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The Book of Job
November 4, 2006 4:16 AM   Subscribe

The Goon Bible Project Presents: The Book of Job (YouTube)
posted by Space Coyote (37 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Speaking as an atheist, I always liked the Book of Job. It's basically God and Satan having a bet on how much of a dick God can be to Job, Satan losing several times and each time going "double or nothing?" To which God is all like "Oh man, you are so on, dude!" Best book in the old testament, bar none.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:26 AM on November 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


Effigy2000's right. Job fucking rocks. There's so much spiteful, merciless egomania displayed by God in that book. Job's just fucked over again and again and again - he's like a once-loved pet beetle, legs pulled off, getting burned under a giant magnifying glass by a spoilt twelve-year-old.

I always find it hilarious that (some) Christians try to dismiss The Book of Job as "a story" but they treat the rest of the bible as fact.

I liked that this video was actually quiet accurate in its retelling of the bible story, but disappointed that it wasn't The Goons doing the bible.
posted by bunglin jones at 4:45 AM on November 4, 2006


Job is a story, a true story. It's one one my true favorite stories of the Old Testament because it teaches me to be accepting of my problems and imperfections and the imperfections of others.
posted by dropkick at 4:51 AM on November 4, 2006


=favorite true stories

(Just woke up)
posted by dropkick at 4:52 AM on November 4, 2006


Yep. The most blatant example of mythology in the Jewish Scriptures. (Not that fundies like to hear that.)

The Goon Bible Project has done a lot more, mostly in text but just as amusing. Head over to Something Awful and do a quick search to find them.
posted by PreacherTom at 5:50 AM on November 4, 2006


I've always hated the Book of Job because I thought the lesson was ruined by letting Job get all his stuff back.

Then I read Jack Miles' interpretation of it in "God: A Biography" in which he demonstrates that the Bible's precedent for clever wordplay means that the ending cannot be taken at the face value it currently is.

For example, the RSV has Job recanting by saying:

"I know that thou canst do all things,
and that no purpose of thine can be thwarted.
'Who is this that hides counsel
without knowledge?'
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
'Hear and I will speak:
I wil question you, and you declare to me'
I had heard of the by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee;
therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

Which God finds suitably humble and returns all his stuff. (Except the dead kids.)

Miles puts a lot of detail into why this passage should actually be translated in a compltely different way. After God thunders and fumes, Job has nothing to say but:

(paraphrased)

"You know you can do anything.
Nothing can stop you.
You ask, 'Who is this ignorant muddler?'
Well, I said more than I knew, wonders quite beyond me.
'You listen, and I'll talk,' you say,
'I'll question you, and you tell me.'
Word of you had reached my ears,
but now that my eyes have seen you,
I shudder with sorrow for mortal clay."

Job does what no man had ever done: he stands in judgment of God. God is so shamed by this judgment that he restores all of Job's health and wealth (but not the dead kids). And then from the end of the Book of Job to the end of the Tanakh, God is silent: he never speaks directly to humankind again.

And when he does surface, it's later, as Christ, a figure through which God can experience human suffering and attempt to redeem it. So it looks like the real lesson in all this was learned by God, not Job. So in this light,its actually my favorite Book.

Also, this video was pretty sweet.

(just woke up)
posted by hermitosis at 6:05 AM on November 4, 2006 [184 favorites]


Hermitosis, that's fantastic!
posted by furtive at 6:21 AM on November 4, 2006


Actually, Hermitosis, reading Miles' next book, "Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God" was the thing that let me really appreciate the bible for what it is - a wonderfully written work of literature; a tale of redemption in which the protagonist (god) spends a lot of time acting like a right cunt and then finds that being human is what's really needed to be divine. That's a very rough and overly simple reading of Miles' work, but, shit, I'm still drunk. And it still doesn't stop Job being a rollicking good read.
posted by bunglin jones at 6:22 AM on November 4, 2006 [2 favorites]


And then from the end of the Book of Job to the end of the Tanakh, God is silent: he never speaks directly to humankind again.

