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Job: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching Hardcover – 1 Jan 1997

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Job: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (1 Jan. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804231141
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804231145
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,068,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

J. Gerald Janzen is MacAllister-Petticrew Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the Old Testament.


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The prologue begins (1:3) and ends (2:13) on the theme of Job's greatness. Read the first page
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Format: Hardcover
J. Gerald Janzen was a professor of mine in Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament studies. I was fortunate to have classes with him the year before he retired. One of his special studies, and frequent references in class and conversations beyond, was the book of Job. One of the things he told me about putting together this particular volume was particularly insightful into the kind of care and attention he gives to the text. He said that he had compiled all of his notes and references, outlines and preliminary writings for the text, and then put them aside, and wrote from memory. Things he had studied had actually been forgotten from conscious remembering, and had become part of his embedded, subconscious memory of the text. He was both delighted and astonished to realise what he had forgotten that he knew during this writing.
This is a lot like Janzen. In the preface, he talks about the text of this commentary in terms of poetry, in that 'poems are not so much finished as abandoned in despair'. There shouldn't be too much despair in the 'abandoning' of this manuscript -- it is the nature of commentaries that there is always more that can be written, new interpretations to be developed, new facts to be considered. Any text is merely a snapshot of thinking at a particular time; a snapshot of Janzen's thinking about Job at any time is worthwhile.
Janzen follows an atypical format from most the Interpretation series commentaries. The Introduction includes a basic synopsis of the text as well as historical, cultural, and literary/linguistic issues.
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Format: Hardcover
Everybody knows that Job is about the vexed issues of why God allows good people to suffer. Except that it isn't. As Jantzen points out, that question is preceded by a prior question about why people worship God. The Satan's argument is that of course Job will worship God - God has made sure that everything works out well for Job. The underlying question, then, is whether God is capable of inspiring love, worship and awe simply because of who and what God is, or whether he is a second-rate deity who will be valued only so long as he delivers goodies to his followers. The book of Job therefore interrogates us as to the nature of our spirituality: are we consumer believers who rate God only so long as God delivers, or are we open to the mystery of a divine being who is beyond the calculus of give-and-take?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x96c9ec00) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96cd1660) out of 5 stars Faithful questioning... 5 Sept. 2003
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
J. Gerald Janzen was a professor of mine in Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament studies. I was fortunate to have classes with him the year before he retired. One of his special studies, and frequent references in class and conversations beyond, was the book of Job. One of the things he told me about putting together this particular volume was particularly insightful into the kind of care and attention he gives to the text. He said that he had compiled all of his notes and references, outlines and preliminary writings for the text, and then put them aside, and wrote from memory. Things he had studied had actually been forgotten from conscious remembering, and had become part of his embedded, subconscious memory of the text. He was both delighted and astonished to realise what he had forgotten that he knew during this writing.
This is a lot like Janzen. In the preface, he talks about the text of this commentary in terms of poetry, in that 'poems are not so much finished as abandoned in despair'. There shouldn't be too much despair in the 'abandoning' of this manuscript -- it is the nature of commentaries that there is always more that can be written, new interpretations to be developed, new facts to be considered. Any text is merely a snapshot of thinking at a particular time; a snapshot of Janzen's thinking about Job at any time is worthwhile.
Janzen follows an atypical format from most the Interpretation series commentaries. The Introduction includes a basic synopsis of the text as well as historical, cultural, and literary/linguistic issues. Unlike some commentators who see Job as somewhat apart from the majority of writing in the Hebrew Scriptures, Janzen sees Job as being part of the centre, the heart of the Bible, particularly at that point in Israel's history where it needed a re-evaluation of its own role in the world, and its covenant relationship with God. With due respect for the dangers of such an approach, Janzen also looks for connections with themes in the New Testament, acknowledging the temptation many Christians have of drawing simple parallels between the crucified Jesus and Job.
Janzen takes the text of Job by pericope (logical sections) and discusses each in turn. He looks at the overall construction of the text with a great deal of understanding of the underlying irony and existential questions posed, by Job, by Job's wife and companions, and even by God. Janzen looks to the structure of the text as essential to its meaning, yet still leaves certain questions for the reader of this commentary (and of Job itself) to answer -- does the meaning contained herein make sense of the text, and does this text, so read, make sense of life? (p. 24)
The bibliography is good but not exhaustive, and alas the commentary has no indexes, which for another author might result in a reduction of rating.
Like the other volumes in the Interpretation series of Biblical commentaries, this text is intended to be useful to preachers and to teachers at various levels of church and school. In that task, this book succeeds nicely, neither being too dry or technical, nor compromising critical analysis or exegesis for 'readability'. Janzen combines accessibility and scholarship here.
No one commentary will ever capture the entirety of any Biblical book. Indeed, rarely will any one commentary contain the whole of even the commentator's own thinking on the text -- such is true with this text and Janzen. However, what is contained within is stimulating and engaging, and is practically essential reading for anyone concerned with Job.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96cd1a68) out of 5 stars A preacher's commentary 10 Nov. 2006
By Meredith B. Handspicker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a joy to use! True to the intent of the "Interpretation" series, this commentary by Gerald Janzen is perfect for the preacher. All the scholarly information you need is there, but integrated with exposition in an interesting way. Basically he treats Job as a classical piece of literature. He weaves discussion of the two questions posed by the book all the way through the commentary: Why do the righteous suffer? Why are the righteous pious?

In a synopsis at the beginning of the commentary he locates Job within the history of Israel's religion; deals with the role of irony in Job; and the lifts up what he considers to be the 'existential questions' raised by the book. They demand of the reader "morally active engagement" with the issues raised by the text.

This is one of the few commentaries I have been tempted to read through from beginning to end. I did a good portion this way and only a lack of time prevented me from finishing. But I did go to the end because I was preaching on 42:1-6 in a couple of weeks' time. Janzen's dealing with the speeches of Yahweh and Job's response in 42:1-2 are worth the price of the book.

It may sound obvious to say that he does not end with answers to the questions posed at the beginning. We are dealing with mystery here! But what becomes clear all the way through, and focused at the end, is that precisely because the text "ends in an indeterminate way" the hearer "is drawn to complete the answer." In brief, are we as readers prepared to accept our status as royal beings, because made in the image of God, though we are made of "dust and ashes"?

Janzen's tranlation of 42:1-6 changes the way the crucial questions are poised. And, unlike most recent commentators, Janzen believes the epilogue is an integral part of the original text. His argument is persuasive on both literary and theological grounds.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96cd1870) out of 5 stars The Best Book on Job 4 July 2006
By Kevin Beck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
G Janzen has written what can be called simply the best book on Job ever composed. It will not only transform your way of reading the story of Job, but it will also transform the way you see humanity, God and yourself.
HASH(0x96cd1e70) out of 5 stars Casual Study or Lay Class 7 Jun. 2013
By GMM - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this to use on a midweek class with older adults and it really fits the bill. There is plenty of material there to build a lesson on without troubling them with original language details. The layout of the volume is easy to follow and incorporate into one's own presentation style.This particular edition is a bit dated, but again, with the audience I am using it for, that is not an issue at all. By the way, all the volumes in this series are excellent supplementary sources for preaching to any audience GMM.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96cd1e94) out of 5 stars Good commentary from Interpretaion Series 5 Jun. 2013
By Ruth Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have used several commentaries from this series. This one on Job is good. It covers most of the details I would like to know to teach the book. Janzen sometimes skims over some issues that I have questions about and I'd have liked to have his insights into them. I'd rate it better than adequate but not excellent for my use.'
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