From one of our most trusted spiritual advisers, a thoughtful, illuminating guide to that most fascinating of biblical texts, the book of Job, and what it can teach us about living in a troubled world.
The story of Job is one of unjust things happening to a good man. Yet after losing everything, Job—though confused, angry, and questioning God—refuses to reject his faith, although he challenges some central aspects of it. Rabbi Harold S. Kushner examines the questions raised by Job’s experience, questions that have challenged wisdom seekers and worshippers for centuries. What kind of God permits such bad things to happen to good people? Why does God test loyal followers? Can a truly good God be all-powerful?
Rooted in the text, the critical tradition that surrounds it, and the author’s own profoundly moral thinking, Kushner’s study gives us the book of Job as a touchstone for our time. Taking lessons from historical and personal tragedy, Kushner teaches us about what can and cannot be controlled, about the power of faith when all seems dark, and about our ability to find God.
Rigorous and insightful yet deeply affecting, The Book of Job is balm for a distressed age—and Rabbi Kushner’s most important book since When Bad Things Happen to Good People.
About Harold S. Kushner
Harold S. Kushner is rabbi laureate of Temple Israel in the Boston suburb of Natick, Massachusetts. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he is the author of more than a dozen books on coping with life’s challenges, including, most recently, the best-selling Conquering Fear and Overcoming Life’s Disappointments.
Chapter by chapter, with homilies, asides, jokes and bits of his personal history, the author considers the familiar story of the good man, bereft of all that he values because of Satan’s challenge to God. In reviewing the three cycles of the poem in which friends fail to console or comfort Job, great theological debates proliferate. How should an innocent victim conduct himself? Is there really divine punishment and reward? Is there justice in Godly governance? As the dispute with the Almighty escalates, meaning becomes less certain, more inscrutable. Even the identity of a speaker becomes uncertain. Some difficulties with the Book of Job stem simply from its distance from our time, the subject matter or the language. Many words are unique. (Feminists will note that Kushner consistently refers to the Creator with masculine pronouns). The author marshals brief commentary from such authorities as Maimonides, Spinoza, Heschel and MacLeish. Perhaps Kushner, a generation after his most famous book, follows mainstream rabbinic theosophy more than he once did. He offers the belief that, fixed by the Creator, there is free will for humanity; nature, too, follows its own laws fixed by God. Thus, there exists the possibility of change and goodness—and maybe that’s why bad things happen. – Kirkus Reviews
“The Book of Job: When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person” by Harold S. Kushner
The Washington Post Book Review – October 13, 2012 (Excerpt)
In 1977, Harold S. Kushner’s son died of progeria — rapid aging syndrome — at age 14. A few years later, Kushner published “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” a bestseller that helped parents who had lost children to wrestle with life’s unfairness. In “The Book of Job,” the rabbi and biblical scholar re-examines one of the Old Testament’s more horrible stories, that of a man of faith whom, in a plot straight out of horror flicks such as “The Exorcist” or “The Strangers,” God tortures to settle a bet with the devil.
“The book of Job is a full-length argument about whether the misfortunes that befall ostensibly good people come to them from the hand of God,” Kushner writes. “If we want to believe that ours is a moral world, the scene of justice and fairness, we need to confront the arguments presented in what is probably the most challenging book in the entire Bible.” [Read the full article...]
THE BLEEDING HILLS A Novel by Wilfried F. Voss
I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy iv. 7
The Irish War is officially a part of history, but not for Finnean Whelan, an IRA veteran of almost 40 years. British Intelligence has produced evidence that he is the mastermind behind a conspiracy to assassinate the First Minister of Northern Ireland. For Whelan this is not only a mission of revenge, but marks the beginning of a journey into the past and the return to the one true love: Ireland. [More...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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