Friday, March 05, 2010

Blessing and Cursing

Carol Newsom again on the prose prologue in Job: along with most commentators, she puzzles over the euphemistic use of the word "bless" to mean "curse," running through the text. In fact the word "curse" doesn't even occur in the prologue of Job. The word for curse is always the word ordinarily used to mean "bless."

This is particularly striking since the central argument/contention in the introduction has to do with whether Job will "curse" God if all the "blessings" are taken away. Likewise, Job offers sacrifices for his children who may have "sinned and cursed God in their hearts" (1:5). This insinuates a kind of ambiguity in both directions: is "cursing" an absolute evil/rejection of YHWH? And pushing in the opposite direction, are all of God's material "blessings" absolutely good?

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