Friday, January 28, 2011

Job vs. Psalms

Moving on to Psalms … One of the first things that strikes me is that Job and Psalms are definitely not painted with the same brush. The very first Psalm says: whatever the good person does will prosper; the wicked are like chaff the wind blows away.

Of course, there are many Psalms and many different viewpoints. Theology isn't a strong suit here, or at least not the main point: the Psalms mainly seem to exist to comfort the afflicted (as opposed to afflicting the comfortable, as with Job). With such a wide-ranging collection, it wouldn't be a surprise to find some contradictions. But so far, among the ones I've read, none of them challenges the conventional wisdom set forth in the first one.

The juxtaposition with Job is interesting. In the Christian canon, Job comes first; in the Jewish canon, it usually comes after Psalms and Proverbs. In either case, the easy moral formula of one is undercut by the hard-edged view of What Is of the other. The only thing they agree on is that God is great beyond comprehension.

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