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Title: The testament of Job : text, narrative and reception history
Author: Haralambakis, Maria
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2009
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This dissertation provides a wide-ranging study of the Testament of Job dealing with a variety of issues. This pseudepigraphon, which according to scholarly consensus originated in a Jewish context between 2nd century BCE and 2nd century CE, has been preserved in several manuscripts. The oldest witness to the text is a fragmentary Coptic papyrus codex from the fourth century. This thesis makes use of its recent publication. The three Byzantine Greek manuscripts are well-known, but only three Slavonic manuscripts are generally mentioned in literature on the Testament of Job. In the process of working on this dissertation several more Church Slavonic manuscripts have been found, so that reference can be made to ten Slavonic manuscripts, five of which have been consulted. The approach to textual issues taken in this thesis emphasises the continuity of what has traditionally be separated into lower criticism (textual criticism) and higher criticism. Scribes can be perceived as participants in the history of reception of the text, rather than merely as sources of mistakes. Rather than working backwards, from the most recent manuscripts towards the construction of a hypothetical Ur- Text, I propose to work forwards, presenting the manuscripts from earliest to latest as a succession of witnesses to the text of the Testament of Job. Each manuscript is valuable as evidence of its contemporary world. Within that world the composition would have been perceived as a literary unity. The detailed analysis of the structure of the Testament of Job demonstrates that all the units are tightly connected. Although it does draw upon material known from the biblical Book of Job, the Testament of Job can be valued as a literary work in its own right, not only or mainly as an "interpretation" of the canonical composition. The most important characteristic of the Testament of Job is that it is a narrative. The narrative binds all the material (hymns, sayings, riddles, etc) collected by this composition. A generic label should thus include the term narrative, plus modifier to indicate what kind of narrative it is. The nature of the Testament of Job as a narrative makes it appropriate to apply a narratological analysis to it. This way narrative theory is used to demonstrate how the composition works as a well crafted appealing story. That the Testament of Job was considered appealing is evident from its reception history. The surviving manuscripts indicate that it was used in Byzantine and Slavonic Christian contexts. It seems that in these settings it came to be perceived as a story similar to a life of a saint.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available