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Consider Leviathan: Narratives of Nature and the Self in Job

Author: 
Brian R. Doak (Author)
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Description

Theologians and philosophers are turning again to questions of the meaning, or non-meaning, of the natural world for human self-understanding. Brian R. Doak observes that the book of Job, more than any other book in the Bible, uses metaphors drawn from the natural world, especially of plants and animals, as raw material for thinking about human suffering. Doak argues that Job should be viewed as an anthropological “ground zero” for the traumatic definition of the post-exilic human self in ancient Israel. Furthermore, the battered shape of the Joban experience should provide a starting point for reconfiguring our thinking about “natural theology” as a category of intellectual history in the ancient world.

Doak examines how the development of the human subject is portrayed in the biblical text in either radical continuity or discontinuity with plants and animals. Consider Leviathan explores the text at the intersection of anthropology, theology, and ecology, opening up new possibilities for charting the view of nature in the Hebrew Bible.
 
ISBN: 
9781451469936
Price: 
$39.00
Release date: 
November 1, 2014
Pages: 
208
Width: 
6
Height: 
9

Contents

Contents:
Prologue
1. Consider the Ostrich
2. Eco-Anthropologies of Wisdom in the Hebrew Bible
3. Eco-Anthropologies in the Joban Dialogues
4. Eco-Anthropologies in the Joban God-Speech
5. Natural Theologies of the Post-Exilic Self in Job
Epilogue: The New Nature and the New Self                 

Endorsements

"Brian Doak navigates a new course in his study of the sufferings of Job. Instead of concentrating on legal issues or the pact between Satan and God, he has delved into the use of nature symbolism within the narrative and the construction of self as Job’s character evolves. In the process, he challenges scholars to take a fresh and more in-depth look at how animal imagery and ecology influence the composition and purpose of the work. Particularly fresh is his examination of these animals and natural phenomena within the context of ancient Near Eastern tradition and the social and environmental world portrayed in the Bible."
—Victor H. Matthews
Missouri State University

"Ask the animals . . . speak to the earth, and it will teach you,' (Job 12:7–8). In this book, Brian Doak has listened more carefully to what the ‘moral ecology of Job’s natural world’ has to teach us than anyone else to date. His remarkable examination of the relationships between suffering, the human and Divine self, and Job’s natural world demonstrates why this ancient story stands at the center of a biblical view of nature."

—Samuel E. Balentine
Union Presbyterian Seminary

"Joban scholarship has entered an exciting new chapter with Brian Doak’s groundbreaking work. In this lucid and learned study, Doak integrates the best of current research (biblical, historical, and literary), while boldly venturing into new areas of inquiry that bear great relevance to readers today, from community to ecology. Consider Leviathan prompts us all to consider life together on this planet we call home."
—William P. Brown
Columbia Theological Seminary 

"Some things can be so ubiquitous that few people see them—until they are pointed out. In this insightful book, Brian Doak brings into focus what few have noted: how pervasive the imagery of nature throughout the book of Job is and the central role it plays in facilitating and complicating what the speakers attempt to say about theology and anthropology. Doak’s book will provoke further discussion of the ways in which the natural world is 'good to think with' in Job and in our own discourse."
Carol A. Newsom
Candler School of Theology, Emory University
 

Reviews

Review in Bible Today