The Book of Job : foundation for testimony in the writings of Gustavo Gutierrez, Elie Wiesel, Archibald Macleish and Carl Gustav Jung
This thesis seeks to illustrate that the classic biblical work on the problem of the innocent sufferer, the Book of Job, is still relevant in twentieth century, Western culture. The exegetical complexity of the Book of Job is outlined in order to show that the work lends itself to diverse interpretations and uses by readers outside the academic community. This thesis then focuses on the writings of Gustavo Gutierrez, a Peruvian Catholic priest, who uses the Book of Job to empower the people's revolt against dictatorships; Elie Wiesel, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor, who identifies himself with Job and believes that Job must still be arguing with God; Archibald MacLeish, an American poet, professor, and statesman, who creates a modern Job who eventually realizes that humans have only the love of other humans as a raison d'être for life; Carl Gustav Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, who believed that the Book of Job reflects an honest appraisal of the unconscious/God energy - a dualism which Christianity has suppressed much to its detriment. The four authors discussed are not 'critics'. Their use of the Book of Job is not exegetical in the standard sense of the text as object. To them it is a fundamental theme replete with a myriad of archetypal meanings. The conclusions reached are: The existential angst of the second half of the twentieth century is apparent in the work of these four writers. They chose the Book of Job because it provides a foundation for testimony about crucial world conditions. These four radically different individuals find a similar 'core meaning' in the Book of Job. Subjective interpretation of ancient texts can be useful in presenting controversial subjects to the general public.