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El-Oh-El Laughing Out Loud in the Book of Job

Permanent Link: http://ncf.sobek.ufl.edu/NCFE004605/00001

Material Information

Title: El-Oh-El Laughing Out Loud in the Book of Job
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Johnson, Brian D.
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2012
Publication Date: 2012

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Job
Elihu
Humor
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Can a reader find comedy in the tragic plot of the Book of Job? This thesis explores that question by focusing on one character who, I argue, provides comedy in the form of comic relief: Elihu. The character of Elihu is important because he provides some levity amidst Job's suffering. To demonstrate this, I explore Stanley Fish's theory on reader-based interpretive strategies and interpretive communities to show how a reader is the ultimate interpretive authority. Armed with this knowledge, I show what role Elihu cannot play. This is the role of an arbiter. Finally, after showing what role he cannot play, I show how the best reading of Elihu is as a comic figure who relieves tension in the Book of Job a few chapters before God enters out of the whirlwind.
Statement of Responsibility: by Brian D. Johnson
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2012
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO NCF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Marks, Susan

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2012 J66
System ID: NCFE004605:00001

Permanent Link: http://ncf.sobek.ufl.edu/NCFE004605/00001

Material Information

Title: El-Oh-El Laughing Out Loud in the Book of Job
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Johnson, Brian D.
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2012
Publication Date: 2012

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Job
Elihu
Humor
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: Can a reader find comedy in the tragic plot of the Book of Job? This thesis explores that question by focusing on one character who, I argue, provides comedy in the form of comic relief: Elihu. The character of Elihu is important because he provides some levity amidst Job's suffering. To demonstrate this, I explore Stanley Fish's theory on reader-based interpretive strategies and interpretive communities to show how a reader is the ultimate interpretive authority. Armed with this knowledge, I show what role Elihu cannot play. This is the role of an arbiter. Finally, after showing what role he cannot play, I show how the best reading of Elihu is as a comic figure who relieves tension in the Book of Job a few chapters before God enters out of the whirlwind.
Statement of Responsibility: by Brian D. Johnson
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2012
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO NCF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Marks, Susan

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2012 J66
System ID: NCFE004605:00001


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EL-OH-EL LAUGHING OUT LOUD IN THE BOOK OF JOB BY BRIAN D. JOHNSON A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Religion New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Susan Marks Sarasota, Florida May, 2012

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ii Acknowledgements I dedicate this thesis to: my wife, Katherine Wachter, for giving me the motivation to go back to school after years toiling away in the tedium of the unexamined life. My life is now worth living. my mother, Janet Davis, for providing the financial backing for this endeavor. I promise I'll pay you back with a car once the Religion money starts rolling in. my in-laws, Charles Wachter, Janet Wachter, and Gabe Wachter for their tireless support of my education. My thesis advisor, Dr. Susan Marks, for her wisdom and insight. I am fortunate and thankful to have had such a marvelous advisor. My religion teacher at S.P.C., Dr. Chuck Jones, for guiding me and inspiring me to major in religious studies. My pets who provided comfort to me as I made my way through school. My dog, Annie, my cats, Darling, Jasper, Julian, Matilda, and Simon. Also the ones we lost during the journey: Kitty, Callie, Rue, and Googles. Finally I dedicate this thesis to Rabbi Elihu Schagrin. His notes and marginalia in one of my books provided help and another opinion while I was trying to understand Job. Unlike that other Elihu, you were most certainly not a fool.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgements.ii Table of Contentsiii Abstractiv Introduction.1 Chapter One: Methodology.10 Chapter Two: The Arbiter27 Chapter Three: Comic Relief..49 Conclusion: Elihu, Job, and Everything After.69 Bibliography72 iii

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EL-OH-EL LAUGHING OUT LOUD IN THE BOOK OF JOB Brian Johnson New College of Florida, 2012 Abstract Can a reader find comedy in the tragic plot of the Book of Job? This thesis explores that question by focusing on one character who, I argue, provides comedy in the form of comic relief: Elihu. The character of Elihu is important because he provides some levity amidst Job's suffering. To demonstrate this, I explore Stanley Fish's theory on readerbased interpretive strategies and interpretive communities to show how a reader is the ultimate interpretive authority. Armed with this knowledge, I show what role Elihu cannot play. This is the role of an arbiter. Finally, after showing what role he cannot play, I show how the best reading of Elihu is as a comic figure who relieves tension in the Book of Job a few chapters before God enters out of the whirlwind. Dr. Susan Marks Division of Humanities iv

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Introduction Job, Elihu, and Stanley Fish Very few written works inspire as many superlatives as the Book of Job. When people write about Job they say that the work is a "supreme human masterpiece," or "a literary masterpiece." 1 Marvin Pope writes that "there can be no question that we are confronted with a poet of great genius, for his work has been acclaimed as one of the great masterpieces of world literature." 2 From both a literature and a theological standpoint, it is rightfully in the pantheon of other ancient master works such as The Odyssey and The Illiad. Its poetry is some of the most exquisite and heart-rending to be found in the Jewish scriptures. Despite its status as a masterpiece, readers acknowledge difficulties associated with its content and translation. Pope writes that, "The Book of Job, like other great classics of world literature, can never be translated or interpreted definitively." 3 More succinctly Carol Newsom writes that "reading the book of Job has never been easy." 4 This is true as well. Job contains many translation errors, odd chapter placements, and other inconsistencies that frustrate even a seasoned scholar. Regardless of these textual problems, Job remains a popular text with the religious and non-religious alike because it requires the reader to ask questions of themselves and of the text. The big question readers seem to ask is, why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? In Job's case, he is not only good but blameless (Job 1:1). Despite its 1 1 Gordis, 1965 3; Habel, 1985 21 2 Pope, 1965 XLI 3 Pope, 1965 V 4 Newsom, 2003 3

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inconsistencies, it is tempting to insist that the text of the Book of Job contains the answer to this question. All a reader must do is decipher the inherent nature of the words and correctly perceive the author's intentions and the text will be understood. This is an impossible task, as I show in the first chapter. The text of the Book of Job cannot answer these questions. Instead, it is the reader who, through the act of reading the Book of Job, answers this question by evaluating, reacting, and responding to the text. It is the reader who provides Job with its meaning and the reader who makes the final call concerning this literary masterpiece. It is because of the endurability of this question that readers look to texts like Job to make sense of the world and its many injustices. The problem of evil permeates this text so completely that it clouds other ways of reading the Book of Job. I argue that Job contains humor that has been overlooked for its weightier subject matter. Moreover, I argue that the Book of Job is neutered and ineffective if the reader does encounter its humorous elements. This is because the book is so profoundly terrifying in its implications regarding God and humankind, that without humor as a counterpoint, the true gravity of the book is lost. Scholars have largely failed to notice the humor because the problem of evil is such a pressing and commanding issue. Nevertheless, there are some scholars that have explored the Book of Job for its humorous elements. One scholar, William Whedbee, argues that the entire book is a comedy. 5 Although I do not agree with this, he is one of the few scholars who has suggested that Job contains any comedic elements. Most scholars do not see much humor in the Book 2 5 Radday, 1990 219

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of Job. Instead, they read it as nearly everyone reads it that is, they view it as the sobering story of a man put in the position of a pious sufferer without himself knowing the reason why. That is not a funny premise. However, there are aspects of Job that are humorous. And they are important. This thesis explores the Book of Job's main comedic element. I argue that the character of Elihu, a character widely derided as unimportant or superfluous, acts as comic relief in Job. His importance to the text cannot be overstated. Without Elihu acting as a tension reliever the Book of Job plods along mirthlessly, with hardly any lessons learned because the reader has become so numbed to the hopelessness of Job's situation. He arrives just after Job finishes his defense and wreaks havoc on the gravity of the situation. A few chapters later, God thunders in from out of the whirlwind and readers forget all about Elihu for the moment. Although many scholars disregard Elihu because of his youth and his misunderstanding of Job's and the friends' arguments, Elihu is an important part of the book. He provides some levity in an otherwise tense situation. Because of this, I argue that his importance to the story be reexamined. Most biblical scholars agree that another author placed Elihu into the text after another author had written the rest of Job, perhaps some years earlier. Yet, despite many people's attempts to disregard him as a mere addition, he remains. This shows that he is important to the Book of Job. All it would have taken was for one manuscript copyist to read Elihu as irrelevant and he would have been excised. But this did not happen. Instead, each copyist faithfully kept putting him in the manuscripts until his presence became as codified as the rest of Job, as there are no 3

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manuscripts that suggest otherwise. 6 Elihu is here to stay. And that is a good thing. Why is this? Because Elihu adds something to Job that no other character does. This is comic relief. So where does this notion come from? There is nothing inherent in the text to suggest that Elihu is anything but earnest. He is not clearly designated as "The Fool" like one finds in one of Shakespeare's dramatis personae ; his comic and foolish attributes appear without an explicit mention. We do not have to appeal to the text or to authorial intention to make this distinction since reading is not dependent only on the author. In the first chapter of my thesis I argue for Stanley Fish's reader-based interpretative method. Stanley Fish is a literary theorist whose works include Is There a Text in this Class?: The Authority of Interpretive Communities and Doing What Comes Naturally: Change, Rhetoric, and the Practice of Theory in Literary and Legal Studies. He advocates for a reader-based interpretive strategy in which "the reader's response is not to the meaning; it is the meaning." 7 Both works are highly influential and form the basis of my argument. Additionally, I show what Fish means by interpretive communities and how they are germane to this topic. Interpretive communities are communities of individuals who have similar characteristics (e.g. students, professors, men, women) that read texts and interpret them according to the worldview of each community. A reader is, necessarily, part of many interpretive communities. Moreover, we move in and out of 4 6 Pope, 1965 XLIII-XLVII There are different versions of the text. The Greek text is shorter, but is probably the more recent translation. Many scholars believe that editors removed lines that were not theologically aligned with how God is portrayed in the Hebrew translation, or that the translator did not understand the Hebrew well enough to include those lines. Regardless, No sources I have read suggest that this affects Elihu s inclusion. 7 Fish, 1980 3

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these communities all the time. I explain his underlying philosophy and then apply it to a section of Job as a way to turn reading according to Fish's theory, into practice. My aim with this chapter is to lay some groundwork for understanding Elihu as a comic character. By utilizing Fish's theory, the reader can liberate Elihu from the text and show how he can be read as a comic character. The second chapter deals with one particular interpretive community. That is the community of scholars who have examined Elihu. Normally, if this community pays attention to him at all, they see him at least as a brash young interloper. Sometimes, they see him in another role. This chapter looks at a particularly interesting interpretation of Elihu's role. This is of a mediator or arbiter acting for God directly, or of Elihu believing, at least, that he works for God. One scholar in particular, Norman Habel, sees this as the most likely interpretation of Elihu. I show how this cannot be. Although there are verses that suggest that Job wants and needs an intercessor between himself and God, these verses do not apply to Elihu. An arbiter is not the best interpretation of Elihu. After establishing what Elihu cannot be, I lay out my case for Elihu as comic relief. In the third chapter I work with the text to show how the best reading of Elihu is a comic reading. This is an important because when scholars do focus on humor, it is to show how something is either not humorous at all, or entirely humorous. I differ from both approaches. I argue that the Book of Job contains humor, mostly from Elihu, and that this humor informs the rest of the book and is not merely an identification of a genre. Modern readers have an unprecedented amount of access to theories, methods, and genrestudy. All of this provides ample grounding in seeing Elihu as a comic figure, even if 5

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some readers never thought of it before. History and Authorship Job begins with a prose section, transitions into a long poetry section, and ends with another prose section. The first section lays out who Job is and his predicament. He is a righteous, blameless man whom Satan targets in order to force him to curse God. God allows Satan to do this and over the course of a chapter, Satan destroys Job's house, family and health. Yet, he still does not curse God. The poetry section, the bulk of the book, has Job arguing with his friends over the cause of his suffering. After the arguments in which Job tries to defend himself, Elihu steps in and offers his own advice. Finally, God appears and admonishes Job for not appreciating God's power and majesty. The final chapter features another prose section to bookend the poetry and is an epilogue in which God makes everything whole again for Job. It seems as if more than one author had a hand in writing Job. There may have been two, three or more depending on if different people authored the poetry, prose, and Elihu sections separately. It was not uncommon for the pieces of many writers' to comprise a single ancient work. 8 Job bears characteristics of multiple authorship. It is not a unified text when examined closely. It seems to represent one story, but the Job of the prose section is different from the Job of the poetry section. Further, Elihu seems to have been dropped in as a response to Job and his friends. If only one author wrote the entirety of Job, he or she did not do a good job of making sure the story was consistent. 6 8 Pope, 1965 XLI

