Job and the Question of Unjust Suffering
TRINITY Lectures 2017
24 – 27 July 2017 (Mon to Thu), 8:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Trinity Theological College, TTC Chapel @ Level 4,
490 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 678093
Lecture 1: In the Cradle of World Literature
The issue of unjust suffering was addressed at the dawn of civilisation, in the great cultures in Egypt and Mesopotamia some 5000 years ago. Justice was an integral issue in the cosmologies of these cultures, where order on earth mirrors the order in the cosmos. Unjust suffering was a mark of the triumph of chaos and hence regarded as a religious problem.
Lecture 2: The (Hebrew) Book of Job
The book of Job, as it has come down to us through the Hebrew Bible, reflects not a single view on the question of God’s role in unjust suffering but three: (i) the theodic perspective of Job’s friends, who defend the justice of God in Job’s suffering; (ii) the antitheodic perspective of Job, who calls into question God’s justice in the face of unjust suffering; and (iii) the atheodic view of God, who reframes the question as one pertaining to divine sovereignty and freedom.
Lecture 3: Jewish and Christian Interpreters
Interpreters have read the story of Job in radically different ways. Even within each religious tradition, there have always been conflicting views of the story. What are the sources and contexts that generated these different readings and why does it matter that one should understand this history on interpretation?
Lecture 4: Job in Asia
As elsewhere in the world, there are many faces of Job in Asia, vast and culturally and religiously diverse. Job is mediated not only through centuries of Christian exegesis, but also through Islam, particularly on the question of unjust suffering. Job is featured not only in commentaries and theological writings, but also in literature, visual and performing arts, and music.
Professor Seow Choon Leong
Vanderbilt University Divinity School
Vanderbilt, Buffington, Cupples Chair in Divinity
Distinguished Professor of Hebrew Bible