Remember the time I worked at a gym. Who could have seen that in my future, eh? So, I’ve picked up some shifts on the front desk to pad my cheque because, contrary to popular opinion, personal training is not a lucrative business. Unfortunately. So I am currently bored out of my tree because it’s 6am at the gym and I’m sitting on my ass serving my only purpose, which is smiling at people as they walk in… thank God for wikipedia. Sooooo, since I’ve thoroughly exhausted my daily wiki (Happy Polish Mother’s Day) I figured writing to youse guys would be more productive than picking my teeth (although I did have loose-leaf tea this morning…). Who knows, maybe it’ll become a regular thang.
So the other day we had an interesting…encounter…at work. Guy comes in to the front desk, seems to be having trouble articulating his problem but from what I can gather he stopped authorizing payments for his gym membership a few months ago. Yet he kept coming to the gym…not much, but nonetheless… Anyways, turns out he wanted us to wave his service charges. Probably not going to happen but our Assistant Manager is rad so she was at least humouring the poor guy. She asks him why he thought we would be able to do that, to which he responds along the lines of, “Well, I don’t have any money. I’m obliged to give everything away.” “Oh?” “Yes. You see, I’m the Lord and Savior. I was sent by God to save man from the asteroids.”
I shit you not. You would think a false prophet would be more concerned about his health…
And this was a good day.
Had a woman come in this morning for a tan (comes in every second morning, like clockwork, 5:30am). She always asks for a towel to put over her face so she has this super tanned body and ghostly white face. I saw her come in this morning so I said, “Good Morning! Nine minutes in the stand up?” She smiled and said, “You’ve got such a good memory!” Of course I remember you, you look like a goblin.
Chances are only three people might read this (maybe 4 if Soucy’s Dad still looks us up once in a while) so it’s a good thing I know my audience. I miss you guys. Bro-cation needed. Will you guys move to Scotland with me? Before you say no, I have two words for you….Eggplant Lasagna.
And I figure it’s only fitting to wish my three favorite computer scientists a joyous Alan Turing’s Birthday:) and if I had even a moderate amount of technical ability I would have been able to figure out how to insert a picture of him shopped with a birthday hat, but I don’t so I couldn’t. So you’ll just have to use your imagination.
This may be the GALLONS of coffee… but I think the theology of retribution is a paradox. Neat eh? Like, the theology of retribution relies on the assumption that when God created the cosmos in the beginning (bere’shit…heh. Bible joke…), He finished it. A finished creation implies some degree of self-sufficiency based on established order. However, based on the existence of chaos in the world (Job 38:26-27), and things like innocent suffering and evil (Genesis 4), it is reasonable to conclude that God must take an active role in maintaining his creations and the balance between order and chaos (this is further explored in Job 38-41, see Behemoth and Leviathan). This suggests that creation is an ongoing, fluid process. The theology of retribution holds that the good are rewarded and the wicked are punished. It is DEPENDENT on a view of order in the world, and therefore, a completed or finished creation. But, as is overwhelmingly evident in the Book of Job, the traditional view is that the theology of retribution is an active act of God, He will not (in theory) harm the pious. SO, paradoxically, the theology of retribution depends on the view that the universe is self-sufficient, but also that God is the chess master. My head is spinning.
Reasons the Book of Job is neat:
Historical critics aim to illuminate the history of biblical texts. They want to know when and where the text was written, how it was composed and who is responsible for it. As mentioned in a previous post, this is ultimately unimportant (and shockingly inconclusive). Job anachronistically gives historical critics the proverbial finger, giving no clues in its narrative as to its history. This in itself makes Job incredible because it perennially demands a new approach. In a way, this has contributed to the survival of the text as a piece of interest for readers. Because it is not nailed to one era, it has made it self perpetually relevant and arguably immortal. The problems presented in Job will never be definitively solved, not because of any logistic details, but because the interpretation of Job can be based almost entirely on present and future approaches, as it is not nailed in history. YOU JUST CAN’T KILL IT.
“If you close your hand to hold an eel or a little muraena, the more you squeeze it the sooner it escapes.” -Jerome, 392 CE
MY FIRST POST!
I’ve been told to write about what I am currently working on…here goes: So, Biblical scholarship is a cold, vast sea of interpretation, criticism, and grasping at straws. At the moment, I am looking at a large portion of the history of scholarship, how it pertains to the Book of Job, and why none of this is important. Fun. The problem with a lot of Biblical Scholarship is that, in efforts to be less theological and more “credible”, it often times sought historical evidence and context for the Biblical texts. In the 1800s, thanks to Emile Durkheim largely, there was a huge push for the social sciences to be more “concrete” and follow a version of the scientific method. This meant that a lot of study was seen as misguided if it couldn’t be “proven”. Blah blah blah Enlightenment effect and such. In the build up to my jaw dropping interpretation of the Post-modern meaning of the Book of Job, I am basically saying that all of this historicity is super neat, but ultimately useless. Here’s why:
A large school of thought prominent in the early 20th century was known as Source Criticism. This basically looked at, obviously, the source of the material being studied. It sought to discover meaning in the text through determining things like authorship, and date. The Book of Job is a dream for the masochistic source critic. Even after 100+ years of study we are no closer to a firm date or author than the rabbis were 1500 years ago. This is because Job gives absolutely no references or allusions to historical events or anything that could give some hint as to the time of composition. It’s author is also completely anonymous. Scholars have been spinning their wheels trying to give Job some historical context, to no avail. Scholars also have expressed a large amount of concern over the place of Job among other Ancient Near Eastern texts (which, on their own are SUPER neat, but I’m not allowed to get obsessed with them because I don’t know cuneiform.) While neat, they don’t really offer much insight into the Book of Job, aside from saying, “Look, some other people in the area had similar world views. Fancy that.” This concern with geographical context also lead to an obsession with a genre known as Wisdom Literature (Which is entirely uninteresting and not really important). So, it’s a good thing none of this matters. Because of the lack of date or historical context of Job it is most useful as a work of fiction. For this reason, a literary approach proves to be the most lucrative in the study of this text.
The Book of Job contains some of the most sophisticated poetry in the Hebrew Bible. It’s astonishing really. And it’s such a shame that so much scholarly effort has gone into, in my opinion, trivial details. Why isn’t the obsession on what the text MEANS?! Even if you are concerned with historicity why not consider that to the Ancient Israelites, it was the meaning that was important? They clearly didn’t care who “wrote” the book, or when. It was the meaning of the text that had an impact on their daily life and how they structured their religious community. I think the biggest injustice scholarship has done to the masterpiece that is the Book of Job is this need to categorize it. Date and authorship don’t really matter to me, but the biggest danger to the text, in my opinion is this need to give it a place in a genre (Wisdom Lit). For one thing, Job was a shocking text for it’s own time, as well as ours. It specifically (and likely intentionally) crossed the boundaries of genre. The use of a genre implies an ‘other’. The Book of Job cannot imply another. There is no evidence of a comparable text in any area of the ANE, and the vague similarities some could go as far as to say that Job was knowingly crossing that line, taking it one step further. Also, the application of a genre leads to a biased reading of the text. It prioritizes the group over the individual and hinders the free expression of differences. Once one lets go of these rigid historical boundaries, a deeper meaning of the text is able to be pursued. And that’s what I’m gonna do. Hopefully. I hope you have enjoyed a the ranty synopsis of the first chapter of my proposal. I took out the Hebrew so I hope it makes sense…