When Was Job Written?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Dr. Bob, Dec 28, 2001.

  1. Dr. Bob

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    When did the events of Job occur - only those who believe they actually DID occur need reply?

    When did the book of Job get written and accepted into Hebrew OT canon?
     
  2. John Wells

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    Some scholars believe this book was written before any other book of the Old Testament—even before the Pentateuch. But most conservative Bible experts think it was written during the reign of King Solomon. A few scholars have taken the position that it may have been written by Moses. Others have suggested that the patriarch Job himself may have written this account of his experiences. But these theories have no solid evidence to support them. The only thing we can say for certain is that the book was written by an unknown author. The exact date of the book’s writing is still a mystery. Some believe its unknown author put it in writing as late as the second century b.c. Others insist it must have been written about 450 b.c., long after the Jews returned from the Captivity in Babylonia. But many conservative scholars assign the writing of the book to the time of King Solomon, about 950 b.c. Historical evidence favors this date, since this was the golden age of biblical Wisdom Literature. Ezekiel (who wrote around 600 BC) mentions Job in 14:14. Some scholars claim it is dated to b.c. 2000–1800. If by Moses, it was probably written during his sojourn in Midian.

    [ December 28, 2001: Message edited by: John Wells ]
     
  3. Pastor Larry

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    I am amending my previous statements. Upon further review, my memory had failed me and I was conflating several things. The events of Job are almost certainly during the patriarchal period. The writing was probably either Mosaic or Solomonic.

    [ December 28, 2001: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  4. Helen

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    There are a few other indications that Job was written VERY early.

    1. His age. He raised two complete families and died 140 years after his testing (Job 42:16) aged 248 (LXX). This puts him in the age range of Peleg, who may very well have been his uncle if Job is the Jobab of Gen. 10:29-30.

    2. Job's wealth is listed as measured in livestock and possessions, not money. This would also mark him as ancient.

    3. The events recorded in Job were probably events he was familiar with. This would include the post-Flood ice age (38:29-30), cave men (24:4-10; 30:1-8), and the violent aftermath of the Flood which included the volcanism and windstorms which, along with raiding parties, decimated Job's first family and possessions.

    There are other evidences, including reference to the Chaldeans as one of the raiding parties.
     
  5. Pastor Larry

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    In response to BW's post in the thread that Bob closed:

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Why is it considered early until proven late? Should it not be considered late until proven early?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    It is not considered early until proven late. The evidence points to an early composition. It is considered early because the evidence points to an early date of authorship.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>By that logic, Ruth wouldn't have been accepted either, and it is also a late composition, apparently in opposition to the marriage reforms of Ezra & Nehemiah. Ruth and Job are part of the "writings", the last stage of canonization behind the Law and Prophets, which argues for a late date of composition.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    False. Ruth is not known to be late; it likewise is disputed. Read Hubbard (NICNT) for a discussion of the dating problems. The pre-exilic date for Ruth has a number of strengths and the post-exilic date has a number of weaknesses. As for the purpose, it is disputed on very solid grounds that it opposes marriage reforms. Again, see Hubbard for a discussion on this. He also addresses the issue of its place in the canon. I am sure that others address it as well; Hubbard happens to be a very good one and one that I have at easy reach here on my shelf.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>And how many in the pre-exilic writings? None.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    There are eleven in the pre-exilic writings, all in the book of Job. You cannot assume your conclusion and pretend that it is proven. Likewise, you say, I cannot (which is just what I have done). My point is to say that there are three uses of Satan as a proper name. That is simply not enough to make a case on.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>And when was the order of the Syriac version put together? How does that trump its exclusion from the Law and Prophets? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The age of the Syriac is not the issue. The issue is the grouping of Job with obviously pre-exilic writings. They, very early compared to us, apparently understood it to be Mosaic or at least very early. It is doubtful that were it late, they would have included it with early writings.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>And yet, the book of Proverbs, as we have it today, cannot be older than Hezekiah (25:1) and as a whole is probably post-exilic. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    The material itself and its primary composition is Solomonic. That is not disputed.
     
  6. Dr. Bob

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    Was Job a real person, living pre-Abraham, or a post-exilic fictional character of a saga?<UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>The Bible says he was real, in a matter-of-fact manner in Job 1:1 (look at the parallel to I Sam. 1:1 as another factual case)<LI>His historicity is confirmed in other Scriptures - Ez. 14:14 links him with Noah and Daniel. Was God deceived about these men?<LI>Accounts of YHWH and satan in conflict are no more unreasonable to accept than Jesus similar confrontations with satan in His temptation<LI>Many Aramaic terms are included in Job, reflecting an era contemporary with Laban (Gen 35) who also spoke that language<LI>More than 25 instances of Arabic words are found in the speech of Elihu. Since the setting of Job is northern Arabia, these local dialect introduction of words is entirely fitting<LI>James 5:11 recognizes Job as a person to whom God was merciful and compassionate - hardly a "fictional" character.[/list]
     
  7. HankD

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    RE: Dr Bob and Ezekiel:

    According to the Encyclopedia Judaica RE: The prophet Ezekiel:

    The prophet was thus active at least between July 593 B.C. and April 571 B.C., although the bulk of his oracles are dated to the relatively brief period between his call and the arrival of the first Jewish exiles in Babylon (January 585 B.C.), not long after the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem.

