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Elihu and the interpretation of the book of Job

Evans, John MacLaren (1990) Elihu and the interpretation of the book of Job. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Detailed analysis of a number of passages in 32-37 establishes: (1) that Elihu does not present a solution to the problem of the suffering of the innocent: his view of suffering as punishment for actual sin and intended to communicate to man the necessity of repentance, is not an enunciation of a distinctive conception of divine pedagogy or discipline, but represents essentially the same position as that of the three friends; (2) that neither his name nor his more extensive genealogy is significative of a spectral mediatorial role; it is probable that they merely fulfil the interpolator's purpose in symbolising the exalted spiritual status of Elihu and thereby legitimising the belated appearance of a hitherto unacknowledged participant in the debate; (3) that there is no basis for the conception of Elihu as a mediator between God and man; on the contrary, it is evident that he intervenes on behalf of God and against Job; his speeches are principally a polemic against the Divine speeches, to be understood, not as providing a transition to the theophany, but as rendering the appearance of God altogether unnecessary. In conclusion, it is suggested that a diachronic approach has continuing value in application not only to the book of Job, but to the Old Testament as a whole. A synchronic approach is in danger of assuming an intrinsic unity which in actuality does not exist. In its final form, Job is an amalgam that, far from possessing a theological or a literary, even a dramatic, unity, contains a multiplicity of voices and traditions, of which Elihu is one. To see the book otherwise is to neutralise the dynamic quality or message which has made it so enduring.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Davidson, Prof. R.
Date of Award: 1990
Depositing User: Elaine Ballantyne
Unique ID: glathesis:1990-1933
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2010
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2014 15:32
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/1933

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