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For example, God tells Satan how proud he is of Job's faithfulness and then admonishes Job at the end of the book. 9 Further, Satan appears in the beginning of the story but is never mentioned again. About these inconsistencies Newsom wonders why "anyone would put these two together in such an apparently clumsy fashion." 10 Add the discrepancies over its original language and it becomes hard to justify single authorship. 11 In addition to authorship and language, there are disagreements over the date the Book of Job was written. Scholars make educated guesses about date as well as authorship. Since there are no historical references in Job it makes it hard to date accurately. Traditionally, Rabbinic authorities date Job to the patriarchal period, which lasted from approximately 2100-1550 BCE. 12 Most scholars agree that the authors wrote it much later than that. Pope offers a tentative date of around the seventh century with other scholars giving it a more recent date of between the sixth and the fifth centuries BCE. 13 Regardless, Job has a timeless quality that does not lend itself to easy dating. The lack of historical references and its fairytale-like opening suggests that it is not meant to be situated in a specific time or place. 7 9 Freedman, 1992 860 10 Newsom, 2003 6 11 Freedman, 1992 864 Scholars argue over whether it was originally written in Aramaic, Northwest Semitic, or Hebrew. 12 Pope, 1965 XXXII 13 Pope, 1965 XL; Freedman, 1992 863

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Scholars Not only is this thesis concerned with Elihu's role, the reader plays an important role in understanding Elihu. However, not just any reader will do. I rely on scholars for their expertise but also as a way to showcase how interpretive communities work and how even venerated communities, like those consisting of scholars, can have divergent views regarding interpretations. The scholars I use have written about Job and have expertise I draw upon for historical knowledge and generally solid scholarship. As I show later, even solid credentials can lead to unsustainable interpretations of Elihu. The exception is Stanley Fish. He does not write about Job specifically but provides the theory for how I approach the Book of Job and Elihu; he provides the backbone of this thesis, so to speak. He is a prolific author on literary criticism and law. He is one of the main proponents of the reader-response theory which allows for the reader to create the meaning of the text. As I show in the first chapter, this does not mean that anything goes, interpretively. Nonetheless, it is a powerful and privileged position for a reader and it helps us read the Book of Job. Two biblical scholars I rely heavily upon are Robert Gordis and Norman Habel. Gordis was a Conservative rabbi and scholar who, in 1965, published a major work on Job, The Book of God and Man His perspective as a rabbi is invaluable to understanding how certain communities of scholars view Elihu. Norman Habel is a professor of Religious Studies and Hebrew Scriptures at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia. 14 I draw upon a couple of his works. The Book of Job and "The Role of Elihu in the 8 14 http://www.inders.edu.au/ehl/theology/staff/norman-habel.cfm

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Design of the Book of Job," in which he advocates for Elihu as the arbiter Job cries out for. In my second chapter I use these works to argue against his premise. The additional book-length commentaries and analyses I use come from Marvin Pope and Carol Newsom. Pope wrote a widely-cited edition of Job in the Anchor Bible series also in 1965. In it, he provides much of the same information as Gordis and Habel. However, his work is grounded less in theology and faith commitments and more from a historical perspective. Carol Newsom wrote T he Book of Job: A Contest of Moral Imaginations, in 2003. She is one of the most recent scholars I cite and her work helps to build a bridge between Fish's theory and Job in practice. Her book examines Job as a "polyphonic text." A polyphonic text is a text that creates a dialogue, not only between the characters in the work, but between the author and the reader and the reader and the text. This is similar to Stanley Fish's reader-based theory in that the reader takes away the author's privileged position in favor of a more equitable arrangement. In the chapter that follows I will further explain the importance of and advocate for Fish's reader-based interpretive framework. The scholars I listed above help to provide examples of how a seemingly homogenous group of people (i.e. scholars) fall into different communities in the way they read. By showing how these kinds of readers interpret texts that correspond with their communities, we see how other readers are able to evaluate the claims they make and use this information to come to a better interpretation. Once we understand this, we are in a position to make better sense of Elihu as comic relief and as a necessary addition. 9

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Chapter One Methodology The Book of Job seems like a self-evident text. Conventional thinking goes that Job's author or authors had in mind a very specific story and lesson which they wanted to convey through the text. Through a combined understanding of the author's intentions and the text, the reader will somehow come to one correct conclusion regarding the meaning of Job. However, this understanding of literary analysis ignores the power that the reader wields. In fact, the reader wields most of the power. Without a reader to interpret the work, Job is another text on the shelf. It is a work of potential greatness instead of an active literary masterpiece. Many critics assumes that the reader is the least privileged of the trio in terms of interpretive knowledge. 15 However, this is not accurate. The reader perpetuates the work long after the author has died, and as a result, continues to create meaning for the text. This is especially true when it comes to ancient texts which were routinely written pseudepigraphically. Christians traditionally ascribe authorship of much of the Christian scriptures to Paul. Yet, there is no clear evidence that Paul wrote many of the epistles Christians attribute to him. Luckily, the reader-based approach does not have to validate Paul's authorship or even appeal to it in order to interpret these epistles. Similarly, there are millions of literary works that demonstrate this same concept. The book of Job is a prime example. Elihu in particular shows how different readers and their subsequent responses lead to different interpretations that stem from the reader, not the author. A 10 15 Eagleton, 1989 74

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thorough understanding of this concept helps show how readers interpret Elihu and which criteria they use and what qualifications they impose on the character. To show Elihu as a comic character does not require me to demonstrate that Elihu's author intended to write him as a comic character in order for us to view him as such today. Neither is this required to assert that this reading is the best way to read him. For example, readers interpret Elihu many ways, not the least of which is as a humorous character. Elihu says things like: I will not show partiality to any person or use flattery toward anyone. For I do not know how to flatter or my Maker would soon put an end to me! 16 This is clearly a self-deprecating move that fails miserably. Indeed, he does know how to flatter; he just flattered his Maker for creating him without the will to flatter. Elihu insists he is no flatterer, but clearly he is. Is this passage a deliberate attempt at humor? Did the author intend for Elihu to sound like a know-it-all, or did the author write Elihu as a pious individual with no humorous overtones? Either way, the reader, not the author, writes the meaning of the text. This brief example shows just how varied textual interpretations and meanings can be. I argue that Elihu acts as comic relief. Nonetheless, humor is not an attribute that normally gets thrown around when speaking about the Bible. Some communities view the Bible as above the bounds of levity. It is a sacred book that contains wisdom and understanding from God exclusively. The way they interpret the Bible accords with their understanding of the world. These interpretive communities then, write Elihu's meaning. 11 16 Job 32:21-2 HarperCollins Study Bible, New Revised Standard Version

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Later in this chapter I explain interpretive communities as a crucial piece of the readerbased interpretive method. This thesis looks at Elihu in relation to the book of Job. As I show, most scholars agree that Elihu is not original to the text. How does this affect the reading of Job? By applying the reader-based theory, I wish to demonstrate just how crucial Elihu is to the book of Job, despite his later inclusion. I use this chapter to explain more fully what a reader-based interpretive strategy is, address concerns regarding its effectiveness, and introduce the man who popularized this literary theory. I rely mostly on ideas that Stanley Fish promotes. He advocates for the reader-based hermeneutic and his theories prove invaluable to understanding Elihu. First, I will lay out the basic ideas of Fish's work, then examine interpretive communities and their importance. Finally, the third section of this chapter gives an example of how Fish's theories operate on a piece of Job to give the reader an idea of how these theories work and how different interpretive communities may view these chapters. For this I use God's speech out of the whirlwind at the end of Job. This will take Fish from a theory into practice. Stanley Fish and His Theory Stanley Fish reasons that readers retain exclusive rights to interpret a text. The reader Fish has in mind is not a generic reader but a very specific representation of an ideal reader. Fish writes that, "obviously, my reader is a construct, an ideal or idealized 12

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reader the reader is the informed reader." 17 This informed reader possesses certain attributes that allow for deep understanding and discernment of a text. Fish's reader understands and has a good command of the language. Additionally, he or she possesses a grasp of grammar, terms, idioms, definitions, and spelling. In short, the reader is reasonably well-educated and Fish assumes a basic level of competency. The reader also understands literature and what generally constitutes a literary work. Fish writes: "He is sufficiently experienced as a reader to have internalized the properties of literary discourses, including everything from the most local of devices (figures of speech, and so on) to whole genres." 18 Further, a close reader of Job needs knowledge of genres and plots, themes, and motifs that all help to establish a framework with which they use as tools for higher order interpretations. 19 This is very important for this thesis because I treat Job as a literary work that happens to have great religious significance. Fish's theory is a literary one, a response to Formalism. 20 Therefore, I choose not stray too far away from Job in order to stay within the parameters of Fish's theory. The interpretations and meanings in a text come out of the reader as he or she reads and understands the text, not from the author or the text itself. In fact, the meaning of a text is not even inherent in the text. 21 The sentence structure, the punctuation, the grammatical conventions, along with any other lexical formulations do not have in 13 17 Fish, 1980 48 (emphasis his) 18 Fish, 1980 48 19 Fish, 1980 48 20 Fish, 1989 6 21 Fish, 1980 3

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themselves a meaning apart from the reader's reading. Fish writes: "Or, to put it in the most direct way possible There is no such thing as a literal meaning, if by literal meaning one means a meaning that is perspicuous no matter what the context and no matter what is in the speaker's or hearer's mind." 22 The "literal meaning" is not lost, it simply does not exist. Indeed, there are many meanings. Just as there are many readers of a text, there are many interpreters of that same text. Acknowledgement of this point allows for Elihu to emerge as a comic character. There are critics who do not concede this much, however. Those who disagree with this idea contend that words have very strict definitional attributes and therefore a literal meaning is possible. 23 They also argue that language itself is an abstract idea that exists outside of an interpretive framework and exists prior to its usage. 24 A text is a perpetual document waiting to be seen and interpreted in the "correct" way, which is what the author intended. The words of the text are clear and more importantly, the reader is able to attain the meaning given enough time and the right approach. However, this is impossible because no one lives outside of themselves and no one lives outside of the human framework, or as I show, an interpretive community. Every text opens itself for interpretation. Not only that, the text comes into existence as a result of the efforts of many interpreters. A text, then, comes into its meaning as "just all the assorted accounts of the novel that have been or will be given." 25 The text does not 14 22 Fish, 1989 4 23 Fish, 1989 6 24 Fish, 1989 6 25 Eagleton, 1983 85

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exist in stasis just waiting for the perfect reader to come along and extract the right meaning. What about the person who puts the language on the paper? Surely the reader can defer to the author's usage of this language for guidance, right? After all, the argument goes, the author wrote the text and therefore has placed the words in a specific order for a specific reason and therein lies the meaning. Fish disagrees. He contends that the author's intention is no less an interpretive act than the reader's reading. He explains that the "identification of intention with meaning removes the possibility of objectivity in interpretation by making its object something the interpreter constructs." 26 Expressing a desire to go deeper into the text and appealing to the authority of the author is an act of interpretation itself. Further, even if a reader can phone the author and ask her question after question about the work, the author interprets her work in a different light than when she originally wrote it, and the reader takes this information and interprets and assigns meaning to it in relation to his cultural context and mastery of the language. 27 Terry Eagleton goes a step further and imagines an infinite regress that never bears any fruit and wastes the reader's time. "What if we asked for an account of the meaning of the author's intentions, and then for an account of that, and so on?" 28 This epistemic nightmare simply bogs the 15 26 Fish, 1989 7 27 Freedman, 1992 864 Job exemplies this because its original language is in doubt. Scholars posit that Job could have been written in Aramaic, Northwest Semitic, or Hebrew. It contains many rare words and unclear dialects. The author cites one example: "In 4:10-11 ve different words for lion stretch the modern translators wits to the breaking point." 28 Eagleton, 1983 69

