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110 SHOFAR rising up from the earth like a god, we see also the idolatrous effect of kings on Israel. Eli died; Saul died; the monarchy died! Samuel and the Deuteronomist is highly recommended as not only a study of Israel's history but also a study of a contemporary scholar's view of the development of the text of the Bible as it now exists in final form. Again, the view of the author is not only of probing through the underbrush but one of flying above the forest and getting a view from that vantage point of the book of I Samuel. This commentary should prove itself of value to the scholar and to the competent novice as well. E. Herbert Nygren Department of Biblical Studies Taylor University The Book of Theodicy: Translation and Commentary on the Book of Job, by Saadiah Ben Joseph AI-Fayyumi, edited by Lenn E. Goodman. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988. 498 pp. Some years ago Baker Book House published a study of Job authored by me, called The Book ofJob: God's Answer to the Problem of Undese1Ved Suffering , in which I followed very closely the stream of the argument as it was carried on between Job and his three would-be counselors. What amazes me is that Saadiah came out to nearly the same three factors to which my own attention was drawn in the handling of this difficult paradox. Why did God permit such devastating disasters to overcome a faithful servant of His, whose wisdom, righteousness, kindness and love had served as a model to his entire community? What profit, then, is to be found in a godly life? Saadiah adduces three significant grounds for the Almighty to deal in this fashion with the choicest of His followers. On p. 125 he cites them as follows : (1) the purpose of discipline and instruction, which ultimately works out for the good of the sufferer himself; (2) the purpose of purgation and punishment, for a believer who has sinned is turned back to repentance and renewed righteousness after he has endured such benevolent chastening; (3) the purpose of trial and testing, for his final reward will be all the greater if he steadfastly endures his tribulation, without bitterness towards God. (In my own analysis I saw as the third factor that God in His omniscience is moved by considerations of eternity far beyond our finite human understanding. Nevertheless, through it, He works all things together for good to those who love Him.) A more adequate survey of the insights contained in this discussion would go far beyond the limits of a short review. I must therefore pass on to Volume 9, No.1 Fall1990 111 Saadiah's treatment of the famous resurrection passage in chapter 19. He renders v. 25: "I know that the favored of God will survive" (the Hebrew text can only mean: "I know that my Redeemer lives") "and others after them will rise upon the soil" (the Hebrew is clearly: "and at the last He will stand upon the earth" ). Verse 26 he interprets as "And after my skin is corrupted, they will gather around this story of mine." This is a very strange way of rendering the Hebrew, which clearly means, "Yet from my flesh I shall see God." It is difficult to imagine why a rabbi so learned and accomplished as Saadiah could have maltreated this glorious passage in such a cavalier manner , even wiping out the name of God Himself in his desire to eliminate the clear statement of beyond-the-grave resurrection and confrontation with God. Dr. Goodman does his best to explain in a footnote the practice of free substitution of pronouns observable in Jewish liturgy. But he fails to cite any example which so completely perverts the sense and writes an entirely different text from that of the Tenach as it has been handed down to us by the Sopherim and the Massoretes. Despite this deviation from objective scholarship, I find in Saadiah a very perceptive analyst of the true teaching and message of the book of Job. I feel that tne work is of major importance for study, and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 110-111
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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