Part of the Jewish Encounter series
From one of our most trusted spiritual advisers, a thoughtful, illuminating guide to that most fascinating of biblical texts, the book of Job, and what it can teach us about living in a troubled world.
The story of Job is one of unjust things happening to a good man. Yet after losing everything, Job—though confused, angry, and questioning God—refuses to reject his faith, although he challenges some central aspects of it. Rabbi Harold S. Kushner examines the questions raised by Job’s experience, questions that have challenged wisdom seekers and worshippers for centuries. What kind of God permits such bad things to happen to good people? Why does God test loyal followers? Can a truly good God be all-powerful?
Rooted in the text, the critical tradition that surrounds it, and the author’s own profoundly moral thinking, Kushner’s study gives us the book of Job as a touchstone for our time. Taking lessons from historical and personal tragedy, Kushner teaches us about what can and cannot be controlled, about the power of faith when all seems dark, and about our ability to find God.
Rigorous and insightful yet deeply affecting, The Book of Job is balm for a distressed age—and Rabbi Kushner’s most important book since When Bad Things Happen to Good People.
When selecting an author for this 21st book in the Jewish Encounters series, editor Jonathan Rosen had a clear choice. In 1981, Kushner, a rabbi, published the best-selling book When Bad Things Happen to Good People after his 14-year-old son died of progeria. Kushner forthrightly tackled the problem of reconciling the simultaneous existence of evil and an all-powerful God. This is the issue confronted in the Book of Job, often cited as the most difficult book in the Bible. Job is a righteous man, happily married with 10 children and wealth. He is severely tested when he loses everything and his children all die. He endures this ordeal, not comforted by his friends who try to console him. Finally, after confrontation with God, he recognizes his mortality and the necessity of trusting God. Kushner skillfully analyzes this complex story, surveying many sources along with offering his own impressive interpretation. Although he does not resolve the thorny dilemma of why blameless people suffer, he advances our understanding of this quandary.