Job the Pious? : the theological-ethical potential of Job 31 in contemporary Africa

Musa, Hassan (2014-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis concerns itself with the discussion of the piety of Job in the biblical book that bears his name in order to closely examine the motivation and potential of his piety in light of his oath of innocence in Job 31, so that we might respond to some crucial issues of life, primarily in African contexts. The background to this study in chapter one takes into consideration the lack of interest in studying Wisdom Literature in Africa, especially the Book of Job, except on an occasional basis that calls for discussions on suffering. We discovered that only a few African scholars have tried to explore some aspects of wisdom literature, which poses the challenge of providing other materials from the area of study to further enrich Old Testament biblical studies in Africa and beyond. Moreover, we also observed the separation of faith and ethics in African contexts, which further invites us to examine the life of Job in terms of what he believed and how that constituted his piety and related to his ethical life. This attempt also has as a point of interest the on-going quest of scholarship in the contemporary contexts in which theological-ethical questions with regard to wisdom theology, human dignity, gender equality, and prosperity theology, amongst other concerns seek decisive responses. Thus, the second chapter of this thesis explores some contributions in wisdom literature in order to see how scholars have contributed to the study of the wisdom concerns, especially regarding the theological-ethical possibilities. In doing this we also highlighted some ancient texts that carry the theme of ‘the innocent sufferer’ like the Book of Job. Accordingly, we also note how the question of Job’s piety in his declaration of innocence has almost been neglected by different scholars, which poses us the challenge of considering it as the golden thread of this thesis. In chapter three we provide a close reading of Job 31 in order to closely examine its textual details and interpretation that set the stage for the theological-ethical study of the same passage in chapter four, in which Job’s piety is used to respond to the issues we raised in chapter one and also pose some challenges that call for a reconsideration of faith and ethics in terms of practical reality and profitability which if done well, as reflected on in chapter five, would greatly improve our lives from personal to external and social dimensions.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis handel oor die bespreking van die vroomheid van Job in die Bybelse boek wat sy naam dra, om die motivering en potensiaal van sy vroomheid in die lig van sy eed van onskuld in Job 31 te ondersoek en hoofsaaklik te reageer op 'n paar belangrike kwessies van lewe in Afrika kontekste. Die agtergrond van hierdie studie in hoofstuk een, neem die gebrekkige belangstelling in die bestudering van Wysheidsliteratuur in Afrika, veral die Boek van Job, met die uitsondering van gesprekke aangaande lyding, in ag. Ons het ontdek dat slegs ‘n paar Afrika vakkundiges al probeer het om van die aspekte van wysheidsliteratuur te ondersoek wat die uitdaging bied om materiaal te vind binne hierdie studieveld om Ou-Testamentiese Bybelse studies in Afrika en verder te bevorde. Verder het ons ook die skeiding van geloof en etiek in die Afrika-konteks waargeneem, wat ons ook uitnooi om die lewe van Job in terme van wat hy geglo en hoe dit sy vroomheid gevorm het te ondersoek en in verband te bring met sy etiese lewe. Hierdie poging het ook as punt van belang om die voortgaande soektog na kundigheid in die hedendaagse konteks waarin teologies-etiese vrae onder andere in verband met wysheidsteologie, menswaardigheid, geslagsgelykheid, en voorspoedsteologie, vra na beslissende antwoorde. Dus ondersoek die tweede hoofstuk van hierdie tesis party bydraes tot die wysheidsliteratuur om te sien hoe vakkundiges bygedra het tot die wysheidsvrae, veral in verband met die teologies-etiese moontlikhede. Sodoende lig ons ook party antieke tekste uit wat die tema van ‘die onskuldige lyer‘ dra, soos die Boek van Job. So let ons ook op hoe die kwessie van Job se vroomheid in sy verklaring van onskuld verwaarloos is deur verskillende geleerdes, wat die uitdaging aan ons bied om dit te oorweeg as die goue draad van hierdie tesis. In hoofstuk drie bied ons 'n noukeurige lees van Job 31 om die tekstuele besonderhede en interpretasie noukeurig te ondersoek. Hierdie besonderhede baan die weg vir die teologies-etiese studie van dieselfde gedeelte in hoofstuk vier waarin Job se vroomheid gebruik word om te reageer op die kwessies wat ons reeds in hoofstuk een vind en ook ander uitdagings wat vra vir 'n heroorweging van geloof en etiek in terme van die praktiese werklikheid en nuttigheid wat, as dit goed gedoen word, soos in hoofstuk vyf weerspieël word, ‘n groot verbetering inhou vir baie van ons lewens, van persoonlike na eksterne en sosiale dimensies.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96017
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