Hmm, that's really interesting. It certainly makes much more literary sense, but it doesn't do much for the argument that god is omnipotent and omniscient and perfect.
posted by delmoi at 6:36 AM on November 4, 2006


"C'mon!"
posted by jaronson at 6:52 AM on November 4, 2006


delmoi, Ezekiel sligs a little mud on that concept too:

Ezekiel 20:23-26

God: "Also with uplifted hand I swore to them in the desert that I would disperse them among the nations and scatter them through the countries, because they had not obeyed my laws but had rejected my decrees and desecrated my Sabbaths, and their eyes lusted after their fathers' idols. I also gave them statutes that were not good and laws they could not live by; I let them become defiled through their gifts - the sacrifice of every firstborn - that I might fill them with horror so they would know that I am the LORD."

God admits to giving them bad laws to follow on purpose as a punishment, including the law of sacrificing every firstborn. Oh God, you trickster you!

So let me see: every word of the Bible is the truth because it comes from God, yet within that book God admits to tricking humans into following false rules.

*brain explodes*
posted by hermitosis at 7:12 AM on November 4, 2006 [6 favorites]


Now that's the sort of thing I can really get into on a Saturday morning, thanks.
posted by taosbat at 7:12 AM on November 4, 2006


Her?
posted by cmicali at 7:13 AM on November 4, 2006


That's a heck of a Job.
posted by srboisvert at 7:15 AM on November 4, 2006


Heck of a Job.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:16 AM on November 4, 2006


Jinx.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:17 AM on November 4, 2006


I took a role in Archibald Macleish's "JB" and I'd much rather do the Goon version.
posted by moonbird at 7:17 AM on November 4, 2006


Job is deep. One of the biggest questions everyone asks, something that just frustrates even the mildest of us: why do shitty things happen to good peeps?

Too bad the Book gives such a crappy answer (probably tacked on, but that's what's there: "It was a bet." Boo-ya)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:25 AM on November 4, 2006


And when he does surface, it's later, as Christ,

no, this is misleading.

you say "Tanakh", which is of course the Jewish term for the Jewish form of what Christians call the "Old Testament", but Tanakh and Old Testament have a radically different structure, and this is a vital distinction esp. since you're mixing "Christ" into it.

The Torah/Pentateuch comes first, both in Tanakh and the OT. The similarities end here. Tanakh places the Prophets (Neviim) right after the Torah, then the Writings (Ketuvim) -- T-N-K, Tanakh. and God here does indeed stop speaking

The Christians, in the Old Testament, inverted the sequence. And they had to, because the prophets are used as seers of the future coming of Christ. Hence the Christian version of Tanakh, the Old Testament, so to speak should be named "Takhan".

And keep in mind the Christians put Matthew first in the New Testament, even if Mark is the oldest gospel for a reason: because Matthew begins with a genealogy. Hence by inverting the order of the Jewish canon and by putting Matthew first, the Christian canon actually manages to give some sort of sequential order to the narration.

this doesn't happen in Tanakh because of course in Judaism Jesus is at best just a misguided proto-reform rural rabbi, and at worse a false prophet (Maimonides has an interesting "centrist" approach to the Jewish interpretation of Jesus. Aka, you know, Yeshua Ben Yosef)

so, God's silence and his actual retreat -- he is last seen as the Ancient of Days in Daniel (part of the Ketuvim), with that chilling, stony silence.

that's the scariest moment, for me, in what we should probably describe in a neutral way as the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh and OT being, for different reasons, not very precise definitions)
posted by matteo at 7:42 AM on November 4, 2006 [8 favorites]


interesting.
what do you make of hermitosis' take on the book of job?
posted by nola at 7:54 AM on November 4, 2006


Didn't mean to sound like I was tacking the New Testament onto the Tanakh, matteo. Everything you said is correct and I didn't mean to mislead.

I'm just fascinated by the difference it makes when you take the Jewish ordering of the books and then look at the story of Christ. Because that chilly retreat following Job illustrates even more radically how different God seems to be when he emerges in the Christian gospels, and how everyone seems confused that he isn't the vengeful Messiah they'd been anticipating. I'd love to believe that God learned from his own torment of Job and that when he finally re-emerged amongst mankind, it was in an effort to demonstrate the results of this lesson and present a world-encompassing message of peace and love, at any cost. And then walked the walk his own self.

