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The Concentric Structure of the Wisdom Poem in Job 28

Henderson, R. (2018) The Concentric Structure of the Wisdom Poem in Job 28. Journal of Ancient Judaism, 9 (1). pp. 26-45.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.30965/21967954-00901003
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Abstract

The enigmatic wisdom poem of Job 28:1–28 stands apart from the rest of the book of Job in style and structure. Most read this poem in linear progression as three strophes (vv. 1–11; 15–19; 23–28) with an intervening refrain (vv. 12–14; 20–22). In this study, it is suggested that the poem has been presented in the form of a concentric or compositional ring structure, which juxtaposes arguments rather than presenting them in a linear fashion. According to this structure there are five compositional units, the centre of which holds the main point of the text (A, B, C, B1, A1). A central section (C vv. 15–19), maintains the traditional view of the supreme value of wisdom. The central unit is surrounded by two inner parallel sections each beginning with a rhetorical question concerning the location of wisdom (Sections B vv. 12–14 and B1 vv. 20–22), and two outer sections (A vv. 1–11 and A1 vv. 23–28) in which two contrasting ways of acquiring wisdom are presented: by independent human effort presented in the form of a mining metaphor (A vv. 1–11); or by contemplation of God’s omnipotent creative power and reverence for Him resulting in right behaviour (A1). Each of the major units also follows a concentric pattern.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Brill
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/62978
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