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reader down and gets them no closer to a meaning with which he or she can work. Even if the reader comes to an agreement with the author on meaning, it is just one of many; the reader and the author just happen to agree. 29 With Job is it especially fruitless to seek the intention and meanings from the author of Job because the author's identity is lost to time. It is an ancient book with no clear signs in the text to identify the author. The reader is left with only the text and must necessarily defer to it for all interpretive inquiries. Again, the text does not hold the interpretation, but facilitates the reader's interpretation of it. By ruling out the author as arbiter of the meaning of a text and by acknowledging that the reader creates the meaning, the reader still must follow some guidelines to promote the most accurate reading of the text in order to get the best (notice I did not say "right" or "only") meaning out if it. The reader must begin by asking, "what does this text do?" This "searching question" operates as an internal dialogue that occurs continually as the reader engages with the text. 30 Fish advises against asking "what does this sentence mean?" 31 Despite a reader's tendency to jump right into figuring out the meaning of a sentence, this does not actually do anything and causes the reader to make incorrect assumptions of the text instead of examining the text more carefully. Instead, Fish advises the reader to "slow down" and analyze the text as he or she reads "so that events' one does not notice in normal time, but which do occur, are brought before our 16 29 Eagleton, 1983 67 30 Fish, 1980 27 31 Fish, 1980 24

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analytical attentions." 32 It is a continual process that brings to focus many ideas that would otherwise have been missed. This does not only allow the reader to better understand dense material, but equips the reader with a higher order of interpretative ability. Asking the right questions about a text and continually examining it demonstrates better analytical skills and leads to a richer meaning of the text. "Meaning is located (presumed to be imbedded) in the utterance, and the apprehension of meaning is an act of extraction." 33 Therefore, by continually asking questions of the text the dialogue appears and meaning arises out of the process. The meaning arises out of active reading of the whole text and not parsing the individual words or sentences. Interpretive Communities Fish's reader-based interpretive strategies are not limited to individual readers. Although the reader derives meaning individually, a reader gains her perspective from her interpretive community. These communities provide the authority with which the reader can assert his or her view. Fish defines an interpretive community as "not so much a group of individuals who shared a point of view, but a point of view or way of organizing experience that shared individuals[.]" 34 Members of an interpretive community share one or all of many different attributes. These may include political viewpoints, gender, education, interpretive strategies, and so on. These common characteristics lead to 17 32 Fish, 1980 28 33 Fish, 1980 28 (emphasis his) 34 Fish, 1989 141

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similar understandings of a text. It also guards against an ossification of a text because the communities constantly reevaluate and reinterpret texts in light of changing understandings of the world as well as the passage of time. Types of interpretive communities are as numerous as the texts they interpret. Everyone who reads, and as a reader, constantly interprets, is part of an interpretive community. Most people are part of multiple interpretive communities and move in and out of them their entire lives. I will always be part of a male interpretive community. That is, I interpret texts from a male standpoint. My wife is part of a female community and reads as a lawyer. Currently, I am part of an undergraduate interpretive community, but in a few months I will leave that community and enter another community. "Thus, while the alignments are not permanent, they are always there, providing just enough stability for the interpretive battles to go on, and just enough shift and slippage to assure that they will never be settled." 35 I may leave the undergraduate community, but other undergraduates will take my place. They may not interpret exactly like me, but as undergraduates we share similar interpretive strategies. Interpretive communities are not exclusive clubs with a fixed membership. Instead, they are a loose confederation of likeminded individuals who understand texts in a certain way. Interpretive communities are important because they provide interpretive authority and guard against "hermeneutical anarchy." 36 They provide authority by circumscribing just any interpretation. Instead, an interpretation and its accompanying 18 35 Fish, 1980 172 36 Eagleton, 1983 86

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strategies becomes grounded in an identifiable community and the interpretation can be judged accordingly. For instance, interpretations of Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms vary widely. Scholars, preachers, students, authors, veterans, ambulance drivers, males, and females all interpret the book in relation to their unique interpretive communities. Identifying the interpretive communities of which the reader belongs more readily allows other readers to evaluate the strength and validity of these interpretations. A literature professor's textual interpretation will probably receive more authority than an eighth-grader's. The eighth-grader may be exceptionally smart and intuitive, but generally, the professor's interpretive strategies will most likely be more sophisticated and readers will (and should) take their interpretation more seriously. The professor's education is not the only criteria, either. The eighth-grader belongs to an interpretive community of less experienced people, both in life and literature. At some point the eighth-grader will grow up and enter other communities and be able to provide more authoritative textual interpretations. He may not be wrong, but his interpretation is most likely not the most well-informed. Not every literary theorist agrees with Fish's ideas about interpretive communities. One criticism is that the interpretive community represents a monolith that, once established, "acts only to perpetuate itself and its interests." 37 Therefore, the community becomes rigidly doctrinal and does not allow for progress with regard to meanings in a text. If this is the case, then no change in interpretive strategies is possible and the communities become what they fight against. One consequence of this is that 19 37 Fish, 1989 142

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competing communities will then defer to the text as the arbiter thus giving the text the authority the interpretive communities wish to maintain themselves. However, as Fish points out, even if this is the case, the text does not settle the argument between the communities. Instead, the fight is over the ways in which each group perceives the text. 38 Further, Fish disagrees that interpretive communities do not change. By arguing this, he is able to combat claims of the interpretive communities' hegemonic status and insist that an interpretive community is "no more than a set of institutional practices," or simply repositories of rules to follow without regard to the works' interpretive value. 39 Not only does Fish believe that interpretive communities can change, but he believes that they act as "engines of change." 40 By this, he means that the community assembles its ideas and goals in concert with its environment. In turn, the environment adapts to and informs the community, and the community adapts as well. 41 This leads to a gradual reinterpreting of both the community for insiders as well as outsiders. For insiders, this gradual change directly affects how the community interprets a text and provides it meaning. As history shows, interpretive communities change in spite of themselves and sometimes it is not until years later that a community realizes it has changed. For example, the Republican party of Lincoln is not the same as the Republican party of today. Did they realize they were changing? Perhaps, but most people recognize the big changes and differences only after some time has passed. 20 38 Fish, 1989 146 39 Fish, 1989 153 40 Fish, 1989 150 41 Fish, 1989 150

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Responses to God Out of the Whirlwind Fish's interpretive framework can be easily put into practice to show its effectiveness. To demonstrate this, I use a text from the end of Job, where God appears to Job and speaks to him from out of a whirlwind. I do not use a section concerning Elihu as an example here because I give these sections a longer treatment later in the thesis. Nonetheless, I do wish to give the reader a taste of how different communities assign meaning to a text and this example is one of the best with which to do this. This brings his theory into practice without overwhelming the reader. Fish insists that when he calls his interpretive strategies "theories," he does not mean a rigid group of rules that must be followed in order to arrive at a predefined conclusion. Instead: Theory can be seen as an effort to govern practice in two senses: (1) it is an attempt to guide practice from a position above or outside it and (2) it is an attempt to reform practice by neutralizing interest, by substituting for the parochial perspective of some local or partisan point of view the perspective of a general rationality to which the individual subordinates his contextually conditioned opinions and beliefs. 42 This section primarily uses Fish's first point about theories. The interpretive theories he promotes should be used as a general "rule-of-thumb" in order to attain an idea of how an interpretive community reads a text. 43 The second point is important, but it is not relevant in this section. This is because I wish to explore the parochial "contextually conditioned opinions and beliefs," not subordinate them. Of course, I can only truly 21 42 Fish, 1989 319 (emphasis his) 43 Fish, 1989 317

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interpret from out of my own communities. I do not aim to speak conclusively for any other group and how they read the text. In fact, I cannot even conclusively claim how a community interprets a specific text even if I am part of the group. I cannot say that "group A believes X," because interpretive communities consist of individuals who move in and out slowly changing the communities in which they operate. Nonetheless, I can claim with some confidence how a few communities interpret the God out of the whirlwind section while maintaining a respectful distance and avoiding being unequivocal. God addresses Job at the beginning of chapter 38. After Elihu finishes speaking, God thunders in and proclaims Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. 44 He mostly asks Job rhetorical questions concerning his own power versus Job's power. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding, who determined its measurements surely you know! Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars, and spreads its wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes its nest on high? 45 Different interpretive communities interpret these pronouncements in different ways. Robert Gordis, a Conservative rabbi, is a part of many different interpretive communities. 22 44 Job 38:2-3 45 Job 38:4-5, 39:26-7

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He is part of a Conservative rabbinical community and a community of fathers, as well as many others. How he interprets the text naturally informs his communities and, of course, the communities inform his interpretations. He writes that "these chapters are among the greatest nature poetry in world literature. Their purpose, however, is not the glorification of nature, but the vindication of nature's God." 46 Which community does Gordis reference when he makes these interpretations? I do not know. However, his idea of a "vindication of nature's God" promotes an idea that he holds God in high regard. He goes on to write: The Lord consciously refrains from referring to Job's suffering, not from callous indifference, but, on the contrary, from exquisite tact and sensibility. Job's agony cannot be justified by the platitudes of conventional religion, nor can it be explained away as imaginary. If man is to bear his suffering at all, the entire problem must be raised to another dimension. This is the burden of the words of the Lord spoken out of the whirlwind. 47 Gordis makes it clear that this speech shows God's infinite kindness and wisdom. Job does not suffer in vain. Instead God shows that he recognizes Job's suffering as a real and painful experience and not as a mere abstraction. God also reassures Job that he is in charge of evil even when it seems he is not. Therefore, Job should not judge "solely from the vantage point of man, and surely not from the limited perspective of one human being." 48 To Gordis, these speeches demonstrate God's compassion for his creation, not his cruelty toward it. 23 46 Gordis, 1965 117 47 Gordis, 1965 118 48 Gordis, 1965 118

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A critical thinker should ask, why should we take what Gordis says seriously? Fish asserts that interpretive communities prevent incalculable and often incalculably wrong interpretations. Gordis' membership in his rabbinical interpretive community shows that he has a cultural connection to the text. He displays an understanding of the text that a general layperson does not. He shows through his writing that he has wrestled with the text to write an informed opinion about God's speech out of the whirlwind. He reads carefully and formulates a well-informed interpretation. The reader should afford Gordis credibility for all of these reasons. The reader does not have to agree with him. Yet, readers must take his interpretations seriously because he includes himself in an interpretive community that lies close to the text he interprets. Further, by examining and disagreeing with his interpretations, the reader creates his or her own meaning of Gordis' writings as well as for Job. At this point, Gordis' work is not his own but a collection of other readers' responses to it. There are, of course, other interpretations of God's speech at the end of Job. Carol Newsom, a professor of Old Testament theology, has a different interpretation. Her interpretive communities inform her ideas. The interpretive communities of which she is a member may overlap with Gordis', but this only means that their interpretations may share similarities, it does not guarantee it. In contrast to Gordis, Newsom sees the speech as the beginning of other enigmas in Job, not the final word of God. Instead of a triumphant God showing Job that he is in charge, God represents a multi-faceted mystery that depends on the reader. Newsom invokes a Fishian response to these chapters. 24

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This perception of a surplus of meaning is generated in several ways. Should they be read in a tone of overpowering mastery? Of mockery? Of agonistic pedagogy? How one hears the "accents" of the utterance depends in part on how one recognizes and privileges one or more of the many discourses evoked by the divine speeches. 49 For Newsom, these speeches constitute a hermeneutical smorgasbord. How readers view the speeches depends on how they see themselves and their relationship to God. Where Gordis sees God's majestic acknowledgement of Job's suffering, Newsom sees disjointed speech that lends itself to many different readings. Gordis privileges God's goodness in the speech, Newsom privileges humanity's relationship to the language of God. Finally, let us look at an author who comes out of a community of historians. Marvin Pope sees this theophany as one of many throughout historical religious literature. On the surface, Pope's approach seems like an anti-interpretation; a just-thefacts historical approach that does not presuppose anything. However, even a strictly historical approach is an exercise in interpretation. Pope's strength lies in his ability to coalesce and make sense of research and ancient parallel texts in order to place Job in history. Having God come out of a storm is "doubtless derived from the ancient cult of the weather-god." 50 Such assertions, although historical and verifiable, are still acts of interpretation. If he were alive today, would he draw the same conclusions? Perhaps but perhaps not. The biblical archaeological and historical communities from which he speaks are not the same today as they were in 1965. They have undoubtedly changed and 25 49 Newsom, 2003 235 50 Pope, 1965 290

