[b-hebrew] Is.45:7 God created evil?

George F Somsel gfsomsel at juno.com
Fri Aug 5 11:06:12 EDT 2005

On Fri, 5 Aug 2005 15:42:40 +0100 "Read, James C"
<K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk> writes:
> I do not want to get invovled in a futile debate about the 
> authorship of Job but even
> critics agree that it was composed long before Kings and Chronicles 
> and so for the 
> purposed of our discussion the book of Job provides a good context 
> in understanding 
> what could seem to be a contradiction.
> The book of Job clearly identifies trials and temptation as 
> originating with a fallen 
> angel named Satan (adversary).

Your characterization of the date of composition of Job is not correct. 
The proposed dates vary all over the ball-park.  In the WBC volume 17 on
Job 1-20 David J. A. Clines notes

     "Most scholars today would date the composition of the Book of Job
to some point between the seventh and the second centuries b.c.e., with
the probability that a prose folktale of a pious sufferer existed long
before the largely poetic book itself was written.
"The story of the Book of Job is set in the patriarchal era depicted in
Genesis: like Abraham, for example, Job’s wealth consists of his animals
and his servants (1:3; 42:12; cf. Gen 12:16), and he himself as head of
his family offers sacrifices without the intervention of any priest (1:5;
cf. Gen 15:9–10). Like the patriarchs of Genesis, who live 175, 180, 147,
and 100 years (Gen 25:7; 35:28; 47:28; 50:26), Job lives 140 years
(42:16). But the narrator is clearly depicting an archaic age and not
writing of his own time.
"In a search for the date of composition of the book, many have observed
that the theme of the suffering of the innocent is found also in Jeremiah
and in the poems of the Suffering Servant of the Lord in Second Isaiah,
both of these prophetic texts stemming from the sixth century. Some have
thought that the inexplicable suffering of Job may have been intended to
be symbolic of the suffering of the Jews in Babylonian exile in that
century, and therefore to have been composed at about that period. But
the author has so convincingly located his narrative in the patriarchal
world that there are no clear contemporary allusions of any kind to the
period contemporary with the author.
"The earliest reference to Job outside the book is found in Ezek 14:14,
20, where Job is mentioned along with Noah and Danel (probably not
Daniel) as an ancient hero. This sixth-century reference may well be,
however, not to the Book of Job but to a more ancient folktale; so no
inference about the date of the book can be drawn.
"There can be little doubt that the author of the book was an Israelite.
It is true that Job’s homeland is depicted as North Arabia or possibly
Edom, and in most of the book Job himself does not know God by the
Israelite name Yahweh. Nor does the book refer to any of the distinctive
historical traditions of the Hebrew people. But these facts only mean
that the author has succeeded well in disguising his own age and
background in his creation of the character of his hero."
(p. lvi ff.)

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