Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)

Schools and Centres

Philosophy and Theology

First Supervisor

Dr Elizabeth Boase


The overarching problem concerning the unity of the book of Job is its conflicting juxtaposition of Job’s character. In the prose frame, Job does not charge God with any wrongdoing despite the afflictions against him and is acknowledged by God for his piety whereas in the dialogue, Job responses with words of accusation against God for his trouble and for mismanaging the affairs of the world according to the orthodoxy of reward and punishment. Various methodological approaches, ranging from the synchronic to the diachronic, have been advanced to account for the dissonance, however, to date, no attempt has been made to approach the problematic from the perspective of ritual even though rituals recur at critical junctures of the book and within a tight relational sequence of event-ritual-response-verdict. This dissertation will demonstrate how ritual can account for Job’s dialectical responses and hence his mood swing between the turn of prose and poetry. It will be argued, in conjunction with the findings from a socio-historical analysis of the rituals in Job, that the mourning ritual action by Job’s three friends is responsible for Job’s outburst in chapter 3 leading to his defiant defence against the accusations by the friends that his misfortune is the consequence of sin and his indictment against YHWH. Concerning Job’s final turnabout in the epilogue, it will be argued that Job, relieved by the theophany of YHWH, expresses in 42:6 his readiness to repudiate and be comforted of the mourning posture imposed on him by his three friends.

A Dissertation Submitted, by Lawrence Pang, in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements of Degree of Master of Theology

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