Lecture 20 - Responses to Suffering and Evil: Lamentations and Wisdom Literature

author: Christine Hayes, Department of Religious Studies, Yale University
published: Feb. 16, 2011,   recorded: November 2006,   views: 5998

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This lecture begins with the Book of Lamentations, a short book of dirges that laments the destruction of Jerusalem and moves on to introduce the third and final section of the Hebrew Bible - the Ketuvim, or "Writings." This section of the Bible contains three books that exemplify the ancient Near Eastern literary genre of "Wisdom" -- Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes. Proverbs reinforces the Deuteronomistic idea of divine retributive justice according to which the good prosper and the evil are punished. The conventional assumption of a moral world order is attacked in the Book of Job. The book explores whether people will sustain virtue when suffering and afflicted, and brings charges of negligence and mismanagement against God for failing to punish the wicked and allowing the righteous to suffer.

Reading assignment:

Bible: (1) Introduction to Ketuvim (JSB pp. 1275-9) (2) Introduction to Lamentations, Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes (JSB pp. 1447-9,1499-1505, 1587-1589, 1603-1606) (3) Lamentations 1-5; Proverbs 1-13, 32; Job 1-11, 21-31, 38-42; Ecclesiastes 1-12

Resources: Handout: Book of Job [text]

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