In the interest of the praxiological exploration of contrapuntal hermeneutics as a frame of entry into the biblical text, this project focuses on exegetical explorations of the book of Job. ®e book of Job suggests itself as a particularly appropriate text for this project for several reasons. First, the book holds in tension the contrapuntal voices of Job, Job’s wife, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, Elihu, and God, voices whose atonality is preserved rather than harmonized in the text itself. Second, it has been the subject of a wide variety of interpretations, both academic and vernacular, including historical-critical, literary, theological, feminist and psychological approaches, as well as interpretations from the perspective of various liberation theologies, from within the context of HIV/AIDS in Africa, and from within a variety of Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic traditions.1 ®ird, in light of the previous observations, the questions raised
1. An exhaustive list of these interpretations would consume a volume in itself. I offer here only a representative sample of the work done in these various veins: Gerhard von Rad, Wisdom in Israel; also von Rad, “Job XXXVIII and Ancient Egyptian Wisdom,” in The Problem of the Hexateuch and Other Essays (trans. E. W. Trueman Dicken; Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1966), 281-91; Norman C. Habel, The Book of Job: A Commentary (London: SCM Press, 1985); also Habel, “®e Verdict on/of God at the End of Job,” Concilium 4 (2004): 2-38; Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV.3.1 (eds G. W. Bromiley and T. F. Torrance; trans. G. W. Bromiley; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1961); Susannah Ticciati, Job and the Disruption of Identity: Reading Beyond Barth (London: T&T Clarke International, 2005); F. Rachel Magdalene, “Job’s Wife As Hero: A Feminist-Forensic Reading of the Book of Job,” Biblical Interpretation 14 (3) (2006): 209-58; Carl Jung, Answer to Job (trans. R. F. C. Hull; London: Routledge, 2002); Jack Kahn and Hester Solomon, Job’s Illness, Loss, Grief and Integration: A Psychological Interpretation (Oxford: Pergamon, 1975); Elsa Tamez, “From Father to the Needy to Brother of Jackals and Companion of Ostriches: A Meditation on Job,” Concilium 4 (2004): 103-11; Gustavo Gutiérrez, On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent (trans. M. J. O’Connell; Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1987); Gerald O. West with Bongi Zengele, “Reading Job ‘Positively’ in the Context of HIV/AIDS in South Africa,” Concilium 4 (2004): 112-24; Sarojini Nadar, “Re-Reading Job in the Midst of Suffering in
in this particular text are demonstrably resonant across a wide variety of contexts and disciplines as well as across the gap between academic and vernacular hermeneutics. As such, the book of Job offers a unique arena within which to play out this contrapuntal encounter. ®e next three chapters will explore the interpretive possibilities afforded by contrapuntal hermeneutics in the Joban arena.