R411 Winter 2020 The Book of Job
Tuesdays, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 28–Feb. 18
Instructor: Tom Manteuffel
The author of the Bible’s Book of Job—some anonymous genius of the 6th or 5th century BCE—takes as his starting point a story already ancient when he wrote. The story plumbs the following question: if God is both all-powerful and loving, how can he not intervene when evil thrives and the innocent suffer? Profound as that question is, this course focuses on the literary artistry of the Book of Job more than its answer to that question (although some thoughts will be offered on what the author's answer might have been). The course will be based on Robert Alter’s authoritative rendering into English of the biblical Hebrew, with other translations brought in as needed for fuller understanding. The Book of Job is the most carefully structured book in the biblical canon, and it is full of surprises. This course examines the literary elements that make this work of art timeless and compelling for our modern age.
Tom Manteuffel has been interested in the Book of Job since he was a teenager. He holds advanced degrees in philosophy and computer science.