It just goes to show you how many completely different good stories you can make just by shuffling the chapters. Jack Miles has his reasons for taking on the Old Testament in Tanakh form, and his interpretation makes more sense to me than anything I've read-- Ithink everyone should check out his books (the Christ book that bunglin jones mentioned is just as fantastic).


The smart Christians are the ones who don't cling to the Bible as if it's a solid object. It is a fluid and slippery as bunglin's hangover. For the record, IANAC and also IANAJ.
posted by hermitosis at 9:02 AM on November 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


I Am Not A Job?
posted by matteo at 9:13 AM on November 4, 2006


The Goon Bible? I don't think so. Where was Eccles, Bluebottle, Bloodnok and Gryptyte-Thynne?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:32 AM on November 4, 2006


My cup boileth over.
posted by hermitosis at 9:37 AM on November 4, 2006


Jesus: You have deaded me, you rotten swine you! Eheu!

(Exits through cardboard and string angelic choir.)
posted by Grangousier at 9:39 AM on November 4, 2006 [1 favorite]


The other option is, of course, the Gnostic one.

Which is that the God of the Old Testiment, and the Father that Jesus speaks of, are two entirely different beings.

No character arcs, just later confusion that they're the same being.
posted by MythMaker at 10:28 AM on November 4, 2006


You're doing a heckuva Job, Yahwie.
posted by boaz at 10:37 AM on November 4, 2006



Job does what no man had ever done: he stands in judgment of God. God is so shamed by this judgment that he restores all of Job's health and wealth (but not the dead kids). And then from the end of the Book of Job to the end of the Tanakh, God is silent: he never speaks directly to humankind again.

And when he does surface, it's later, as Christ, a figure through which God can experience human suffering and attempt to redeem it. So it looks like the real lesson in all this was learned by God, not Job. So in this light,its actually my favorite Book.


I was raised Roman Catholic (i'm more agnostic now, but still), and I've struggled to understand the book of Job ever since I read it.

Thank you.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:43 AM on November 4, 2006


The smart Christians are the ones who don't cling to the Bible as if it's a solid object.

'bout time someone said that.
posted by katillathehun at 11:22 AM on November 4, 2006


I'd never thought that "Trading Places" may be inspired in the Bible, but then, as somebody who was raised a Catholic, my grip on the Old Testament was always sort of tenuous...Catholic priests and teachers somehow always seem to skip all the best bits and the Book of Job certainly wasn't anywhere near the top of their list of priorities.
posted by Skeptic at 11:49 AM on November 4, 2006


Good stuff, SC, but your timing's off. With Haggard, Foley (and even Doogie) in the recent news, the spotlight is squarely focused on the Book of Peter!
posted by rob511 at 2:05 PM on November 4, 2006


My SO tells me many textual scholars agree the 'happy ending' of the Book of Job was a later editorial addition.
posted by jamjam at 3:32 PM on November 4, 2006


Now this is one of the coolest religious discussions I think I've ever read/heard/whatevered.

The beautiful thing regarding Hermitosis' interpretation of Jack Miles' interpretation is that it completely turns on its head the conventional assumption made by many Christians that because God is eternal and omniscient, he is therefore incapable of changing, or making a mistake.

If absolute power corrupts absolutely, then God has got to be the most corrupt expletitive in the history of ..well, everything. However, we're like ants to Him so we're in no place to Judge.

Thomas Jefferson once said, "the serious enemies are the priests of the different religious sects." I'd be far more willing to walk around with Miles' interpretation of Job in my head than your average televangelist. However, in interests of equal time, here's a Cliff Notes version of the Catholic Viewpoint. Here's some interesting bits from Carl Jung by way of Joseph Campbell.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:13 PM on November 4, 2006


Good post, great discussion. Thank you!
posted by kosher_jenny at 4:33 PM on November 4, 2006


That was fantastic.

Am I the only one who wants to get a t-shirt in that old style font that says "Wanna fuck with Job? -God"
posted by quin at 5:51 PM on November 4, 2006


Comedy gold.
posted by LordSludge at 10:52 PM on November 4, 2006


What I always liked about the book was that Satan tricked God into punishing Job using the same tactics that Bugs Bunny uses to Elmer Fudd to do things.
posted by ignignokt at 12:29 AM on November 5, 2006


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