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information-gathering methods have improved. Although his statements are based in fact, other facts come to light to disturb the interpretation. This is not merely a comparison between communities that take Job literally versus symbolically. Every scholarly book on Job presents some kind of interpretation of literally every line. It is easy to compare, line by line and chapter by chapter, how each author interprets God's speech. Stanley Fish's methods help to illuminate what readers already do when they read. That is, interpret as they go. To recognize and acknowledge it brings another level of understanding to the process and allows the reader to create a sophisticated interpretation. Moreover, it demonstrates Fish's assertion that no one can ever not be part of an interpretive community. The reader must recognize the communities and how those communities influence the author. By doing this, the reader draws his or her own conclusions not just from the primary text but the secondary texts as well. What results is an interpretive framework of not only Job, but the opinions and interpretations of Job. Gordis, Newsom, Pope, rabbis, and professors do not hold the interpretation. Instead, as I have shown, they provide clues to the reader as to what direction to go and on what aspects are important to focus. In the next chapter I take Fish's theories and apply them to Elihu. Just as the theophany evokes different interpretations of Elihu's role, Elihu's role presents challenges to scholars. I examine one reading in particular that shows Elihu's role as an arbiter. 26

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Chapter Two The Arbiter Elihu adds something to Job. Like salt, he flavors and enhances the narrative. And like salt, preferences differ as to how much the reader prefers. For some readers, Elihu's presence is a perfect complement to the rest of Job. For other readers, Elihu's presence is an unnecessary addition. Scholars have described him as a "brash" or "foolish" character who admonishes Job's friends for inadequately refuting Job's arguments. 51 Consequently, Elihu must step in and correct the friends by arguing more persuasively for God's majesty. A few scholars go a step further. Most maintain his original intention is to clarify the friends' arguments and admonish Job for what he sees as a fundamental misunderstanding of God's obligations to the human race. However, some suggest Elihu sees himself in an additional role, one that no other character in the book seems to recognize. That is of an arbiter or mediator on behalf of Job. 52 The scholars who argue that Elihu sees himself as an arbiter cite four key verses. These are 9:33, 16:19, 19:25, and 31:35. This chapter explores these verses to determine whether they accord with the assertion that Elihu is the arbiter Job asks for. I argue that they do not. As I show, these claims concerning Elihu's role do not fit and speak to the power of the reader-based interpretive strategies. Although the number of scholars that regard Elihu as a self-imposed arbiter are fewer in number than the number that disagree with this claim, the fact that these claims are present exemplify how many interpretations are possible even as interpretive communities work to discourage unsustainable conclusions. 27 51 Gordis, 1965 104; Habel, 1984 89; Pope, 1965 XXI 52 Habel, 1984 83; Wilson, 1996(1) 90

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Ultimately, the reader must decide if the arguments for Elihu's role as an arbiter are persuasive. It is the reader who creates Elihu's meaning and purpose. As I show in the previous chapter, Stanley Fish's reception theory and the reader-based hermeneutic he champions, gives all the interpretive power to the reader. This chapter uses Fish's theories as a model to explore how readers may view as an arbiter. Since the reader creates the meaning of the text, he or she decides Elihu's function and how it affects the reading. It seems perfectly acceptable to ascribe to him more than one purpose; he can be a fool and an arbiter, for instance. Nevertheless, I argue that scholars have been too hasty in asserting that Elihu sees himself as the arbiter for which Job asks. Whatever his role, he is important and vital to the story. A reader decided that Job needed an extra character so he wrote one and inserted him. The evidence for secondary authorship of the Elihu chapters convinces me beyond a reasonable doubt. However, There are readers who view Elihu as original to the text. Norman Habel sees Elihu as a part of a united whole and is one of the main champions of Elihu as an arbiter. For Habel, Elihu is original to the text and only one author created him. 53 Yet, as I demonstrate in the first chapter, authorship is not as important as how readers interpret the text. The verses are there to interpret, whether there is one verse or twenty that show Elihu as the arbiter. Some scholars are convinced of secondary authorship but argue as to Elihu's original placement, which could potentially change how Elihu is read. David Clines argues that Elihu's speeches make more sense if they are rearranged. His 28 53 Habel, 1985 35

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arguments are convincing, but they do not affect how readers see Elihu. 54 Even though there are rearranged verses in Clines' model, Elihu's words remain the same. Elihu's almost certain secondary status, does not mean that he should be treated as a mere add-on, an extraneous piece of Iron-age fan fiction to correct something about the text Elihu's author did not like. He is vitally important to Job precisely because his presence helps to emphasize the larger question of why God allows bad things to happen to good people by providing the reader with comic relief. Lindsey Wilson writes: "The book of Job would be much the poorer if the Elihu speeches were excised, and operates much more powerfully as literature and as scripture when the contributions of these speeches are given their place as an integral part of the final form of Job." 55 Wilson does not argue that the speeches are original, but reads Elihu as transforming Job into a better book. We can never know what verses Elihu's author found inadequate or lacking theologically. Luckily, we do not have to. Without access to the author and his intentions, I must look at how the reader understands Job in relation to character development and expectations. Stanley Fish's model works well for this. Elihu's author may have taken text in Job and fashioned Elihu, but that does not mean the reader must abide by this original intention. In defense of treating the author as another interpreter Fish writes, "The fact that the first specification may have been made by the author only indicates that the authors, like anyone else, must construe intention even when it is their 29 54 Cline, 2005 243 55 Wilson, 1996(1) 94

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own.'" 56 The meanings of a text are not calcified at the moment they are written down. Instead, texts are continually interpreted even by the author. One possible objection to arguing against Habel, a member of a scholarly community is that I do not accord him proper deference. After all, he is a scholar with years of research in biblical studies. Although true, his research has led him to an outlier conclusion. This demonstrates how the interpretive community allows for multiple interpretations. As reading continues the community is able to dismiss the outliers. Habel's assertion that Elihu believes that he is Job's arbiter does not, I argue, correspond to a sufficient conclusion given the amount of scholarship to which he has access within his scholarly interpretive communities. The text of Job provides the groundwork for understanding Elihu, and an informed reading of it does not allow for Elihu to be an arbiter in any capacity. Before we look at the verses where Job asks for assistance, I must define the terms the text uses. In chapter nine, Job asks for an arbiter. Arbiter is one of the most popular words scholars use when writing about Elihu's role. "The arbiter is an official of the city gate who presides over civil cases and recommends a resolution for disputes." 57 Of course, an arbiter who presides over civil disputes between two humans is quite different from an entity that can level decisions in a dispute between God and a human. Some translations use the word umpire. They denote the same thing. Elsewhere, Job seems to ask for a defense attorney. He wishes for someone to hear his case and translate it into a 30 56 Fish, 1989 118 57 Habel, 1984 82

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workable argument that the defender can use to put God on trial. These come in chapter sixteen, "a witness in heaven (16:19), a redeemer (19:25), and a hearer' (31:35)." 58 Each are similar, but not exactly synonymous. Habel writes that Job should not expect a fair trial, and that Elihu presents himself as the intermediary who can judge Job on God's behalf, on the earthly plain. 59 Legal language is present throughout the text. In various spots Job speaks of a trial and creating a defense against God's injustice. For example, in Job 13:3 he says: "But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God." 60 This kind of language creates an atmosphere within the book that seems to lead the reader in the direction of a heavenly trial and not a self-appointed mortal emissary. Yet, when Elihu finally does appear, the text has primed the reader to expect a legal showdown between God and Job with a figure in between, pleading the case for Job. To many readers, Elihu may be the best that they could have hoped for. Chapter 9 The Umpire The first instance in which Job calls out for someone to mediate between himself and God comes in chapter nine. By this point in the text each of Job's three friends have visited him and excoriated him for one reason or another. Eliphaz and Bildad both reprimand Job for his supposed affronts to God. Bildad comments to Job, perhaps 31 58 Wilson, 1996(2) 247 59 Habel, 1984 85 60 Job 13:3

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condescendingly, that "God will not reject a blameless person." 61 Bildad believes that Job is not blameless. The text says otherwise. Job is blameless. It states it in chapter one: "There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil." 62 Bildad does not know this. For that matter, neither does anyone else aside from God and the Satan. Nonetheless, Bildad affirms that God will alleviate Job's suffering if Job repents. Job's response signals an increasing hopelessness with his situation. "Indeed I know that this is so; but how can a mortal be just before God? If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand." 63 A few verses later he adds, I must appeal for mercy to my accuser. If I summon him and he answered me, I do not believe that he would listen to my voice. For he crushes me with a tempest, and multiplies my wounds without cause; he will not let me get my breath, but fills me with bitterness. If it is a contest of strength, he is the strong one! If it is a matter of justice, who can summon him? 64 Job lays out three objections to Bildad. He could repent, but for what, and how? Secondly, God is much too strong for a mortal to contend with. Finally, even if Job does have a case, who can defend him to God? 65 Job contends that he has done nothing wrong and exclaims that "there is no umpire between us who might lay his hand on us both." 66 32 61 Job 8:20 62 Job 1:1 63 Job 9:2-3 64 Job 9:15-9 emphasis added. 65 Pope, 1965 72 66 Job 9:33

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Scholars agree that Elihu could not play this part. Elihu is mortal and does not have the capability to deal with God on God's level. Marvin Pope sees it as wishful thinking on the part of Job. There is no expectation that any kind of umpire will appear. Pope contends that the genesis of this futile desire comes from a Sumerian legend that imagines divine delegates for each person on earth. These delegates champion for their earthly charges to a heavenly council of higher gods. 67 Pope writes that "this idea may be in the background of Job's thought, but he rejects it as unreal or unsatisfactory." 68 Although this may be true, others read it differently. The text shows Job's incredulousness regarding a mediator operating on his behalf. However, it is too much of a stretch to make the leap that the author is channeling Sumerian legends regarding personal, divine delegates. Similarly, Norman Habel writes that "Job considers the possibility of an arbiter and dismisses it at this stage." 69 Habel qualifies this assertion by adding, "at this stage." By this he maintains his view that only one author wrote Job and that later, as he expects, Elihu appears to fulfill his (Elihu's) self-appointed role. Although Job does not expect anyone to come defend him and Elihu is many chapters away, Job's plea stands as a foreshadowing of a intercessory character. 70 Even if Job has no hope of a mediator in this instance Elihu continues to listen patiently, formulating a plan to speak for Job to God. Therefore, for Habel, even though he does not see this as the cry from Job that makes 33 67 Pope, 1965 76 68 Pope, 1965 76 69 Habel, 1985 183 70 Habel, 1985, 32

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Elihu take action, he safeguards his interpretation by insisting that this is foreshadowing. Pope maintains that no such foreshadowing exists. 71 Pope and Habel agree that Job does not expect anyone to come to his defense. Job seems to agonize over how unfair it is that there is no one to mediate between he and God. Pope views this as an appeal or a reference to the legend from which the book is derived whereas Habel sees it as an intrinsic part of the text. Where Habel and Pope disagree most strongly, I believe, is in the context. As with every piece of literature, context matters. Fish writes that "while it is certainly true that context constrains interpretation, it is also true that context is a product of interpretation and as such is itself variable as a constraint." 72 Both authors use contextual clues (inside and outside of the text) to arrive at their interpretations. Pope appeals to parallel texts of Job. It is a historical-literary document that does not exist in a vacuum but a text that can be better understood by examining texts contemporaneous with Job. Other texts utilize arbiters, and it only makes sense that Job would as well. In contrast, Habel's context lies almost solely within the text. His analysis compares this verse with Elihu's verses to reach his conclusion. By doing this, the reader should ask of Habel: How much does context allow for a fresh reading of the text versus using textual clues later in the text in order to justify the interpretation? Fish uses the example of a reader reading most, but not all, of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol If someone asked the reader to predict the outcome of the book having 34 71 Pope, 1965 XXVIII 72 Fish, 1989 108

