Death and the Retribution Principle in the Book of Job
In recent decades, scholars have tended to interpret what Job says about death in one of two ways. They interpret it either as part of the broader reading of death in the Old Testament, or by imposing Ancient Near Eastern mythological concepts upon the text disregarding its nature as part of the Old Testament’s wisdom tradition. Varunaj Churnai attempts to redress the latter interpretation and treats the book of Job, and its development and understanding of death, contextually. Churnai specifically looks at how Job presents the two faces of God: God’s wrathful face and God’s gracious face.
Beyond Justice demonstrates that the retribution principle allows humans to know the hidden God as it illuminates the relationship between individual and Creator. Through Job’s experiences and heartfelt outpouring of his soul before both God’s wrathful face and God’s gracious face we can know God more fully. Churnai shows how these faces of God are reconciled in the two divine speeches of YHWH, which invite both Job and the reader to move beyond retribution theology to trust in the graciousness of God.
Dr Churnai advises us not to read the book of Job in terms of the too narrowly focused theology of divine retribution. She argues that the other face of God, his grace, is not to be lost sight of. An engaging, important Asian contribution to Old Testament scholarship.
Takamitsu Muraoka, PhD
Professor Emeritus of Biblical Philology,
Dr Churnai has presented an insightful, masterful study of a book that both tantalizes and defies platitudes. By extension, she gives also a word of hope to all who wrestle with similar issues.
Henry Rowold, DTh
International Research Emeritus Professor,
With penetrating insight and sensitivity to the book’s literary structures, Churnai shifts the focus away from the principles of retributive justice that hold Job’s friends’ reality together. This excellent study is a must read not only for exegetes but also for systematicians and those dedicated to pastoral care.
Rev Robert A. Kolb, PhD
Professor of Systematic Theology,
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1
- The Thesis
- Current Scholarship Pertaining to the Thesis
- The Research in the Context of Current Scholarship
- The Methodological Procedure to Be Employed
- The Application in Thai Context