Bringing wisdom back down to earth: a wisdom reading of Job 28
Magallanes, Sophia Ann
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This thesis aims to do what the poem Job 28 is trying to do in the Book of Job, which is to focus on prescribed biblical wisdom practice in order to ‘bring wisdom back down to earth’ within a discussion concerning divine justice (Job 22-31). Chapter 1 introduces what a “wisdom reading” is and why it is necessary. Chapters 2-5 of this thesis give a close reading of Job 28:1-28 and includes an intentional dialogue between how the words, phrase, and theological concepts are used in the poem and in the main three bible wisdom texts (Job, Proverbs and Qoheleth). Chapter 6 discusses the implications of reading Job 28 in light of its biblical wisdom tradition. Job 28 speaks of a hidden wisdom, but it is not obvious how this prescribed wisdom (“fear of God and avoiding evil”) is connected to divine justice until the poem is read within the of context of the three main biblical wisdom books (Job, Proverbs, Qoheleth). A close reading of Job 28:1-1 and 12-28 within the context of the biblical wisdom tradition, challenges the reader to redefine what the book of Job is saying about wisdom in ethical terms and, therefore, also provokes a redefinition of the divine gaze upon the earth in terms of divine justice. In this thesis, we shall see how wisdom and divine justice are both rooted in earthly matters. It is only when viewed as “down-to-earth” matters that we see that they are related to each other in sapiential literature, especially in Job 28. If ‘wisdom’ is understood as proper conduct on earth (avoiding evil action, Job 28:28b) prompted by an understanding that God gazes on this earth he created (fear of the Lord, Job 28:28a), then divine justice is to be understood as divine regulation of that proper conduct and attitude.