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only read seven-eighths of the book, Fish contends that competing endings would arise. The readers "might still disagree about Scrooge's moral characters because they disagreed about the configuration and facts of what they already had read." 73 In the same way, Job crying out for an arbiter does not necessitate Elihu's arrival. Even if Habel concedes a second author, Elihu gives very little indication that he is the arbiter Job asks for in chapter nine. This shows that even the contexts to which both authors appeal is an act of interpretation and gets us no closer to Elihu. Chapter 16 My Witness is in Heaven The next verse scholars point to in order to justify Elihu as an arbiter is in chapter sixteen. In chapters ten through fifteen, Job endures more admonishments from his friends for his supposed transgressions. Zophar attacks Job for insisting that he has done nothing wrong. For you say, "My conduct is pure, and I am clean in God's sight." "But O that God would speak, and open his lips to you, and that he would tell you the secrets of wisdom! For wisdom is many-sided. Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves. 74 Zophar's main argument is that if Job insists that he is blameless then God must be the unjust one, and that is an impossibility. 75 This is not what Job says, however. Job sees his treatment as unjust precisely because he has not transgressed. The way out of this, in 35 73 Fish, 1989 109 74 Job 11:4-6 75 Pope, 1965 84

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Zophar and Job's estimation, is for God to speak directly to them and explain "the secrets of his wisdom." 76 This engenders a similar sentiment to Job's plea for help in chapter nine. Job wants an answer from God for his own suffering. Zophar wants the same, except for the purpose of showing how Job has been wrong all along. As it stands, Zophar's plea more accurately describes how the book ends. God never gives Job the answer he seeks. Whereas Pope sympathizes with Job, Habel's argument seems to sympathize with Zophar. He remarks that Zophar's concern is with Job's verbosity. Job speaks too much. Although his arguments are effective on humans, they hold no sway with God. Zophar says, "Should your babble put others to silence, and when you mock shall no one shame you?" 77 Habel writes that "Job's verbose speeches are a mockery of true wisdom." 78 Both Zophar's argument and Habel's interpretation are incorrect. Zophar's claim that Job is an astoundingly astute and devastating debater is not correct. Job certainly has not convinced his friends of anything except his guilt and presumptuousness. Habel is incorrect because he blames Job for what he does not know. Job does not mock "true wisdom" because there is not true wisdom to mock! God has not appeared and the only thing Job and his friends have to argue over is how much Job must have insulted God. Habel projects this into the future as something that must happen. He seems to view Job as speaking spuriously about things he does not understand. This, like Elihu's 36 76 Pope, 1965 84 77 Job 11:3 78 Habel, 1985 206

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appearance, demonstrates how a reader can utilize texts that are not quite right in order to justify a later event in the story. To Zophar, Job responds with sarcasm: "No doubt you are the people and wisdom will die with you. But I have understanding as well you; I am not inferior to you." 79 He then turns to prayer and asks God to either leave him alone (13:21) or send him to Sheol (14:13). Either way, he pleads for relief. He also restates that he is willing to face God and plead his case (13:18-9). Eliphaz steps in and argues in the same vein as Zophar. He tells Job that "with windy knowledge" he is "doing away with the fear of God, and hindering mediation before God." 80 Eliphaz sees Job's hubris as the reason that Job cannot receive an answer from God. In the next chapter, Job responds: Even now, in fact, my witness is in heaven, and he that vouches for me is on high. My friends scorn me; my eye pours out tears to God, that he would maintain the right of a mortal with God, as one does for a neighbor. For when a few years have come, I shall go the way from which I shall not return. 81 In this verse Job pleads for someone to intercede on his behalf, similar to a defense attorney. This is a more forceful role than the arbiter because the arbiter simply acts as a judge between the two parties. The witness in heaven takes an active role in Job's defense. This witness must be able to formulate a case and present it to a heavenly judge and then the judge must be able to mediate who is right. This must be someone powerful as God. Habel suggests that "Job foresees his celestial witness as the one on high who 37 79 Job 12:2-3 80 Job 15:2, 15:4 81 Job 16:19-22

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recognizes the legitimacy of his cry for justice and therefore takes responsibility for bringing his case to court." 82 Scholars have also suggested that this figure is another god, such as the "Caananite Baal (presumably from the neighboring jurisdiction) to preside over this special trial of his fellow divine jurist." 83 A god from across town is an interesting image, and it is not completely out of the realm of possibility. There are vestiges of polytheism in the Bible that suggest as much (e.g. Gen. 1:26). Another interesting possibility is that the witness Job envisions is a manifestation of his own innocence. 84 This could mean a purer form of innocence that God takes into account in heaven. Regardless of who this figure is, some scholars read this as more wishful thinking on Job's part. Wilson suggests that such a figure does not exist but that due to Job's suffering wishes for this figure anyway. "It is likely, then, that Job may not have a specific figure in view, and there are good reasons to believe that he may be clutching at any possibility, logical or otherwise, to see him through his dilemma of faith." 85 From the text, it does not seem that Job has any true belief that someone will intercede on his behalf. Habel admits that such a figure is "but a flight of faith." 86 Job has resigned himself to Sheol and does not expect anyone to help him. Nevertheless, for Habel, Elihu is listening and waiting for the perfect chance to speak up and show how he can fulfill the 38 82 Habel, 1985 275-6 83 Zuckerman, 1998 114 84 Wilson, 1996 (1) 248 85 Wilson, 1996 (2) 249 86 Habel, 1985 276

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role of the witness in heaven. Robert Gordis views this verse as referring to God and not an outside umpire, as Elihu would be. 87 Gordis believes that Job does not cry out for a witness on his behalf but instead cries out for God's help. There are problems with this interpretation. Most notably, in verse twenty-one, Job asks for a someone who would act on his behalf to defend him from God. Someone who "will testify on Job's behalf and plead for him with God as a man pleads for his friend." 88 Gordis acknowledges this point, but does not see a problem. Although humans would not be able to remain impartial with regards to being a judge and a lawyer at the same time, in the court of God, there is no such contradiction. 89 So far Elihu is nowhere to be found. As Job sinks lower and still does not receive an answer for his suffering, his friends continue to lay out their arguments and opinions. If this were A Christmas Carol Scrooge is still entrenched in his selfishness and poor Tiny Tim may not make it through the night. In both verses we have looked at, Job's cries for help have gone unanswered. If Elihu is there among the assembled, he is quiet and no one has noticed him. It may not yet be plausible to expect a mediator and Job may eventually die a man who suffers for no reason. Or, perhaps, this situation is like the trope of Chekhov's Gun. That is, if Job cries out for someone to either arbitrate between himself and God or defend him to God, that character must appear to satisfactorily to complete the story. The author of Elihu chapters believed something was 39 87 Wilson, 1996 (2) 246 88 Pope, 1965 125 89 Wilson, 1996(2) 247 Footnote 12

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missing from the original story and added him. However, some scholars seem to have taken a few texts and molded them to make Elihu fit the arbiter model. Chapter 19 My Redeemer Lives This chapter is one of the most ambiguous in the entire book. Scholars have written thousands of pages on it, and there seems to be no consensus concerning its meaning. Despite its textual difficulties due to manuscript damage, it is still fascinating to witness Job again ask for someone to help him. 90 This chapter is a reply to Bildad, in which he tells Job that he must have done something wicked because God has punished him. Job responds to Bildad's sanctimony: How long will you torment me, and break me in pieces with words? These ten times you have cast reproach upon me; are you not ashamed to wrong me? And even if it is true that I have erred, my error remains with me. 91 He tells Bildad that it is God who has wronged him, not the other way around. He lists examples that are humorous out of context and highlight the differences between a reader today and Job's ongoing concerns in the ancient world of a prosperous man. In addition to losing his family and his glory Job complains that I call to my servant, but he gives me no answer; I must myself plead with him. My breath is repulsive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own family. Even young children despise me; when I rise, they talk against me. 92 40 90 Pope, 1965 LXXVI 91 Job 19:1-4 92 Job 19:16-8

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He asks his friends to have pity on him "for the hand of God has touched me!" 93 A few verses later he exclaims: For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me. 94 Job is becoming more desperate for a meditator and dedicates more than one sentence to asking for it. Who is this Redeemer? The Hebrew word is g™' l, but an accurate translation is hard to come by. 95 It can mean vindicator. If speaking about mortals, a redeemer is "the nearest kinsman who was obligated to exact vengeance in a blood feud (Deut 19:6-12; II Sam 14:11)." 96 It can also signal a person who defended the oppressed, like widows and orphans. 97 Gordis sees the redeemer, the g™' l, not as a human defender but, like the witness in the previous chapter, God himself. He believes that any interpretation other than God is "impossible" and "the ultimate absurdity," because of its blasphemous implications. 98 God taking on the role of the redeemer does not make sense, especially in light of the other translation of the word, vindicator. Writes James Zink: "It is more in keeping with the character of the entire book to take the term, g™' l, in its more usual sense as the defender (or avenger) of the rights of the destitute or 41 93 Job 19:21 94 Job 19:25-7 95 Pope, 1965 146 96 Pope, 1965 146 97 Pope, 1965 146 98 Gordis, 1965 88

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oppressed." 99 To make it work, Gordis creates a vision of Job that does not seem accurate. He pulls out of the text a mystical view of God's dualistic nature that does not correspond with the main points of the text. I must point out that I still hold that Gordis can read the text however he likes. He interprets Job from inside of and as a part of his interpretive communities. However, I do not happen to agree with his interpretation of this verse. Habel disagrees with Gordis as well. Habel writes at length about the identity of the g™' l. He is certain that it is not God, but "an appropriate sympathetic member of the heavenly council, an angel figure who assumes the role of the defender of Job's innocence, the arbiter for Job's trial and the vindicator of Job's integrity." 100 This figure would have to either defend him to God while Job is still alive, or wait until he is dead and defend him in the afterlife. It is uncertain given the textual difficulties. Job says that his redeemer lives, but he also says he will see God "after my skin has been thus destroyed." This suggests that his redeemer, his vindicator, is someone who can transcend life and follow him into death to argue his case before God and vindicate Job. Finally, some Christians have suggested that the redeemer is Jesus Christ. Christian writers have promulgated this view since Clement of Rome and Augustine. However, since the nineteenth century, scholars have shied away from this interpretation and read the text with an eye toward more diverse readings. 101 Whether this redeemer is 42 99 Zink, 1965 150 100 Habel, 1985 306 101 Zink, 1965 148

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a figment of Job's imagination; God; a very real divine helper; or even Jesus; none of these point to Elihu. Nevertheless, Habel uses this verse, and the two proceeding, as justification for Elihu seeing himself as Job's arbiter and redeemer. Chapter 31 The Hearer The final place where Job asks for someone to intervene between him and God comes in the thirty-first chapter. Job has spent the previous two chapters reiterating his defense through a chronology of sorts. It is not clear to whom he speaks, because he does not directly refute any one point. 102 It is hard to say whether it is a speech to his friends or a soliloquy. Newsom does not see it as a soliloquy because "the speech has a public character." 103 This is true, but to which public does Job address? God and the assembled friends or the audience? I see it as the former because in context it reads as a direct appeal to God. He has not convinced his friends, but maybe he can still convince God of his righteousness. Job states that he was on God's good side when he was prosperous. God was with Job, "when I was in my prime, when the friendship of God was upon my tent; when the Almighty was still with me, when my children were around me." 104 He was a just and righteous man and demonstrated it as someone who wears it on their body like a "robe and a turban." 105 Now, however, even the lowliest malcontents, the ones driven from 43 102 Newsom, 2003 183 103 Newsom, 2003 186 104 Job 29:4-5 105 Job 29:14

