The Vision in Job 4 and Its Role in the Book
Near the beginning of the Joban Dialogues, Job's friend Eliphaz is attributed a remarkably subversive vision (Job 4:12-21). Laced with images of divine judgment and deception, this vision undermines the very foundation of the friends' theology, and closely conforms to Job's. In particular, the vision's distinctive corporeal imagery and its conclusion that anyone can suddenly perish reflect Job's characteristic style, and form the basis for his accusations of divine injustice. In this study, Ken Brown argues that the tensions between the vision's present attribution to Eliphaz and its role in the dialogue run much deeper than is generally perceived, and can only be resolved through a reassessment of the book's development, both synchronic and diachronic. Brown suggests that the present order of Job 3-4 and 25-27 is neither original nor accidental, but reflects an intentional reframing of the dialogue, and anticipates similar moves across the earliest reception of the book. This work was awarded the Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise 2016.
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