Is the book of Job anti-humanist? Zizek's alternative reading.

by slimboyfat 15 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • DrJohnStMark

    God demonstrates to Job his antiquity and his knowledge

    Yes. God can only boast about his encyclopedic knowledge and eloquence, due to his age, but not really his wisdom (after all his miserable failures that are omitted in the book of Job).

  • Leolaia

    I'll take a look at the videos and hear it from Zizek himself.

  • Awen

    I think What God was saying to Job boils down to this:

    "If you cannot comprehend or understand how the world works, (it's creation and why everything stays in it's assigned place and order) then my explaining to you the mechanics of why all this has happened to you will be incomprehensible."

    Try to explain the workings of a laptop computer to someone who lives 1,000 years ago and you will get a blank stare in return. It's totally out of their sphere of understanding. God was illustrating this very point by explaining the laws of creation to Job. Job couldn't comprehend it nor understand it, unless it was simplified, even then he couldn't grasp it's entirety.

    So yes, there is a huge gap between man and God, like there is between man and the ant. We can look at the ant and discern what it does and why, but if the ant were to look at us and all our cultures and many things we pursue, (be it recreation or work), it would be infathomable.

    The whole point of the Book of Job is that we must have faith in God even when we do not understand why things are they way they are. We must have faith that He is with us the entire time and will be with us at the end of our troubles. Despite the huge gulf of wisdom and knowledge that separates us, God can easily look down upon us (like we would an ant) and either allow obstacles to be put in our path or to remove said obstacles, so that we might grow spiritually.

    The Book's point was also to prove that people who really love God do so when they have it good and when things aren't so good. That this love isn't dependent upon how blessed we are and getting things from God but simply because we love God for who he is.

    So Job did prove Satan a liar who implied that Job only served God because of the good things he got from God and not because his love was unconditional. Which it was.

    Which is also how Jesus taught us that we are supposed to love, to Love one another without any thought of reward.- James1:7

  • quietlyleaving

    ql I think the book was composed in two parts: the poetic part and the narrative part, and that the poetic part is the more ancient, and more interesting from the point of view of its discussion of the relation between God and man. I wonder if you have heard about or read Karen Armstrong's book The Great Transformation that discusses the sort of rupture in thought around the time of Socrates that you mention.


    I agree that the poetic part is much older.

    I read Karen Armstrongs book a couple of years ago and must dig it out again.

    The reason I mention Socartes is because I kinda see a parallel unfolding in the book of Job as that which happened during the time of Socrates. However in Job, God reminds Job of powerful cosmological elements in nature to bring him out his limiting experience of being very ill and depressed. (In Socrates time there was a move away from cosmology to put man at the centre of the world whereas in Job God does the opposite)

    I'm also trying to find a way to synthesize Zizek's interpretation of Job. If I've understood Zizek correctly, he seems to be saying that we shouldn't give weight to a purely ideological reading of Job but should consider that, although as Leo pointed out he knows a great deal more than Job, God himself is aware of unformed powerful forces that are in a state of flux and chaos. And that God is trying to make Job aware of these forces as he knows that Job is very confined and suffering in his predicament but that being aware of the tremendous motion and energy all around us, that one can still act ("gird up your loins please" ) in harmony with or against natural forces like the animals and birds etc seem to do. And do this despite one's limiting human situation and perhaps in doing so see beyond the human.

    edit: by the way is Zizek very humanist?

  • PSacramento

    How I always viewed Job:

    Satan makes a mistake, he puts a "cahllenge" before God, knowing well that God knows all the possible outcome, yet, even as God stipulates the rules, Satan still thinks he can cause enough crap on Job's life that Job will tuen from God.

    Job gets kaiboshed up to a point where he wishes he was dead BUT never turns on God per say, but does question WHY he is going through this, even to a point to QUESTION ( and that is the key of the story, Job QUESTIONS but never turns on God or his back to God) how GOd can be so cruel.

    God replies that its none of his business and not only that, it is beyond his (Job's) place to even ask, beyond his understanding even.

    YET, God repays Job all that was done to him and gives him back everything and more so.

    Job's questioned, even argued with God BUT never turned awasy form him.

    God allowed Job to suffer, reamed Job when he dared to question Him, BUT never turned his back on Job and rewarded him for his faith AND his courage.

  • EndofMysteries

    The book of Jobs message is for GOD'S FOLLOWERS, those who 'think' they are righteous.

    Now Job did everything and every work he knew possible. He said thought himself perfect.

    His 3 friends, they brought up good points, Job kept saying he was perfect and wants to talk directly to God because he can prove that he is perfect and did NOTHING deserving of anything.

    Jobs friends said that it's IMPOSSIBLE to be 100% righteous, and that Job did something, and GOD is punishing him. They told him even if he did not do anything, that the fact he is saying he did is self righteous and GOD is punishing him for that. If Job admits he did sin, even if a secret one, that GOD would stop punishing him. They told him that his attempts to be righteous, made him God's eyes. Job took that to mean they were telling him he would be better off sinning and Job said he would not change, and still blaming God for unjust punishment on him. (His friends had ONE thing right, and that is that we can't become self righteous, everyone has sinned, and no matter how much good we due, we are not OWED anything by God)

    The last guy, he rebuked and corrected BOTH of them. Job WAS wrong to question God, was wrong to blame him or think he was the one doing this (it was Satan), and to think he was blameless, because even 'thinking' that can lead to sin, haughty, works vs faith, etc.

    The friends, they were wrong in saying it was Jehovah doing it too. They were wrong to judge him.

    The story of Job helps those who are looking for the answers on being good in Jehovahs eyes, but not trying to live by works. You must be righteous, but not think your works will OWE you anything. It's a complex and hard to understand, but after much reading and prayer will start to get it. In Pauls letters, many of them address the same issue.

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