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town, laugh and mock Job. Even this "senseless, disreputable brood" do not respect him. 106 God has laid him low and Job wonders why. He speaks of fourteen offenses which, he believes, he has not committed. 107 For instance, if he had an obsession with gold ("If I have made gold my trust, or called fine gold my confidence") or engaged in schadenfreude ("If I have rejoiced at the ruin of those who hated me"), then it would be clearer why God has chosen to make him suffer. 108 Job believes he has not committed any of the offenses and so he asks for God to formally lay out his charges so that he may defend them: Oh that I had one to hear me! (Here is my signature! Let the almighty answer me!) O that I had the indictment written by my adversary! Surely I would carry it on my shoulder; I would bind it on me like a crown; I would give him an account of all my steps; like a prince I would approach him. 109 This passage is the most legalistic of the four passages. Even though, as Newsom points out, the offenses he speaks of are not illegal, Job's adoption of legal rhetoric signals a shift in Job's thinking. 110 Further, Job asks for a hearer, but only to arbitrate. 111 This is similar to the arbiter of chapter nine and a reversal from chapter nineteen in which he asks for a redeemer who will defend him from God. Here, he is willing to sign an oath proclaiming his innocence. This signature may be symbolic or he may have an actual 44 106 Job 30:8 107 Gordis, 1965 283 108 Job 31:24, 29 109 Job 31:35-7 110 Newsom, 2003 194 111 Habel, 1985 438

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document in mind in which he may just need to sign an X to make it legal. 112 In any case, Job is willing to formalize his defense and wishes for God to do the same. Job is confident that God will exonerate him once all the paperwork is in. Job is so confident that he will wear the indictment as a mark of pride. Habel writes that, "Job brags that he will flaunt his opponent's writ before the court by wearing it on his shoulder as a mark of status (cf. Isa.9:5[6E]; 22:22) and on his head as a crown of glory." 113 This action will show to the public that the charges against him are false. 114 This interpretation seems much too arrogant given the amount of agony he is in. It does not make sense that he would flaunt God's indictment against him and declare himself to be innocent. Instead of the indictment, Pope sees it as the acquittal Job has been searching for. 115 This is more in line with Job's attitude. A properly formulated acquittal from God is the perfect response to Job's friends. The hearer would then only serve as the intermediary between heaven and earth. For either of these scenarios to be workable, Job must have some contact with God. Given Job's despair throughout the book, it does not seem likely that he actually expects God to perform his duties. At this point, God's appearance does not matter, suggests Newsom, "but one could imagine how such a speech might function in a social context. After such a declaration, Job's peers might well conclude that Job had made the case for his own righteousness, indeed, as one that God himself would recognize, and so 45 112 Attridge, 2006 721 113 Habel, 1985 439 114 Habel, 1985 439 115 Pope, 1965 239

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put an end to the social ostracism and shaming of Job." 116 Like his previous pleas, he does not expect them to come to fruition. He has said his piece and, should the book end now, the reader can imagine an ending where Job may eventually heal and get on with his life. It may be an ambiguous ending, but it does not have to necessarily be unsatisfactory. Nevertheless, it does not end here. There is still the matter of the triumphant return of God and, of course, Elihu. Of the four verses I have examined, this verse has the most to do with Elihu's character and lends the most credibility to Habel's assertion that Elihu wishes to act as an arbiter, though just barely. This is because like the previous verses in which the arbiter, witness, and redeemer, seem to be divine figures that do not actually exist, Job does not expect his hearer to exist either. However, Job's rhetoric of finality signals to the reader that something is about to happen. If the reader looks ahead to the next chapter he or she sees a new character arrive. Without reading the chapter, the reader could use context clues to arrive at the conclusion that Elihu is the arbiter Job has asked for. For example, Job's speech gets Job out of the habit of exclusively talking to his friends and imploring the audience to accompany him as he navigates the rest of the story, if there is a rest of the story. Newsom writes: "The projection of the sense of an audience beyond the friends breaks open the closed frame of both the prose tale and the wisdom dialogue Undoubtedly, this feature facilitates the insertion of the Elihu speeches in chapters 32-37." 117 Newsom goes on to write that Elihu has been waiting patiently all along for 46 116 Newsom, 2003 197 117 Newsom, 2003 186

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the right time to speak. Here she echoes Habel's assertion that Elihu is simply waiting until an opportunity presents itself. 118 This attitude presupposes a character who can fulfill the role of the arbiter as Job outlines. Elihu does not fit the model of the arbiter Job requests. Habel agrees with this as do others. Yet, he tries to convince the reader that Elihu works as the arbiter. This is wishful thinking on Habel's part because it makes more sense to view the arbiter, the witness, the redeemer, and the hearer as Job's cries for help as he sits in agony, not as a character that must be assigned. Elihu has a purpose. It is just not what Habel wishes it was. Elihu works as a fool. He works as an addition that does not quite fit. He can work as a character who adds nothing, although I disagree with this. But he does not work as an arbiter. Elihu contains elements of a defense attorney and uses legal rhetoric to make his point, but he lacks the characteristics of the arbiter Habel ascribes to him. Where Does This Leave Elihu? These four verses seems to give the reader an expectation of a mediator. However, this mediator must necessarily act "as the celestial friend' [and carry] out the functions which Job's earthly friends failed to fulfill A friend sides with the sufferer, even against God if necessary. Job discerns such a friend in the figure of the celestial advocate." 119 In all four instances, Job asks for someone who has the power to argue with God and have God listen to him. This does not fit the bill of the young human 47 118 Habel, 1985 446 119 Habel, 1985 275

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Elihu. Yet, readers are conditioned to expect this character before God arrives. Elihu serves as that figure. When he ultimately disappoints, many scholars go into damage control mode to make Elihu seem as if he were there all along. Instead of filling a hole in order to read smoothly across the text, I wish to simply know where the holes are, acknowledge them, and then read around them. By revealing these gaps we reveal Elihu's function most prominently and accurately. 48

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Chapter Three Comic Relief At the end of the Book of Job when the tension is so high it is almost tangible, Elihu enters and provides some levity. He interrupts just long enough to provide the reader with a diversion before God arrives. This is why he is important. The monstrous tragedies that God allows Job to endure obscure an often overlooked genre present in this book: humor. Humor works to refocus the reader on the tragedy and continue to engage him or her as they read. A reader so steeped in Job's calamities can easily overlook humorous elements in the book. Elihu challenges a serious reading and taps into a reader's need for humor and tension relief during a serious story. There are a few reasons why humor has traditionally not been included among Job's genres. First, Even though humor is present, scholars may not even be looking for it or recognize it even if they stumble upon it. Yehuda Radday, an Israeli scholar interested in humor in the Bible, asks, "if biblical humour has not been studied by scholars, why such neglect?" 120 Radday posits that cultural, linguistic, and time problems have contributed to this neglect. 121 The humor is there,but it must be unearthed. Similarly, the humor that is found may not resonate with today's reader given that the modern reader does not have the same sensibilities as the ancient reader. This, of course, includes what modern readers view as comedic. The reverse is also true. What the modern reader finds humorous may not have been intended to be humorous. Radday 49 120 Radday, 1990 22 121 Radday, 1990 33

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writes, "To go back from dictionaries and commentators who found humorous passages in the Bible, perhaps, instead of humorous passages', I should have said passages that seemed humorous to the commentator.'" 122 He calls such interpretations "pseudohumorous misinterpretations." 123 Nevertheless, as I showed in previous chapters, this is not the right way to view interpretations. No interpretations are "pseudo-humorous." Instead, they are humorous because the reader finds them humorous. Radday gives us hints about how an ancient reader may have read and what they may have found humorous. However, he fails to consider readers in subsequent centuries. Many of them undoubtedly found something humorous in Job as they read. It may have even been Elihu. Nevertheless, we do not know and cannot appeal to what the author or ancient readers thought was funny. The reader, today's reader, following the previous centuries of readers, has the ultimate interpretive authority. With this in mind, we can begin to look at how Elihu is a comic character. Previously, I argued that Stanley Fish's reader-based interpretive strategies are the most effective method with which to understand Elihu's role. Next, I examined Elihu's role, demonstrating that Job's cries for a mediator do not justify Elihu's appearance. This still leaves the biggest question: Just what is Elihu's role? Taking into consideration that the genre of humor has traditionally been left out of the discussion, I argue that Elihu best operates as comic relief. The primary reason is that he fulfills a vital function by providing a sorely-needed catharsis near the end of the book. His 50 122 Radday, 1990 25 123 Radday, 1990 25

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foolishness, brashness, narcissism, and youth all combine to make a memorable character who anticipates God's arrival but also frustrates it, both for the reader and for Job and his friends. His pompous inanity provides the audience with emotional relief before God's climactic arrival. Secondly, Elihu's appearance helps the reader solidify his or her understanding of the rest of the book. By reading Elihu as comic relief, it frees the reader to view the end of Job differently and evaluate it outside of the standard argument that Job is exclusively a work of profound and solemn literature. This work has been seen as so serious for so long, that to show Elihu in this light opens up the possibility that this may be the best understanding of Elihu. A comic reading of Elihu provides more interpretive possibilities and leads to a fuller understanding of Job. To illustrate how Elihu acts as comic relief, I have chosen sections of three chapters. The first passage has Elihu paying more attention to himself and how important he sounds than the words he is saying. Next, we look at Elihu's insistence that he speaks for God. Finally, I investigate Elihu's final chapter, just before God appears. This chapter is interesting because it echoes God's speech to Job. This chapter shows once again how deluded Elihu is, and how funny this can be despite his lofty intentions. Before I proceed, I must define what I mean by comedy and comic relief. Comedy is such an amorphous term and so personal, it seems hard to come up with a good definition that will completely satisfy how it is applied here. What makes you laugh may not make me laugh. Comedy does not always have to make people laugh. William Whedbee writes that "comedy can be profoundly serious; in fact it has often 51

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served as one of the most compelling strategies for dealing with chaos and suffering." 124 Such "gallows humour" is not unknown in the modern world. 125 for example, it is well known that paramedics and firefighters joke with each other at accident scenes. This is not because they are cruel or unprofessional, but it is a way to alleviate the pressure of so many tragic situations. Elihu acts in the same way. Elihu is comic relief because he provides an emotional outlet for the reader. He gives the reader, however tacitly, the goahead to consider Job a partly comedic story. Elihu's presence suggests to the reader, "Interpret me in light of your own experiences. Laugh at my peremptory and blustering speeches now, because God will be here soon and you had better keep your mouth shut." The gravity of the book obscures this sentiment. However, by better understanding the subtleties of comedy in a biblical context, the reader can come away with a better understanding of Job and Elihu. As readers, we can never truly know Elihu's original purpose. I suspect that Elihu's original inclusion was for a theological aim, perhaps to fortify the arguments of the friends or herald God's entrance, and not to make us chuckle at such a foolish character. There are scholars who disagree, however. Whedbee writes that, "a reading of these speeches in the whole context of Job shows that Elihu is a comic character whom the writer seeks to expose by the timing of Elihu's appearance and the type of language 52 124 Brenner, 1990 220 125 Brenner, 1990 219 Whedbee acknowledges that this could be problematic for some. "At rst blush many will recoil from the suggestion that Job is comedy and will dismiss my thesis as downright crazy or a bad joke in the worst tradition of gallows humour." However, humor is subjective and as such does not need to be defended on the grounds of decency.

