The Book of Job in Rabbinic thought
In the opening chapter of this dissertation, some solutions are offered for the problems arising from the confused and contradictory traditions relating to Job in talmudic-midrashic literature. In successive chapters, the aggadic exegesis of the Book of Job is analysed and evaluated in detail, in order to demonstrate that it was profoundly influenced by traditional views relating to the book's authorship and historical setting. The early tradition that Moses himself was the author of the Book of Job suggested that it shared a special relationship with the Pentateuch, which is presupposed by the Rabbis' consistent use of material from well-defined sections of the book in their expositions and homilies on many aspects of the creation of the world, the corruption of the Generation of the Flood and their ultimate annihilation, and the mythical monsters, to which only a passing allusion is made in the Genesis account of the creation, The aggadic interpretation of the book was influenced further by a tradition of high antiquity, that Job was actually a contemporary of the bondage and the exodus. Consequently, numerous utterances by Job and his companions were treated as allusions to events and personalities involved in Israel's early history as a nation. In the final chapter, the aggadic content of the Targum to Job is re-examined in order to show its conformity with the rabbinic interpretation of the book, and the antiquity of certain traditions preserved in the extant text of the Targum, which may shed some light on the question of the relationship between the existing Targum and the ancient text current in the First Century CE.