M.A.L.S743x / Judaic St.763x                                                                                     Brooklyn College
Mel Scult                                                                                                                        

Job and Suffering

Course outline and Practical Bibliography

Each student must have a translation of the Bible. Any copy will do. There are copies of the Bible in the bookstore. Students are urged but not required to use a commentary when we study the actual text of Job. The library has many commentaries. The best are by Marvin Pope, The Book of Job ( Doubleday) or Robert Gordis, The Book of God and Man( University of Chicago) and the commentary produced in the Soncino Library. The book by David Blumenthal is in the bookstore. All the other readings are contained in a packet at Far Better copy on Hillel Place. Ask for the packet using my name and the course. BRING A BIBLE TO CLASS EACH TIME. There will be a final examination. The final will cover the whole terms work. Outside reading is by David Blumenthal, The Banality of Good and Evil. Georgetown University Press. An in-class test on  Blumenthal will be given toward the end of the semester.

Sept 11.     

Introduction to the problem of theodicy. Suffering and the religious consciousness.

Sept 18     

Reward and punishment in the Bible -Providence- The consciousness of the Prophets -   The Wisdom Literature.

Reading: Genesis, Chapters 1-3

    Edward Feld, The Spirit of Renewal Part1,pp.3-8

    Deuteronomy Chapter 6.4-9; Chapter 11.13-16

Sept 25     

The Wisdom Literature and the matter of Providence. Ecclesiastes and his approach to religion. The meaning of life in Ecclesiastes.

Reading: Ecclesiastes Entire. Emptiness and Meaning.

    Proverbs 1,10,11

    Zvi Adar, " The Book of Proverbs" pp. 367-380

Oct. 2 

The Jobian Problem- The history of the book- The setting The author- The Structure of the book.

Reading:  Chapters 1-3.

Oct 9 No class

Arguments with the friends over the matter of  suffering. The establishment character of the arguments against Job.

Oct 10 

Reading: Job Chapters 3-7 (choose the most significant verse in each chapter.)

Oct 16. 

More arguments from the Friends- Past experience and what it teaches- the sufferer's sense of his situation. the problem of meaning.

Reading: Job. Chapters 8-14, 

Isaiah Chapter 53.

H. H. Rowley, " The Intellectual vs. The Spritual in Job", 123-128.

October 23 No Class

Oct. 30 

The answer to the Jobian question- God's revelation-Is the problem of unmerited suffering really dealt with?

Reading: Job, Chapters 26,28, 32-42

Nov 6 

A View of suffering from the Psalms. See God as the abusing father.  Avery different point of view

Reading: Read Psalm 44 & Psalm 109 carefully.

        David Blumenthal, Facing the Abusing God. pp. 106-110. comments on verses 24, 25, 26
        of Psalm 44

Nov. 13 

Problem of suffering in the Christian Tradition- The matter of vicarious atonement- Sin guilt and the Crucifixion

Reading: Matthew 5-7;Luke 21-24.

                Danielou, " Job -The Mystery 0ú Man and God" pp.100- 111.

                Robert Mac Afee Brown," A Threat to the Whole Business" &" Meeting Ugly Facts Head
                On." 142-165. from The Bible Speaks to You

Nov. 20 

The Problem of Sffering in Eastern Religions

Reading: The Bhagavadgita


The approach to Job in the Modern World- In what sense do non-religious people still have the Jobian problem.

What makes people good or evil?

Reading: Blumenthal, Parts 1 &2 Everyone.  Judaic Studies People also Part 3


DEC 4 

Modern Attempts to replay Job- Evil and the Holocaust.

Reading: F. Kafka. The Trial. Excerpts.

                E. Feld, " Humanity" Chap. 13

Dec 11. 


Dec 18.