of Seton Hill University was kind enough to review the text and give me invaluable input. He has also agreed to write the forward.

I have also begun to secure the permissions I needed for both published citations and quotes from personal correspondence. So far, those that have helped me are quite interested in seeing the completed work.

Now I am at the stage of indexing and formatting. Somewhat of a task even with software help. My hope is to get to market in the first quarter of 2020.

From the Preface:

“…[O]nce upon a time lasts forever.”[1] Deep into the process of reviewing one of the final edits of this book, I was challenged to think about voice. How did I want this work to come across and what audience did I want to reach? The material in this book was developed using the accumulated research of many decades. There are also hints of personal experience and something of the pastoral for those in need of comfort. Was it possible to effectively reach multiple audiences and use the same content?

[1] Philip Pullman from his The Book of Dust series which the author describes as, “… an attack on the reductionism, the merciless reductionism, of doctrines with a single answer.” (Sunday Express, 2/15/2017).

I believe I can. Visit me now and then as I journey with Job and record his history and his message as clearly and as truthfully as I can.

9 responses to “Redefining Job and the Conundrum of Suffering

  1. Yours is a deeply reflective style of writing and thus thoroughly enjoyable to people like me, who love to experience the journeys other have made.

  2. Pingback: Wild Woman Waking Review on Victoria Adams’ Reading Alcove | Morgan Dragonwillow

  3. Pingback: My Journey with Job ~ Inspiration | Victoria Adams' Reading Alcove

  4. Pingback: November is the Month for Writing | Au Courant Press Journal

  5. CCKoepp

    Job is a fascinating — and often badly misunderstood — book. This promises to be an interesting read.

  6. Pingback: Why Me ~ My Journey with Job | Lenora's Culture Center and Foray into History

  7. hi, I just stumbled upon this and one more treasure box pertaining to Job. I shall read it and comment.

  8. That is some inspirational stuff. Never knew that opinions could be this varied. Thanks for any future updates.

  9. Pingback: …to the least of these | Victoria Adams' Reading Alcove

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