PG 489 Literary and Theological Readings of the Book of Job

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Module Level


Time Allowance

First semester, ten two-hour seminars.


Seminar Attendance, Participation and Reflection Papers (2000 words) 30%; Final 5000-word essay 70%

Module Aims

In this module, participants will explore the literary and theological complexities of an ancient masterpiece, the biblical book of Job.

Learning Outcomes

  • Interpret biblical poetry with a sensitivity to its literary conventions.
  • Articulate how literary gaps and ambiguities within the text have given rise to different interpretations of the book of Job.
  • Critically engage with a range of theological readings of Job.
  • Relate the book of Job to theological issues of creation, suffering, theodicy, divine revelation and the human quest for meaning.


  • Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Poetry (revised edition). New York NY: Basic Books 2011.
  • Samuel E. Balentine, Job (Smyth and Helwys Bible Commentary) Macon GA: Smyth and Helwys, 2006.
  • Leora Batnitzky and Ilana Pardes, The Book of Job: Aesthetics, Ethics, Hermeneutics. DeGruyter Mouton, 2015 [ebook].
  • Athalya Brenner, "Job the Pious? The Characterisation of Job in the Narrative Framework of the Book," Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 43 (1989): 37-52.
  • Gustavo Gutierrez, On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent. Maryknoll NY: Orbis Books, 1987.
  • Norman C. Habel, Finding Wisdom in Nature: An Eco-Wisdom Reading of the Book of Job. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2014
  • F. Rachel Magdalene, "Job's Wife as hero: a feminist-forensic reading of the book of Job," Interpretation 14 (2006): 155-182.
  • Carol A. Newsom, The Book of Job: A Contest of Moral Imaginations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009 [ebook]
  • Abigail Pelham, Contested Creations in the Book of Job: The world as it ought and ought not to be. Leiden: Brill 2012.
  • Choon-Leong Seow, Job 1-21: Interpretation and Commentary. Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans, 2013.
  • Samuel Terrien, The Iconography of Job through the Centuries: Artists as biblical interpreters. Philadelphia PA: Penn State Press, 1996.
  • Maarten Wisse, Scripture between Creativity and Identity. A Hermeneutical Theory Building upon Four Interpretations of Job. Utrecht: Ars Disputandi, 2003.