Heidegger's Bible Handbook: Job: History or Parable?

2. The truth of the history of Job asserted against the ancient Hebrews.


Concerning this Job and the book of Job, thus the Hebrews in the Codex Bava Batra of the Talmud: נביא לא היה ולא נברא אלא משל היה, he was not a Prophet, nor ever created; but it (the book concerning him) is a parable. Most of the ancient Hebrews deny that Job ever existed in the nature of things, for which they are reprehended by the more recent; and assert that what is narrated is not true history, but only a parable fabricated for an exemplar of patience. Some ancient Christians also, and among them Junilius, an African Bishop, make it a Tragicomedy, rather than an history. But, that a true history, and so an event truly conducted, is narrated, is testified to by the facts that God made mention of him by name, along with Noah and Daniel, Ezekiel 14:14; James 5:11: that the names of persons, nations, and regions are expressly stated, which is not wont to be done in parables: that his wife, children, friends, integrity, wealthy, dignity, calamities and the manner in which they were sent, and finally his life and death generally, are so distinctly related: finally, that in the historical circumstances nothing either ἄτοπον, out of place, or ἀδύνατον/impossible occurs, which would require a relegation to fables or Poetic figments. Hardly so many indications of historical truth are able to be brought concerning Adam or anyone else, as concerning Job.

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