The Book of Job in Medieval Jewish Philosophy
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The Book of Job in Medieval Jewish Philosophy

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This book analyzes the history of the interpretation of the book of Job by medieval Jewish exegetes. The scholarship on medieval Jewish thought has focused largely on the systematic philosophical aspects of this literature. Eisen, however, is concerned with exegesis qua exegesis. He offers a close examination of commentaries on Job written by six major thinkers: Saadiah Goan (882-942, Egypt and Babylon), Moses Maimonides (1138-1204, Spain and Egypt), Samuel ibn Tibbon (1160-1230, Provence), Zerahiah Hen (13th Century, Barcelona and Rome), Levi Gersonides (1288-1344, Provence), and Simeon ben Zeham Duran (1361-1444, Majorca and Algiers). Saadiah and Maimonides wrote in Arabic, the other four in Hebrew. Eisen looks at the relationship between the commentaries and their antecedent sources as well as their relationship to the broader context of medieval Jewish thought. He also provides an overview of the questions the commentators confronted about the historicity, national origin, and "Jewishness" of the text.
He argues that the commentaries on Job are linked in a coherent and evolving tradition of interpretation and he identifies various views of providence as the central concern of them all.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 337 pages
  • 152.4 x 238.8 x 27.9mm | 612.36g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195171535
  • 9780195171532
  • 2,077,264

Review quote

The Book of Job is a classic in Western literature, developing all the themes that perenially trouble us: providence, the origin of evil, the justice of God, and human suffering. There is no book comparable to Robert Eisen's The Book of Job in Medieval Jewish Philosophy, which seems strange since the Book of Job was so important to the thinking of medieval Jewish philosophy on precisely these questions. Analyzing the thought of six thinkers from Saadiah Gaon to Simon
ben Zemah Duran, Eisen carefully examines their commentaries and thinking on Job. He does a masterful job of bringing these important texts to light. This is an important book for anyone interested in medieval philosophy, the history of exegesis, and the major issues of suffering, God, and justice. * Susan E. Schreiner, The Divinity School, The University of Chicago *
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About Robert Eisen

Robert Eisen is Associate Professor of Religion and Judaic Studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He is the author of Gersonides on Providence, the Covenant, and the Chosen People: A Study in Medieval Jewish Philosophy and Biblical Commentary (1995).
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