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Title: The Metaphor of Criminal Charge as a Paradigm for the Conflict between Job and His Friends
Author(s): SHVEKA, Avi , VAN HECKE, Pierre
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 90    Issue: 1   Date: 2014   
Pages: 99-119
DOI: 10.2143/ETL.90.1.3025880

Abstract :
In his third and last speech, Eliphaz straightforwardly charges Job with a series of crimes (22,5-9). Scholars have hitherto failed to recognize the full significance of this passage. Filing an accusation against someone is not a mere expression of opinion but a performative act, which in the Ancient Near East had more severe consequences than today. By filing this charge the debate between Job and his friends is transformed into a legal conflict between them, a change which has far-reaching implications for the course of the narrative of the book. In this paper, we show that the recognition of an ongoing litigation between Job and his friends allows for a better understanding of a number of cruces interpretum that hitherto have not received a satisfactory explanation. We discuss in detail four passages: 21,27; 27,5-7; 32,3; 42,7-8. Each of these pericopes receives a more satisfactory interpretation when read against the background of a lawsuit between Job and his friends.

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