Job's Body and the Dramatised Comedy of Moralising: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Job's Body and the Dramatised Comedy of Moralising

1st Edition

By Katherine E. Southwood


256 pages

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Hardback: 9780367462574
pub: 2020-08-11
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This book focuses on the expressions used to describe Job’s body in pain and on the reactions of his friends to explore the moral and social world reflected in the language and the values that their speeches betray.

A key contribution of this monograph is to highlight how the perspective of illness as retribution is powerfully refuted in Job’s speeches and, in particular, to show how this is achieved through comedy. Comedy in Job is a powerful weapon used to expose and ridicule the idea of retribution. Rejecting the approach of retrospective diagnosis, this monograph carefully analyses the expression of pain in Job focusing specifically on somatic language used in the deity-attack metaphors, in the deity-surveillance metaphors and in the language connected to the body and social status. These metaphors are analysed in a comparative way using research from medical anthropology and sociology which focuses on illness narratives and expressions of pain.

Job's Body and the Dramatised Comedy of Moralising will be of interest to anyone working on the Book of Job, as well as those with an interest in suffering and pain in the Hebrew Bible more broadly.

Table of Contents


1. Introduction and methods

2. Methinks the Job he doth Protest too Much

3. The Tyranny of Tradition

4. Pride comes before a Fool: Job’s loss of Social Status

5. Conclusion: Is the answer for Job blowin’ in the Wind?



About the Author

Katherine E. Southwood is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford, UK, and Tutorial Fellow in Theology and Religion and Fellow for Women at St. John's College, Oxford. She is author of Marriage by Capture in Judges 21: An Anthropological Approach (2017) and Ethnicity and the Mixed Marriage Crisis in Ezra 9-10: An Anthropological Approach (2012).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the Biblical World

Routledge Studies in the Biblical World publishes edited collections and monographs which explore the Hebrew Bible in its ancient context. The series encompasses all aspects of the world of the Hebrew bible, including its archaeological, historical, and theological context, as well as exploring cultural issues such as urbanism, literary culture, class, economics, and sexuality and gender. Aimed at biblical scholars and historians alike, Studies in the Biblical World is an invaluable resource for anyone researching the ancient Levant.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General