The Two Testaments finished its podcast-tour through the Book of Job recently with a discussion focused on Job’s concluding words and the epilogue: Job 42 (Job’s Response and Epilogue) with Carol Newsom.
The podcast is hosted at The Two Testaments, and it’s available at YouTube:
Carol Newsom is the author of The Book of Job: A Contest of Moral Imaginations.
In the podcast, Newsom emphasizes the tension between the epilogue and the many chapters of poetry that preceded it. The epilogue is very different from the main body of Job for many reasons, not just because it is written in prose. God has just finished apparently correcting Job in some way in chapters 38-41, but then in the epilogue he affirms that Job and not any of his Friends has spoken rightly of God. Why is that? Newsom explores the possibilities, and what I really appreciate about her approach is that she accepts that there is no way to flatten out the tension in Job and to make it a comfortable text that can be neatly understood and filed away.
Like any great work, Job will always raise unsettling questions for us.
I also like her discussion of Job 42:6, Job’s final statement (“dust and ashes”). Her view on this verse is very similar to that of William P. Brown, whose podcast I posted about earlier: they both argue that this verse has been usually mistranslated, and they both translate Job’s final statement as expressing that he is “comforted.” But, Newsom warns, the English word does not quite mean what the original did, and perhaps conveys too-sunny a sense of the painful but ultimately positive shift that’s taken place in Job. This is the comfort that a man in mourning has, and it isn’t sunniness. But it does mean life.
A great highlight for me is Newsom’s discussion of Job’s daughters.