[b-hebrew] Re: Constellations in Job

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Wed Jul 16 13:47:49 EDT 2003


Which translation are you using? Look at the context, the same chapter, this is poetry with what are rather poetic references—verse 29 “Whose belly made the ice to come forth, and who gave birth to the frost of heaven?” The whole chapter is full of such references, so when we come to the description of the constellations in verses 31–32, why should we assume astrological implications? In fact, the implication of verse 33 in context is that people cannot know the decrees of heaven, hence astrology is not supported.

The cultural references in Tenakh are so often at war with the cultures of the “goyay hearetzot” which so often the people of Israel adopted. Is there any reason to read Job differently? Therefore, are not Homer and Hesiod irrelevant to Job?

> Second, the authors of the Talmud can certainly not be accused of practicing
> things forbidden in the Bible.

Yes they can be, and in numerous ways. But as I have not read Talmud and all the ways I have heard about are second hand from those who have read it, I cannot go into it further in a scholarly fashion, so I will hold my peace.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Silberman, Alfred" <alfred.silberman at baesystems.com>
> 
> Karl Randolph replied:
> 
> > Is there any reason there should be a mention of the zodiac
> constellations?
> 
> > The constellations of the zodiac were chosen as part of astrology. The
> picture given in
> > Job is of a person who worshipped the God of Israel, even though he may
> not have been 
> > Israelite himself. We find numerous references in Tenakh forbidding
> practicing astrology, 
> > so would we not almost expect that if constellations are mentioned in Job
> (as they are to 
> > show God's greatness), that they would exclude any from the zodiac?
> 
> We have in Job 38:31:
> Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of
> Orion? 
> This implies a belief in stellar influence on worldly events. It would not
> be that far-fetched to assume that the zodiacal constellations would
> similarly have such an influence. 
> 
> The reason why I asked is because I saw the same question being raised with
> regard to the works of Homer and Hysiod. The answer seems to be that in that
> culture it was a different relationship of stars / influence that
> predominated. I was wondering if there was an implication in this relating
> to the cultural environment of Job.
> 
> Second, the authors of the Talmud can certainly not be accused of practicing
> things forbidden in the Bible. Yet, there is extensive discussions of
> stellar and planetary influence of events in the world (with the caveat that
> prayer can alter the influence). The Talmud does discuss influence by both
> the Zodiacal constellations as well as Kimah, etc. So my question still
> stands.
> 
> 
> 
> From: Bill Rea <bsr15 at cantsl.canterbury.ac.nz>
> 
> > Al asked:-
> 
> >> I am trying to find discussions or research about why there is no
> >> mention in Job of the 12 constellations of the Zodiac.
> 
> > It is even possible to determine why something is omitted by an author
> > after the author is dead and he has left no other works? What source
> > material would a person use when persuing such research?
> 
> The question is simply a cultural question. Did Job live in an environment
> where they believed in the Zodiacal Constellations or not.
> 
> >> Instead, we find Kimah / Kesil / Ash mentioned. No one seems to know for
> >> sure what these refer to but it's pretty much agreed that they are not
> >> the Zodiacal constellations.
> 
> > I don't follow the logic here. If people don't know what they refer to
> > how is it possible to reach a general agreement that they are not,
> > either individually or collectively, Zodiacal constellations?
> 
> Both the LXX and Hieronomous have translations for these words (though they
> differ in different places of the Bible) so we know what they believed these
> to be (Orion, Arcturus, Pleiades, etc.). In no case do they translate them
> as one of the Zodiacal Constellations.
> 
> Alfred Silberman

-- 
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