    Ezekiel 14:14 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.

    Ezekiel 14:20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

    So Job was known to Ezekiel around 600BC and grouped by Ezekiel with one of antiquity (Noah) and one of renown (Daniel).

    HankD
     
  8. BWSmith

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    Wells wrote:
    &gt; Some scholars believe this book was written before any other book of the Old Testament—even before the Pentateuch. But most conservative Bible experts think it was written during the reign of King Solomon. A few scholars have taken the position that it may have been written by Moses. Others have suggested that the patriarch Job himself may have written this account of his experiences. But these theories have no solid evidence to support them.

    Amen!

    &gt; The only thing we can say for certain is that the book was written by an unknown author. The exact date of the book’s writing is still a mystery. Some believe its unknown author put it in writing as late as the second century b.c.

    That can't be, because Jeshua Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus) 49:9 refers to it. Sira, showing knowledge of Simon ben Onias's fortifications and no knowledge of Onias III's loss of the priestly office, is therefore dated between 198 and 174 BCE, so Job must be 3rd century BCE or older.

    &gt; Others insist it must have been written about 450 b.c., long after the Jews returned from the Captivity in Babylonia. But many conservative scholars assign the writing of the book to the time of King Solomon, about 950 b.c. Historical evidence favors this date, since this was the golden age of biblical Wisdom Literature.

    A distinction is due for the separate origins of the basic prose story of Job and the poetic material it wrappers.

    &gt; Ezekiel (who wrote around 600 BC) mentions Job in 14:14.

    Gerald Larue writes in his commentary on Ezekiel:

    "The integrity of the book has been challenged, with one scholar limiting authentic Ezekiel passages to some 170 verses, and others accepting almost the whole book as genuine or attempting to identify larger sections containing an Ezekiel core. The book has been classified as a third century, pseudonymous story about a priest in the time of Manasseh, which was later edited to provide the Babylonian setting—in which case there would have been no such person as Ezekiel. It has also been dated in the time of Manasseh and identified as a northern Israelite work, later edited by someone from Judah and given a Babylonian setting. Most scholars accept a sixth century date but recognize that the book was carefully edited, perhaps by the prophet's disciples, so that it is, therefore, very difficult to isolate genuine Ezekiel materials."

    &gt; Some scholars claim it is dated to b.c. 2000–1800. If by Moses, it was probably written during his sojourn in Midian.

    Gerald Larue writes in his commentary on Job:

    "Attempts to date the book precisely by clues found within have not been successful and suggestions have ranged from the patriarchal to post-Exilic periods. It now appears that to a pre-Exilic prose story poetic dialogues were added so skillfully that the relationship between the two parts is much closer than appears on the surface. It is generally held that the prose prologue and epilogue, reflecting folktale style and the smoothness of a tale often repeated, circulated independently. Here the deity is known by the familiar titles Elohim and Yahweh. The dialogue portions are quite distinctive in style and content and use the terms El, Eloah, Elohim and Shaddai in reference to the deity. Some portions of the dialogue appear to be intrusive. A new figure, Elihu, is introduced without warning, accompanied by a literary style change (chs. 32-37). A hymn on wisdom interrupts a Joban soliloquy and presents ideas not in harmony with those of Job and his friends (ch. 28). It would appear that the book of Job, like so many other biblical writings, was subjected to continuing or progressive interpretation after the original writer had completed his work. Careful analysis of the text suggests that Job was probably composed during the sixth century by a writer who utilized a well-known prose folktale, possibly of Edomitic origin, and added poetic dialogue, perhaps of his own composition."
     
  9. BWSmith

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    Helen wrote:
    &gt; 1. His age. He raised two complete families and died 140 years after his testing (Job 42:16) aged 248 (LXX). This puts him in the age range of Peleg, who may very well have been his uncle if Job is the Jobab of Gen. 10:29-30.

    Since the chronology of the Pentateuch was added in the post-exilic times, this would imply that the references to his age are also post-exilic.

    &gt; 2. Job's wealth is listed as measured in livestock and possessions, not money. This would also mark him as ancient.

    Mark HIM as ancient, not the book itself.

