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Abraham's DiceChance and Providence in the Monotheistic Traditions$
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Karl W. Giberson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190277154

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190277154.001.0001

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Ancient Hebraic Voices of Chance and Choice over Fate and Justice

Ancient Hebraic Voices of Chance and Choice over Fate and Justice

Chapter:
(p.14) 2 Ancient Hebraic Voices of Chance and Choice over Fate and Justice
Source:
Abraham's Dice
Author(s):

Jennifer Michael Hecht

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190277154.003.0002

In a world as unfair as ours it is hard to believe in divine justice without a belief in life after life, for postgame rewards and punishments. Job’s author makes clear that he does not believe in an afterlife, and centuries later the author of Ecclesiastes explicitly rejects the vague idea of an afterlife that had since developed. How do they then deal with justice? Job rails against the unfairness of his misfortunes and God responds with a tirade about the marvels of nature, never addressing justice. The Ecclesiastes author writes that the world is unjust and most of our efforts are vanity (but can be satisfying anyway). Both helped shape ideas across the first millennium that see human beings facing random chance, not fate, and having some control of their lives.

Keywords:   Job, Ecclesiastes, providence, Hebrew worldview, Koheleth

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