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The Book of Job: Punishment and Reward

at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

(28)
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Description
Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 21 and older
Average Class Size: 14
System Requirements:

You will need a reliable Internet connection as well as a computer or device with which you can access your virtual class. We recommend you arrive to class 5-10 minutes early to ensure you're able to set up your device and connection.

Class Delivery:

This class will be held via Zoom unless otherwise specified

Flexible Reschedule Policy: This provider has flexible, free rescheduling for any-in person workshop. Please see the cancellation policy for more details

What you'll learn in this lecture class:

In its stark portrayal of the quest for meaning amidst great suffering, the book of Job stands alone not only in the Hebrew Bible, but also among the wisdom literature of the ancient Near East. A work of magnificent poetic beauty, it raises the perennial question of why bad things happen to good people—but with surprising responses. The character of Job contemplates the fate of the righteous but goes further to question the nature of God: “It is all the same, and so I thought: the blameless and the wicked He destroys … The earth is given in the wicked man’s hand, the face of its judges He veils. If not He—then who else?” Whether or how the book of Job resolves the problem of theodicy is itself a matter of debate, one that we will take up in the course as we critically consider: the frame narrative of God’s wager with the Adversary (ha-satan in the Hebrew); the inability of Job’s friends to comprehend unjust suffering; the rhetoric and terror of divine speech and appearance; and the notion of recompense in its strange conclusion. How can we understand the book of Job: in its historical context, in its literary formulation, and in its philosophical implications?

Engaging Job as a work of literature, we will ask: Does suffering make one wise? How does innocent suffering differ from punishment? Does suffering carry meaning? If so, who can discern that meaning? What is the role of friends in times of severe pain and profound need? What are the implications of an all-powerful God for models of political sovereignty? What bonds are formed through communal intervention in personal tragedy? We will examine Job both on its own terms and refracted through the lenses of moral and political philosophy, psychology, literature, and film. Grounding ourselves in Robert Alter’s recent translation and commentary, we will make comparisons with the King James Version, the New Revised Standard Version, and other renditions, all the while keeping adjacent works like the book of Ecclesiastes and Talmudic commentaries in hand. We will also read excerpts of Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, Hobbes’ Leviathan, Joseph Roth’s novel Job: The Story of a Simple Man, alongside other texts, and watch the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man.


Remote Learning

This course is available for "remote" learning and will be available to anyone with access to an internet device with a microphone (this includes most models of computers, tablets). Classes will take place with a "Live" instructor at the date/times listed below.

Upon registration, the instructor will send along additional information about how to log-on and participate in the class.

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Refund Policy

Upon request, we will refund the entire cost of a class up until 1 week before its start date. Students who withdraw after that point but before the first class are entitled to a 75% refund. After the first class: 50%. After the second: 25%. No refunds will be given after the third class.

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Reviews of Classes at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research (28)

School: Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...

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