    &gt; 3. The events recorded in Job were probably events he was familiar with. This would include the post-Flood ice age (38:29-30), cave men (24:4-10; 30:1-8), and the violent aftermath of the Flood which included the volcanism and windstorms which, along with raiding parties, decimated Job's first family and possessions.

    If Job was from Uz, would he not have been an Edomite (Lam 4:21), and therefore a descendant of Esau?

    &gt; There are other evidences, including reference to the Chaldeans as one of the raiding parties.

    If Uz was to the east or southeast of Edom, then raiding Chaldeans would have come from the region of Ur, and it is only appropriate to speak of ethnic Chaldeans in association with southern Mesopotamia from the 8th century or later.
     
  10. BWSmith

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    PL wrote:
    &gt; There are eleven in the pre-exilic writings, all in the book of Job.

    And yet, I've given an example where a mention of Satan in post-exilic Chronicles does not have a mention in the parallel in exilic Kings. There is no mention anywhere in the Law or Former Prophets. Why?

    &gt; You cannot assume your conclusion and pretend that it is proven.

    In addition, it is circular reasoning to say that 1) Satan is not a post-exilic concept because Job mentions it and 2) the mention of Satan does not make Job post-exilic. There are no mentions of Satan in pre-exilic writings outside of Job.

    &gt; The age of the Syriac is not the issue. The issue is the grouping of Job with obviously pre-exilic writings.

    And yet, everyone else, including Judea, grouped it separately.

    &gt; They, very early compared to us, apparently understood it to be Mosaic or at least very early.

    Which is explainable due to the age of the subject, not the age of the writing itself. By a similar criterion, the LXX placed Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah after Kings and Ruth after Judges even though they are not from similar timeframes.

    &gt; It is doubtful that were it late, they would have included it with early writings.

    It is doubtful that the Syrians had any idea when it was written.

    &gt; The material itself (of Proverbs) and its primary composition is Solomonic. That is not disputed.

    And no wisdom writing occurred in Judah after the time of Hezekiah? Again, the distinction must be made between the date of the material in the book and the final form of the book itself.
     
  11. BWSmith

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    Dr. Bob writes:

    &gt; Was Job a real person, living pre-Abraham, or a post-exilic fictional character of a saga?

    Probably the latter, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

    &gt; His historicity is confirmed in other Scriptures - Ez. 14:14 links him with Noah and Daniel. Was God deceived about these men?

    The question is not for God but for Ezekiel (or should I say, the writer of Ezekiel).

    &gt; Accounts of YHWH and satan in conflict are no more unreasonable to accept than Jesus similar confrontations with satan in His temptation

    Although significant in the development of God's revelation to us. Apparently, the reality of Satan was not revealed until the Persian period.

    &gt; Many Aramaic terms are included in Job, reflecting an era contemporary with Laban (Gen 35) who also spoke that language

    Or reflecting the general shift in the vernacular to Aramaic that occurred in the post-exilic period and is seen most dramatically in the linguistic dichotomy of Daniel.

    &gt; More than 25 instances of Arabic words are found in the speech of Elihu. Since the setting of Job is northern Arabia, these local dialect introduction of words is entirely fitting

    The Elihu section (Job 32-37) was probably an insertion into the original poem to build a bridge between Job's challenge and God's response.
     
  12. Helen

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    Smith, you remind me of Thomas Jefferson in a way. Wasn't it he who decided to delete all the parts of the Bible he didn't agree with and actually did have a few pages left at the end?

    One thing you are demonstrating very clearly, however, is that when you decide part of the Bible is 'allegorical' or 'mythical' the problems of what to 'accept' become compounded again and again, as the Bible has this nasty tendencey to stick together as a whole, unified piece.
     
  13. BWSmith

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    Helen wrote:
    &gt; Smith, you remind me of Thomas Jefferson in a way. Wasn't it he who decided to delete all the parts of the Bible he didn't agree with and actually did have a few pages left at the end?

    Funny, I wasn't aware that arguing for a late Job was tantamount to throwing it out.

    &gt; One thing you are demonstrating very clearly, however, is that when you decide part of the Bible is 'allegorical' or 'mythical' the problems of what to 'accept' become compounded again and again,

    I accept it all and I accept it on its own terms, not the terms that I would like to force on it.

    &gt; as the Bible has this nasty tendency to stick together as a whole, unified piece.

    And yet, nowhere in that whole, unified Primary History from Gen-Kings is there a reference to Job, so that we would have an inkling of where it fits in the scheme. Why is that, I wonder?
     
  14. HankD

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    BW,

    &lt;&lt;,so that it is, therefore, very difficult to isolate genuine Ezekiel materials."&gt;&gt;

    Is this your position and if so are you of the mind that Ezekiel 14:14;20 is not inspired Scripture?