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he uses." 126 He agrees with another scholar who writes that Elihu's author "probably deliberately put banal lines into his mouth, since his purpose was rather to expose this type of character than to exalt it." 127 This assertion overreaches terribly. The lines are banal, but they are earnest. It makes more sense to see the author as writing ancient fan fiction in order to remedy Job's apparent inconsistencies than to bring in modern genre conventions and force them into the text. It is one thing to assign meaning to a text as a reader in the modern day, it is another to reach back through time to satisfy an exegetical assumption. Another example of this overreach comes again from William Whedbee and provides an incentive for not going overboard with the humor aspect of Job. William Whedbee argues that all of Job can be read as a comedy. He writes: "In my judgment, the broad, overarching category of comedy is able to illuminate best the wealth of disparate genres, formulas, and motifs which are now interwoven in the total structure of the book." 128 This is as much of an overreach as scholars who argue that there is no humor in the Bible. Elihu works as comic relief because he comes in at a certain time to alleviate the tension that has built up in the story. Job contains many different genres and comedy is just one of them. Whether the author intentionally created the book to include these discrete genres is unknown. However, it does not make sense to categorize the entire book as one genre. I am more economical in my approach to Joban humor. Luckily, 53 126 Brenner, 1990 233 127 Brenner, 1990 233 The scholar is H.H. Rowley 128 Brenner, 1990 219

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Elihu provides enough of it that I do not have to try and fit it in elsewhere in the book. Elihu's lofty (and unsolicited) speech falls short theologically. For example, he echoes what God says in the next section. When God appears in chapter thirty-eight, God asks Job rhetorical questions regarding God's power versus Job's power. Elihu does much the same, but without the weight of authority behind him. As I show, this makes sense given that Elihu's author probably had access to God's speeches and could use them as a model. Further, besides chastising Job, he never shows how Bildad, Eliphaz, and Zophar are wrong. He says he will, but he never gets around to it. Since he does not add much to the plot, and in many ways slows it down, a comic reading is the best way to account for Elihu's inclusion. Chapter 33 For I Am Full of Words In chapter thirty-one, Job has completed his plea to God. If Elihu had not been introduced, Job's pleas would lead into God's entrance like this: If my land has cried out against me, and its furrows have wept together; if I have eaten its yield without payment, and caused the death of its owners; let thorns grow instead of wheat, and foul weeds instead of barley. The words of Job are ended. Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: "Who is this that darkens counsel by my words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 129 54 129 Job 31:38-40, 38:1-4

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If this were the case, and most scholars agree that it was this way originally, then God prolongs Job's tragedy, with no reprieve and nothing to give the audience a breather. As our text now stands, Elihu interrupts and begins to chastise the group. If my land has cried out against me, and its furrows have wept together; if I have eaten its yield without payment, and caused the death of its owners; let thorns grow instead of wheat, and foul weeds instead of barley. The words of Job are ended. So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, became angry. 130 Ostensibly, Elihu has been waiting to speak this entire time. It is only because of his deference to the age of the men that he has not interrupted earlier. 131 Nonetheless, he could stand to be silent no more. He barges in, expecting his name to be the authority his ages lacks. The author calls him Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite twice. Elihu "represents a variant spelling of Elijahu, the name of the prophet Elijah." 132 Curiously, he does not introduce himself to the friends or Job. This may be an oversight on the author's part, or perhaps the author recognized that Elihu does not introduce himself but is not concerned with it. Maybe they met before, or, like Kramer bursting into Jerry's apartment, there is little time for introductions before the shenanigans begin. Nevertheless, being the son of Barachel the Buzite, from the family of Ram, signifies to 55 130 Job 31:39-40, 32:1-2 131 Job 32:6-10 132 Gordis 1965, 115

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the reader his importance through his lineage. 133 His appearance, then, is not that of an unknown character, but a character the other characters, as well as the reader, should listen to. Habel writes that "his prestige, however, does not prevent him from making a fool of himself rather, it gives him the social entrŽe to do so!" 134 He is confident that his father's name gives him the authority to intrude unsolicited, like an oblivious trust fund baby dispensing advice to his father's business partners. After Elihu lays out his reasons for involving himself in Job's affairs, he continues to declare what he has already declared. He is "full of words" and cannot restrain himself. For I am full of words; the spirit within me constrains me. My heart is indeed like wine that has no vent; like new wineskins, it is ready to burst. I must speak so that I may find relief; I must open my lips and answer. 135 Elihu is "flatulent with words" and must find relief. 136 Another scholar writes that "he portrays his need to speak as a bodily function over which he has no control. He really has to go. Now. 137 Despite its comic effect (at least to young men), Elihu does not immediately address the assembled. He talks about talking about it, but it takes him a few verses to get going. Literally then, comic relief has arrived on the scene. This interrupts the flow of the story and allows the reader to forget about the problem of evil 56 133 Gordis, 1965 115 134 Habel, 1985 448 135 Job 32:18-20 136 Pope, 1965 243 137 Pelham, 2010 98

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for a moment. After a brief digression into his inability to use flattery, even as he flatters God for granting him such wisdom, Elihu jumps right into reassuring Job that he will treat him fairly and justly, even as speaks about himself almost exclusively. 138 I have italicized the pronouns that refer to Elihu. Take notice of how many times he uses them. But now, hear my speech, O Job, and listen to all my words. See, I open my mouth; the tongue in my mouth speaks. My words declare the uprightness of my heart, and what my lips know they speak sincerely. The spirit of God has made me and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Answer me if you can; set your words in order before me ; take your stand. See, before God I am as you are; I too was formed from a piece of clay. No fear of me need terrify you; my pressure will not be heavy on you. 139 This verse exemplifies Elihu's foolishness and narcissism. Whereas God has the qualifications to allow him to speak at length about himself by virtue of being God, Elihu does not. Elihu must resort to propping himself up in a lengthy speech that does not address any of Job's concerns. Further, unlike Elihu, God knows his power. He questions Job at length about what Job has done in relation to the creation of the earth. Verse after verse of rhetorical questions like, "have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place[?]" 140 God is secure in his position. God can turn it around and pepper Job with questions using the pronoun "you" with no amount of fear that Job will forget who he is. Elihu has no such authority. He only speaks about himself because he seems to be trying to convince himself and the 57 138 Job 32:21-2 139 Job 33:1-7 140 Job 38:12

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others of his exalted position as Job's rebuker. Elihu assumes that Job is open to having this young man lecture him about his transgressions. Second, Elihu assumes that Job actually wants to explain himself to him. He continues with these assumptions in mind. To convince Job, he appeals to their shared humanity. He effectively says to Job, I was made from clay, too! Do not be afraid of me, we are the same, you and I. He says, "no fear of me need terrify you." It seems highly doubtful that Elihu's presence is the least bit terrifying given that he has no proof that he is anything other than a brash young man. The reader scratches her head and wonders why this guy has crashed the party. Where is God? When is he going to arrive? Another interesting aspect of this verse that lends itself to a comic reading is that this is the first time in any of the dialogue (thirty-three chapters) that anyone addresses Job by name. Elihu is the only one who does this. 141 Job's friends cannot be bothered to even address Job by his name, even as he suffers. Elihu does. This may at first seem like a gesture of familiarity that will endear Job and the reader to Elihu. However, in the context of the speech, it comes off as pompous and paternalistic, even mocking. Habel writes that this line signifies Elihu's role as an arbiter who orders Job to appear before him: "Thus Elihu assumes the posture of the ranking official who has the right to call Job before him for a civil trial." 142 Although I disagree that this shows Elihu acting as an arbiter, calling Job by his name evokes a cross-examination: "But now, hear my speech, O Job, and listen to all my words." It reads like a caricature of an attorney scaring a 58 141 Pope, 1965 247 142 Habel, 1984 83

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witness on the stand. But instead of a heavenly council, he addresses Job and his friends. Add "ladies and gentleman of the jury" to the beginning of each chapter and you get a bumbling young attorney who has seen too many Law and Order reruns. This is a contemporary reference, but it serves to relate to the modern reader the brashness that the ancient reader may have noticed. Nonetheless, I do not agree with Habel that Elihu was designed to be an arbiter or mediator. There is another spot that more clearly illustrates the comedic aspects of this kangaroo court. In chapter thirty-four Elihu says: Hear my words, you wise men, and give ear to me, you who know; for the ear tests words as the palate tastes food. Let us choose what is right; let us determine among ourselves what is good. For Job has said, "I am innocent, and God has taken away my right; in spite of being right I am counted a liar; my wound is incurable, though I am without transgression." Who is there like Job, who drinks up scoffing like water, who goes in company with evildoers and walks with the wicked? 143 He simultaneously tries to impress the men by parroting back to them their own arguments. Yet, as with Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad's arguments, they are not very sound to begin with. Job never "goes in company with evildoers" or "walks with the wicked." It is a rhetorical speech that does nothing but show that Elihu does not have a firm grasp on the issues surrounding Job's plight. Chapter 36 Bear With Me a Little Elihu continues in chapters thirty-three and thirty-four in a windy and verbose vein. He talks more about Job's pride. Pride, nothing else it seems, is what keeps God 59 143 Job 34:2-8

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from appearing and answering Job. Or, perhaps, pride is what keeps Elihu glued to his post, admonishing the assembled for their unrighteousness before God. In this case, it is unclear who is supposed to be more prideful. Is it Job or Elihu? Elihu exclaims, "there they cry out, but he does not answer, because of the pride of evildoers." 144 Gordis agrees with Elihu. "All too often the sufferers cry out merely because of the pain, rather than from a genuine desire for God's presence. To be sure, such an observation is particularly congenial to a member of the upper classes, but the truth of the insight is unassailable." 145 It is troubling that Gordis agrees with Elihu. Elihu's statement is foolish. Of course Job calls out to God in pain! That is the reason. Because he is suffering. He suffers unimaginably and wishes for God to alleviate it. Th audience knows that God sees Job as humble, and allows the Satan to afflict him. Elihu does not know this, of course, but it sets him apart as a fool who asserts that he knows that the only reason God has not shown up is because Job is too hubristic. It is akin to a 911 operator refusing to send an ambulance to a man with chest pains because he did not call for the right reasons. Elihu does not pause to address this discrepancy, however. Instead, he continues: Bear with me a little, and I will show you, for I have yet something to say on God's behalf. I will bring my knowledge from far away, and ascribe righteousness to my Maker. For truly my words are not false; one who is perfect in knowledge is with you. 146 60 144 Job 35:12 145 Gordis,1978 397 146 Job 36:2-4

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Four chapters and hundreds of words into his speech, "bear with me a little" rings hollow. From a comic perspective, it demonstrates more of Elihu's foolishness. He operates on his own time and does not take into account how it may affect the men he is addressing. For the friends, it is an annoyance. For Job, it is an emotionally exasperating experience that adds to his already substantial physical pain. Nonetheless, Elihu's gross underestimation of time seems harmless in comparison to his next claim. Elihu says he speaks for God, or on God's behalf. For someone so concerned with Job's blasphemy, Elihu's cavalier nature toward the Almighty strikes the reader as odd and humorous. Again, who does he think he is? If Elihu had told the assembled at the outset to "bear with me a little," the reader may have more readily taken him seriously. Likewise, had Elihu begun with the above quote, the assembled and the reader may have seen him as credible because he had not had time to prove otherwise. Job may even have taken Elihu's claims more seriously than those of his friends. His friends can only speculate on the nature of God, but Elihu "bring[s] knowledge from far away." Nevertheless, he speaks on behalf of God only after Job does not respond to him. His previous tactic was to ingratiate himself with Job and appeal to their common humanity. "See, before God I am as you are; I too was formed from a piece of clay." 147 Nowhere does he claim to have special knowledge that Job does not. However, since appealing to his and Job's humanity did not work, Elihu concocts a tall tale. He now speaks for God, not merely about God. The translation I use is most explicit on this. Other translations, though not as 61 147 Job 33:6

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explicit, say much the same thing. Habel's translations says, "I will glean my knowledge from far afield, I will prove my Creator is in the right," 148 while Pope's says, "I will fetch my speech from afar, I will ascribe my righteousness to my Maker." 149 Each is slightly different in tone, but the main point remains the same. Elihu expects Job to believe that he is perfectly wise because his wisdom comes straight from God. The next line is the most amusing of all because Elihu declares that his reasoning skills are impeccable. "For truly my words are not false; one who is perfect in knowledge is with you." 150 Habel has Elihu declaring that he is "perfect in reasoning." 151 Either way, Elihu's "perfect knowledge" or "perfect reasoning" is comedic because it is clear that this is not the case. "Wisdom" in hand, Elihu spends his remaining time talking about God's power and might. It is reminiscent of the approaching final chapters in which God appears and humbles Job. In Elihu's hands though, he obfuscates God's argument. In those verses God asks Job direct questions like, "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?" as a way to show Job the difference in strength between Job and God. 152 God never accuses Job of sinning against him but challenges him to explain his motives for crying out for him. Elihu does not ask Job many rhetorical questions. He is much too self-absorbed. Instead he describes what steps God takes to punish sinners: 62 148 Habel, 1985 494 149 Pope, 1965 266 150 Job 36:4 151 Habel, 1985 494 152 Job 38:04

