Help! Re: Job : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

This was posted on another board. I would like some help on how to respond. Thanks.

"Job" Never existed. His tale was just that a tale, a moral, a example of giving to God everything and receiving nothing in return...well Not to the end:)

Anyway, Asimov's Guide to The Bible expains all this....Isaac BTW Never became a beliver...he died an agnostic..all he tried to do in his writings was to treat the Bible as History and track down what he could. Asimov was very much into black and white facts:)

-- jackiea (, January 25, 2001


To the top, please.

-- jackiea (, January 25, 2001.


Thanks for this interesting query, Jackiea.
As far as I know, the Catholic Church has never made an infallible statement about whether or not the Book of Job is pure history, pure parable/allegory, or something in between. She has only stated infallibly that the book is divinely inspired.
I found the following paragraphs from the old (pre-1920) Catholic Encyclopedia to be helpful. I hope that they help you too. (Remember, though, that these are the opinions of an encycopedia editor, not of a pope or bishop.)

John ----------------------
"Many look upon the entire contents of the book as a freely invented parable which is neither historical nor intended to be considered historical. [They claim that] no such man as Job ever lived. Catholic commentators, however, almost without exception, hold Job to have actually existed and his personality to have been preserved by popular tradition. Nothing in the text makes it necessary to doubt his historical existence. The Scriptures seem repeatedly to take this for granted (cf. Ezekiel 14:14; James 5 ...). All the Fathers of the Church considered Job an historical person; ... The Martyrology of the Latin Church mentions Job [as a saint] on 10 May, that of the Greek Church on 6 May ... . The Book of Job, therefore, has a kernel of fact, with which have been united many imaginative additions that are not strictly historical. What is related by the poet in the prose prologue and epilogue is in the main historical: the persons of the hero and his friends; the region where be lived; his good fortune and virtues; the great misfortune that overwhelmed him and the patience with which lie bore it; the restoration of his Prosperity. It is also to be accepted that Job and his friends discussed the origin of his sufferings, and that in so doing views were expressed similar to those the poet puts into the mouths of his characters. The details of the execution, the poetic form, and the art shown in the arrangement of the arguments in the dispute are, however, the free creation of the author. The figures expressive of the wealth of Job both before and after his trial are imaginatively rounded. Also in the narrative of the misfortunes it is impossible not to recognize a poetic conception which need not be considered as strictly historical. The scene in heaven (i, 6; ii, 1) is plainly an allegory which shows that the Providence of God guides the destiny of man (cf. St. Thomas, "In Job"). The manifestation of God (Job 38:1) generally receives a literal interpretation from commentators. St. Thomas [Aquinas], however, remarks that it may also be taken metaphorically as an inner revelation accorded to Job.

" The Church teaches that the book was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Thus all that its author gives as historical fact or otherwise guarantees possesses unfailing Divine truth. The question, however, arises, what does the book guarantee?
"(a) Everything in prologue or epilogue that is the comment of the author is Divine truth; nevertheless, what is perhaps poetic ornament must not be confounded with historical verity or objective dogmatic precepts. The same authority is possessed by the utterances assigned by the poet to God. The like is true of the speeches of Elihu. Some think the speeches of Elihu are to be judged just as are those of Job and his friends.
"(b) The speeches of Job and his three friends have in themselves no Divine authority, but only such human importance as Job and his three friends are personally entitled to. They have, however, Divine authority when, and in as far as, they are approved by the author expressly or tacitly. In general, such tacit approbation is to be understood for all points concerning which the disputants agree, unless the author, or God, or Eliu, shows disapproval. Thus the words of Job have in large degree Divine authority, because the view be maintains against the three friends is plainly characterized by the author as the one relatively correct. Yet much that the three friends say is of equal importance, because it is at least tacitly approved. St. Paul argues (I Cor 3:19) from a speech of Eliphaz (Jo 5:13) as from an inspired writing.
"(c) In particular places, especially where descriptions of nature are given or other secular matters are referred to, the caution prescribed by the rules of hermeneutics should be observed."

-- J. F. Gecik (, January 26, 2001.

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