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Title: The So-called Ostrich in the God Speeches of the Book of Job (Job 39,13-18)
Author(s): WALKER-JONES, Arthur
Journal: Biblica
Volume: 86    Issue: 4   Date: 2005   
Pages: 494-510
DOI: 10.2143/BIB.86.4.3191727

Abstract :
The so-called ostrich passage (39,13-18) has been much discussed by scholars both because of the difficulties it presents and the importance of its position in the book of Job. Discussions have focused on why an ostrich appears, rather than whether the רננים is, in fact, an ostrich. Quite a number of Hebrew words and expressions have to be emended or explained to make them fit an ostrich. Moreover, H.-P. Müller has shown that רננים is not the name for ostrich in Hebrew or any Semitic languages, is not translated 'ostrich' in early Greek versions, the Peshitta, or Targums, and the translation 'ostrich' probably came from a false identification in early Christian reflection on nature. This article uses contemporary ornithological literature and the information the passage provides on the nest, habitat, behaviours, and calls of the רננים to identify a more likely type of bird. The identification of the רננים as a sand grouse helps resolve a number of problems in the text and clarify the literary connections of the passage to the rest of the animal discourse, God speeches, and book of Job.

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