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If they are bound in fetters and caught in the cords of affliction then he declares to them their work and their transgressions, that they are behaving arrogantly. He opens their ears to instruction, and commands that they return from iniquity. If they listen, and serve him, they complete their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasantness. But if they do not listen, they shall perish by the sword, and die without knowledge. 153 Gordis sees this verse as Elihu explaining to Job that Job's suffering is a warning. "When suffering comes upon them, it is as a warning against sin. If they take the message to heart, they are restored to well-being." 154 Elihu's statements are incongruous with this assertion. God makes people suffer as a corrective or retributive measure, not a deterrent. If God becomes aware of someone's transgressions, Elihu states that God warns the sinner before he makes them suffer. The suffering is not the warning, as Gordis claims. The warning has already occurred. In chapter thirty-three Elihu says: For God speaks in one way, and in two, though people do not perceive it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on mortals, while they slumber on their beds, then he opens their ears, and terrifies them with warnings, that he may turn them aside from their deeds, and keep them from pride, to spare their souls from the Pit, their lives from traversing the River. 155 This warning may come in the form of the terrifying dream. A reader can make the argument that inflicting pain to get the person's attention (33:19) is a form of warning. In context, however, Elihu mentions this in tandem with the mediator as the person's 63 153 Job 36:8-12 154 Gordis, 1978 405 155 Job 33:14-9

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salvation; his own repentance is not enough. Further, Elihu does not state that God only talks to sinners, but that if God speaks to someone it is through these two methods. Likewise, in chapter thirty-six Gordis is incorrect in asserting that "God wishes to teach Job through the medium of his suffering." 156 This is not the point of Elihu's speech at all. Although Elihu seems to believe that Job is guilty of something (c.f. 35:8), Elihu mainly describes how God generally deals with people who have sinned and not repented. He echoes Zophar's speech in the twentieth chapter where Zophar says much the same thing. If Elihu has "perfect knowledge" then so does Zophar since they say the same thing. This means that Zophar also has perfect knowledge. This is probably not the case because this seems like a characteristic one would mention. Therefore, it means that Elihu does not have perfect knowledge from God, as he claims. Elihu's foolishness shines through again as he regurgitates earlier arguments but without "the nuances and niceties of the earlier debating style." 157 His presumptuousness and arrogance create a picture of a classic comic figure. Yet, he is not finished. He still has more he would like to say. Chapter 37 How's the Weather Down There? Elihu's final speech focuses on rhetorical questions and meteorological phenomena as a way to describe God's power. If this sounds familiar, it should. In the next chapter God does the same thing. What makes this comical is that Elihu harnesses 64 156 Gordis, 1978 405 157 Habel, 1984 91

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God's silence while maintaining that God is present and speaking to them through thunder and lightning. The fact that he likens God to thunder and lightning is not particularly surprising and does not in itself make this chapter comedic. In fact, comparing gods to a storm or other kind of weather phenomena is a common characteristic of many ancient texts. 158 The comedy comes in Elihu's presentation. At the end of chapter thirty-six Elihu begins using meteorological imagery as a metaphor for God's power. Yet, as scholars will attest, Elihu becomes confused. He tells Job, Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings of his pavilion? See, he scatters his lightning around him and covers the roots of the sea. For by these he governs peoples; he gives good in abundance. He covers his hands with the lightning, and commands it to strike the mark. Its crashing tells about him; he is jealous with anger against iniquity. 159 This could mean that God's lightning is a metaphor for his strict judgment and "roots of the sea" are the sinners. The Zeus-like behavior with the lightning and the thunder is only imagery to get at the heart of what Elihu wishes to say: God is jealous against those who sin against him. Nevertheless, like much of this book, there are translation difficulties associated with this passage. 160 It is apparent though, given Elihu's previous comments that he is not so wise as to be able to speak accurately using metaphors and similes. Gordis gives a detailed explanation of the translation difficulties of this passage. 65 158 Habel, 1985 513 159 Job 36:30-3 160 Pope, 1965 274-7

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The phrase, "roots of the sea" could also be translated as "tops of mountains." Gordis writes that "the obvious rendering: He covers himself with the roots of the sea,' is alleged to mean that God draws up the waters from the depths of the sea to cover His throne with thunderclouds!" 161 Gordis does not see this as entirely plausible. Instead, he sees it as rain covering or revealing the "roots of the sea." 162 Perhaps by this he means the sea floor. Pope goes further. He says that "roots of the sea" "makes no sense." 163 He also mentions the idea of God's throne being in the mountain top, but like Gordis, does not subscribe to it. Despite its already confusing translation, coming out of Elihu's mouth makes it more confusing. At the beginning of chapter thirty-seven, Elihu regroups and clarifies his message, at least as much as Elihu can clarify his message. Listen, listen to the thunder of his voice and the rumbling that comes from his mouth. Under the whole heaven he lets it loose, and his lightning to the corners of the earth. After it his voice roars; he thunders with his majestic voice and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard. God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. 164 Elihu shifts from largely timeless pronouncements about God ("Surely God is great, and we do not know him; the number of his years is unsearchable,") to the time-specific ("Listen to the thunder of his voice and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.") 165 66 161 Gordis 1978 421 162 Gordis, 1978 421 163 Pope, 1965 275 164 Job 37:2-5 165 Job 36:26, 37:2

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Such a shift can be interpreted in a couple of ways. The first is largely unsupported in the text: Gordis believes that an actual storm occurs and Elihu stops talking about theoretical weather and shifts to actual weather. As a result "he breaks into a paean of praise to the greatness of the Creator, whose mysterious ways are manifest in nature," but the text does not provide even a sentence to indicate this. 166 It is an overreach to suggest that Elihu transitions to the present because there is a real storm. The second way of interpreting this verse comes from Carol Newsom. Newsom does not see it as an actual storm, but a "dramatic device" that gives to nature the qualities God has as a way to "create a sense of wonder." 167 Newsom's interpretation is fascinating because it is a counterpoint to Gordis' more literal understanding of the text. This passage is a prime example of how two readers can arrive at different conclusions given their backgrounds and fields of expertise. Nonetheless, I disagree with Newsom's assessment as well. She gives Elihu too much credit. He is not self-aware enough to employ literary-critical models of thinking to his speech. Instead, this is Elihu attempting once again to show Job his privileged status when it comes to communicating with God. He claims to channel God through meteorological phenomena as a way to impress upon Job the urgency of his situation. Further, a storm would indicate that God has arrived. "A storm or other meteorological phenomena usually accompanies a theophany," writes Pope. 168 Instead, the audiences expectations are dashed. Job does not respond to this. He has already 67 166 Gordis,1978 405 167 Newsom, 2003 230 168 Pope, 1965 290

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suffered enough indignity. There is no storm, God has not arrived, and Elihu is clearly confused. Once God emerges, Elihu ceases as a character. He is never again mentioned and the focus returns to Job. We can imagine Elihu slinking off once the deity he purports to represent shows up. Wise as he thinks he is, he is no match for God's wisdom. Elihu have served his purpose, however. He takes the focus off of the sheer weight of the problem of evil for a moment and allows the reader time to relieve some pressure by looking at his foolishness. Perhaps the reader identifies with his youth and is sympathetic. Or, a reader may read him as impertinent and completely wrong. However the reader interprets him, they are paying close attention to him and have, for the moment, let down their guard long enough to experience something other than horror at Job's maladies or the excitement of God's impending entrance. This is what makes Elihu important and relevant. He unwittingly creates a space in the text for the reader to refocus on God and Job by actually focusing on another character. 68

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Conclusion Elihu, Job and Everything After The previous chapter demonstrates that comedy can be found in the Bible. Not only is it in the Bible, but in one of the most profoundly serious books in all of biblical scholarship. The problem of evil, the Book of Job's main concern, would seem to leave no room for any kind of levity. Yet, in the midst of Job's agony and despair, Elihu arrives to relieve the incredible tension that has been building since chapter one. Generations of readers have tried to make Elihu fit into Job's theodicy paradigm with varying results. They recognize that Elihu is somehow important but theodicy continues to hang over the entire book like a fog, obscuring a better reading. Nonetheless, his role as a tension reliever in the final chapters of the book creates a mood that allows for a more forceful and immediate recognition of the implications of theodicy and therefore a more suitable reading results. I believe I have shown that reading Elihu from a comic standpoint and as comic relief allows for a richer, more accurate, and more persuasive reading than previously thought. I did this in three stages. First, by adopting a model that focuses on interpretive communities. The interpretations head off extremely inaccurate interpretations while allowing for the individual reader to come up with a full range of meanings. Second, I showed how some scholars have misinterpreted Elihu as an arbiter. I examined four verses that seem to show Job asking for a mediator or a judge to help him face God. I come to the conclusion that these verses do not point to Elihu, but to a vindicator who is a chimera in Job's suffering mind. Each verse I encountered (9:33, 16:19, 19:25, and 69

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31:35) led the reader further from Elihu. Instead of a human, these verses suggest that Job is asking for a divine figure whose power matches that of God. Elihu cannot possibly play this role. Finally, I argued that Elihu does serve as comic relief in the Book of Job. He breaks the tension after Job finishes his plea to God but before God arrives. Elihu provides a few key instances where he truly shines as a foolish and bombastic young man. These verses keep his character aloft and allow the reader to groan at his ineptness. By showing how important and vital Elihu is to the Book of Job, two main points emerge. The first is that there is, indeed, something about the Bible that lends itself to a comedic reading. Not all of it, of course. Yet, Elihu's appearance shows how it is entirely possible and probable that there are other instances of comedy in the Bible. For further research I would look at these other instances. I would attempt to answer questions similar to the questions I ask here. What does this character do? What is his or her purpose? How can an entity as powerful and serious as the God of the Bible be reconciled with human laughter and levity? The second point is that, by reading Elihu as comic relief, the problem of evil becomes even more pronounced. To best draw attention to Job's plight, the reader must first be introduced to it, immersed in it, and then allowed some time to breath before the climax of the story. Elihu's presence allows the reader time to evaluate all that they have read before God enters the story and takes their breath away once more. For further research on this, I would look at God's presence in other books of the Bible and analyze the surrounding characters using the same methods I outlined here. How different would we read the story of the Exodus or Jonah if we looked at these texts from a non-serious perspective? Perhaps not differently at all. But 70

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it may open up to the modern reader the possibility of entirely new ways to read such an ancient book. 71

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Bibliography Attridge, Harold W., and Wayne A. Meeks, eds. The HarperCollins Study Bible: Fully Revised and Updated: New Revised Standard Version. United States of America: HarperOne, 2006. Print. Brenner, Athalya, and Yehuda Thomas Radday, eds. On Humour and the Comic in the Hebrew Bible. Sheffield, England: Almond Press, 1990. Print. Clines, David J.A. "Putting Elihu in His Place: A Proposal for the Relocation of Job 32-37." J ournal for the Study of the Old Testament. 29.2 (2005): 243-53. Print. Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004. Print. Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory: An Introduction. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983. Print. Fish, Stanley Eugene. Is There a Text in this Class?: The Authority of Interpretive Communities Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1980. Print. Doing What Comes Naturally:Change, Rhetoric, and the Practice of Theory in Literary and Legal Studies. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1989. Print. Freedman, David Noel 1922-. The Anchor Bible Dictionary / David Noel Freedman, Editor-in-Chief ; Associate Editors, Gary A. Herion, David F. Graf, John David Pleins ; Managing Editor, Astrid B. Beck. 1st ed. ed. New York: Doubleday, 1992. Print. Gordis, Robert. The Book of God and Man: A Study of Job Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965. Print. The Book of Job : Commentary, New Translation, and Special Studies. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1978. Print. Habel, Norman C. "The Role of Elihu in the Design of the Book of Job." In the Shelter of Elyon (1984): 81-98. Print. The Book of Job : A Commentary / Norman C. Habel. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1985. Print. 72

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Newsom, Carol A. The Book of Job: A Contest of Moral Imaginations. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Print. Pelham, Abigail. "Job as Comedy, Revisited." Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 35.1 (2010): 89-112. Print. Pope, Marvin H. ed. The Anchor Bible: Job Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday, 1965. Wilson, Lindsay. "Realistic Hope Or Imaginative Exploration : The Identity of Job's Arbiter Pacifica 9.3 (1996): 243-52. Print. "The Role of the Elihu Speeches in the Book of Job." Reformed Theological Review 55.2 (1996): 81-94. Print. Zink, James K. "Impatient Job: An Interpretation of Job 19:25-27." Journal of Biblical Literature 84.2 (1965): 147-152. Print. Zuckerman, Bruce. Job the Silent : A Study in Historical Counterpoint. 1998.Web. 73


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