The book of Job is a vivid testimony to pain, a plea for justice, and a wrenching theological debate about suffering and its causes. Central to this debate are questions about the roles that God and humans play in causing human suffering and whether divine-human relationships can proceed in the midst of overwhelming anguish. Like a riddle, the text grasps readers' minds and emotions, inviting them to participate in Job's story and to work toward their own solution to the dilemmas of both Job and his friends.
Kathleen M. O'Connor is author of several books including The Wisdom Literature (Liturgical Press, 1990), Jeremiah: Pain and Promise, and Lamentations and the Tears of the World. She is the William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament, emerita, at Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia, and also taught at the Maryknoll School of Theology in Ossining, New York. She is active in the Catholic Biblical Association of America and the Society of Biblical Literature.
This work constitutes an important contribution to the landscape of historiographical research concerning the relationship of women to Christian worship and their experience of liturgy.
Kathleen O'Connor has captured the pathos of Job's dilemma as she treats the passionate poetry of the book with insight and sensitivity. She carefully sketches Job's encounter with God which takes place at the intersection of Job's own experience of chaos and God's revelation of an ordered universe. Pointing out the depth of meaning found in this biblical book, she provides various ways it might be understood and appreciated by the reader.
Dianne Bergant, CSA, Professor of Old Testament Studies, Catholic Theological Union
In this volume the Old Testament biblical scholar Kathleen O'Connor synthesizes and condenses a plethora of scholarship, including her own former publications, on the biblical book of Job. She brings together insights that lay bare the richness and complexity of the book. She does not run away from Job's pain or the rigidity and insensitivity of his friends but neither does she let God off the hook. She allows a difficult Hebrew text to speak in its own time and also in our time. Readers will acquire a greater understanding of this biblical classic even as not all of their questions are answered.
Alice L. Laffey, Professor of Old Testament, Department of Religious Studies, College of the Holy Cross
Kathleen O'Connor has produced a beautiful guide to Job's pain and plea for justice. O'Connor gracefully leads readers through the book of Job's presentation of his suffering along with the various responses to his condition offered by the other characters. Even with the appearance of God in the whirlwind, the book's ending provides no easy answer; God is present yet in an unfamiliar way. O'Connor's moving presentation will draw readers into Job's experience and provide them with a deep, thoughtful resource for reflecting on their own questions of suffering and justice. Clear and accessible, O'Connor's work on Job is inspiring. A wonderful achievement.
Mark S. Smith, Professor of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, New York University
Job is among the most intriguing books of the Bible, dealing with issues that every believer faces. Kathleen O'Connor guides readers through Job with theological insight born of her faith and experience.
Leslie J. Hoppe, OFM, Professor of Old Testament Studies, Catholic Theological Union
Capturing the power and mystique of the book of Job, Kathleen O'Connor eloquently takes us into the world of pain, suffering, beauty, and wonder that human beings experience in the midst of the human condition. O'Connor unpacks the complicated lives of the text's characters, their relationships with each other and their theologies, while inviting her readers into the mystery of God. Through her study, O'Connor brilliantly shows us how pain, suffering, and struggle can transform us, opening us up to our oneness with all life and the creativity and fecundity of God.
Carol J. Dempsey, OP, Professor of Theology (Biblical Studies), University of Portland
. . . splendid, careful, theologically and historically insightful writing. . .
New Theology Review
O'Connor turns her deep spirituality and incisive language to the host of unsolvable but stimulating and absorbing issues of the Book of Job, deftly helping readers to engage the profound mystery of this biblical book.
Barbara Greene, OP, Professor of Biblical Studies, Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley
. . . an important contribution towards the recognition of women's liturgical studies as a distinct discipline.
Yearbook of the European Society of Women in Theological Research