A historian of the ancient Mediterranean world exhumes a controversial poem from the story of Job to help reconcile God’s existence with global calamity.
A retired professor emboldened with age and stirred to action by recent natural disasters, Fisher translated and wrote this work to underscore the importance of dealing with suffering without resorting to fantasy. Because suffer Job did. Recall that the pious man had it all–seven sons, three daughters, a loving wife and his health, not to mention tens of thousands of livestock. Egged on by Satan, who questioned Job’s piety, God took it all away. Framed by Job’s debate with three God-fearing friends, The Rebel Job finds Job in the nadir of his despair, ranting against his very birth, the injustice of his situation and the notion of a just God. This is the second of what Fisher refers to as the two books of Job–Job I and Job II. Embraced by orthodox religious leaders and conservative politicians, the author argues, Job I advances the idea of a just God who rewards good and punishes evil. The latter rages against the concept of divine justice. Unlike the Old Testament Book of Job, this poem does not conclude with God overcompensating Job for his losses and granting him a 140-year lifespan. On the contrary–Fisher’s Job ends on a suitably agnostic note with the protagonist asking, â€œWho can know the thunder of his might?” The author points out that while we may not fully understand the nature of God, we must love and help the powerless. Thankfully, Fisher pads the 30-page poem with relevant philosophical references–to Nietzsche’s death of God concept, 20th-century works of Joseph Roth and Archibald MacLeish and a keen anecdote of how famous Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel decried God’s incapacity to stop Nazi death camps. It’s these keen references that make the book much more relevant and contemporary than it would have been on its own.
A short, obscure poem very relevant to the chaotic 21st century.