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The Book of JobA Contest of Moral Imaginations$
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Carol A Newsom

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195396287

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396287.001.0001

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The Book of Job as Polyphonic Text

The Book of Job as Polyphonic Text

(p.3) 1 The Book of Job as Polyphonic Text
The Book of Job

Carol A. Newsom

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues for the recuperation of genre as a critical category for understanding the book of Job. Here is a means by which Kautzsch’s frustrated and impatient questions can be turned from rhetorical into serious ones to which serious answers can be given. To do this, however, one must have a more robust theory and a more thoroughgoing analysis of genre than historical criticism was prepared to conduct. Yet in order to avoid the “Humpty Dumpty” effect that can come from privileging differences within the book, this revaluation of genre must be closely linked to an alternative understanding of literary unity, authorship, and truth. This understanding is based neither on the modernist assumptions of historical criticism and New Critical literary approaches nor on the assumptions of deconstruction. This approach is based rather on the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, particularly his distinction between monologic and dialogic truth and his conception of the polyphonic text.

Keywords:   book of Job, Kautzch, genre, Mikhail Bakhtin, monologic truth, dialogic truth

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