    HankD
     
  15. BWSmith

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    &gt; Is this your position and if so are you of the mind that Ezekiel 14:14;20 is not inspired Scripture?

    Yes, it is. However, all scripture is inspired and useful for training in righteousness. That being said, Ezekiel 14 doesn't have to all be from Ezekiel to be from God. The final form of the text is the way that God wants it.
     
  16. HankD

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    Dear BW,

    That's an interesting position.

    I've heard a similar position in reference to Moses. Either he wrote his own obituary before hand or someone else added it later.

    I would however disagree about the verses in question and opt to attribute the passages to Ezekiel.

    There is also the fact that Job doesn't make reference to the Law indicating an early date.

    HankD
     
  17. BWSmith

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    Not making reference to the Law trumps references to Satan and Chaldeans for determining age? Why would Job, a non-Hebrew, refer to the Law?
     
  18. ATeenageChristian

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    I believe it was written before Abraham sometime. I am not sure on that though. I read my moms Rainbow Study Bible and it said that Job was written awhile back(duh!) though I don't remember when exactly.
     
  19. HankD

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    &lt;&lt;Why would Job, a non-Hebrew, refer to the Law&gt;&gt;

    Because he was "perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil".

    It seems to me that a gentile who lived during the mosaic covenant and was described as he is above who also knew several of the Hebrew names of God (including YHWH) would know something of His Law if it existed at the time.

    HankD
     
  20. HankD

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    From several sources found in The Libronix Digital Library System (Logos):

    Most of these were either mentioned already or alluded to, but here is the summary:

    Views on the time when Job lived range all the way from the Patriarchal Age (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—approximately 2100 to 1900 B.C.) to the sixth century B.C. Several factors point to the time of the patriarchs:
    1. Job lived 140 years after his calamities (42:16) so he may have lived to about 210. This corresponds roughly to the length of the patriarchs’ lives. Terah, Abraham’s father, died at the age of 205; Abraham lived to be 175; Isaac lived 180 years; and Jacob died at the age of 147.
    2. Job’s wealth was reckoned in livestock (1:3; 42:12), which was also true of Abraham (Gen. 12:16; 13:2), and Jacob (Gen. 30:43; 32:5).
    3. The Sabeans and Chaldeans (Job 1:15, 17) were nomads in Abraham’s time, but in later years they were not nomadic.
    4. The Hebrew word "qsitah", translated ”piece of silver/money“ (42:11), is used elsewhere only twice (Gen. 33:19; Josh. 24:32), both times in reference to Jacob.
    5. Job’s daughters were heirs of his estate along with their brothers (Job 42:15). This, however, was not possible later under the Mosaic Law if a daughter’s brothers were still living (Num. 27:8).
    6. Literary works similar in some ways to the Book of Job were written in Egypt and Mesopotamia around the time of the patriarchs.
    7. The book of Job includes no references to the Mosaic institutions (priesthood, laws, tabernacle, special religious days and feasts).
    8. The name "sadday" is used of God 31 times in Job (compared with only 17 times elsewhere in the OT) and was a name familiar to the patriarchs (see comments on Gen. 17:1; also cf. Ex. 6:3).
    9. Several personal and place names in the book were also associated with the patriarchal period. Examples include (a) Sheba, a grandson of Abraham (Gen. 25:3), and the Sabeans from Sheba (Job 1:15; 6:19); (b) Tema, another grandson of Abraham (Gen. 25:15), and Tema, a location in Arabia (Job 6:19); (c) Eliphaz, a son of Esau (Gen. 36:4), and Eliphaz, one of Job’s companions (Job 2:11; these two Eliphazes, however, are not necessarily the same person); (d) Uz, a nephew of Abraham (Gen. 22:21), and Uz, where Job lived (Job 1:1). Though it cannot be stated with certainty, possibly Job lived in Jacob’s time or shortly thereafter.
    Job was a common West Semitic name in the second millennium B.C. Job was also the name of a 19th-century-B.C. prince in the Egyptian Execration texts. Other occurrences of the name are found in the Tell el-Amarna letters (ca. 1400 B.C.) and in Ugaritic texts.

    As other evidences, for whatever its worth: the Early Church Fathers (the ones I have checked so far Origen, Cyprian, Clement) date the book at various early dates (pre-law), the Apostolic Constitutions stating that Job was written "before the Law, under the Law of Nature".

    Personally, I'm not sure what if anything is gained by ascertaining the date and author of Book of Job, though it is/was an enjoyable exercise.

    Again, personally, I feel that the evidences above outweigh the proper name of "Satan" (adversary) evidence for a late date.

    HankD

    [ December 29, 2001: Message edited by: HankD ]
     

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