Thy Fearful Symmetry - Murdoch University ... 2016 The Tyger Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the...

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Transcript of Thy Fearful Symmetry - Murdoch University ... 2016 The Tyger Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the...

  • Thy Fearful Symmetry: __________________________________________

    Order and Disorder in Creation in the Book of Job

    Claire Camilla Maltas, BA(Hons); BTheol(Hons)

    This thesis is presented for the degree of

    Doctor of Philosophy

    of Murdoch University


  • The Tyger

    Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

    In the forests of the night;

    What immortal hand or eye.

    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

    In what distant deeps or skies.

    Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

    On what wings dare he aspire?

    What the hand, dare seize the fire?

    And what shoulder, & what art,

    Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

    And when thy heart began to beat.

    What dread hands? & what dread feet?

    What the hammer? what the chain,

    In what furnace was thy brain?

    What the anvil? what dread grasp.

    Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

    When the stars threw down their spears

    And water’d heaven with their tears:

    Did he smile his work to see?

    Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

    Tyger Tyger burning bright,

    In the forests of the night:

    What immortal hand or eye,

    Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

    William Blake


  • I declare that this thesis is my own account of my research and contains

    as its main content work which has not previously been submitted for a

    degree at any tertiary education institution.


    Claire Maltas

  • 4


    Because of its complexity and profundity, the Book of Job has been many things to many

    people and few texts can have been more written about. I will argue in this study that it

    is, first and foremost, about creation and the theology of creation. If “beginning” and

    “ending” are creation terms, “birth” and “death” are their equivalents for the animate parts

    of creation. What happens between those two events in time, which is well-being and

    survival to an expected time, seen as order in creation for its animate constituents, or their

    opposites which is ill-being and untimely death, seen as disorder in creation, must also

    belong to creation theology as must measures to be taken to secure the former and avoid

    the latter. The diversity of views on the subject of order and disorder in creation is

    explored through the medium of argumentative speeches each of which has persuasion as

    its goal. Two striking features of the arguments are, firstly, the passion with which they

    are expressed and, secondly, challenges to their credibility. I suggest that the key to the

    interpretation of Job as a work about order and disorder in creation is a rhetorical criticism

    based on precepts which hold that persuasion is achieved through argument, emotion and

    the credibility of the speaker. Aristotle’s Rhetoric meets those requirements. Since

    persuasion is not achieved in a void, I look at the Mesopotamian literary context of Job.

    I look, first, at texts dealing with order and disorder in creation, second, at texts concerned

    with human suffering, and thirdly, at a small group of texts comprising a literary genre,

    the dispute poem. I contend that the Joban poet modelled his work on the dispute poem,

    the better to set out the different strands of thinking on order and disorder in creation.

  • 5

    Table of Contents

    Abstract 4

    Contents 5

    Acknowledgements 9

    Abbreviations 10


    1.1 Literature Review 14

    1.2 The Subject of this Thesis 24

    1.3 Methodology 25

    1.4 Aristotle’s Rhetoric 27

    1.4.1 Definition of Rhetoric 27

    1.4.2 Types of Rhetoric and their Purposes 28 Deliberative Rhetoric 29 Judicial Rhetoric 30 Epideictic Rhetoric 30

    1.4.3 Subjects of Rhetoric 33

    1.4.4 Proofs used in Persuasion 34 Non-Artistic Proofs 34 Artistic Proofs 34 Character and Credibility of the Speaker - Ethos 35 Emotion – Pathos 36 Argument – Logos 38 Examples 39 Enthymemes 40 Refutation 42 Narration 42

    1.4.5 Style 42

    1.4.6 Arrangement 43

    1.4.7 Conclusion 45

    1.5 The Applicability of the Precepts of Classical Rhetoric to Ancient 45

    Hebrew Texts

    1.6 Method 46

    1.7 The Approach of this Thesis 48


    2.1 The Rhetorical Unit which is the Book of Job 50

    2.1.1 Authorship of the Prose Frame and its Relationship to the Poetic 52


    2.1.2 Authorship of Chapter 28 61

    2.1.3 Authorship of Chapters 32 to 37 62

    2.2 Attribution of Speeches in the Third Cycle 64

  • 6


    3.1 The Cultural Milieu of the Book of Job 68

    3.2 The Cosmos in the Ancient Near East 71

    3.2.1 The Structure of the Cosmos 71

    3.2.2 Cosmogony in the Ancient Near East 72

    3.2.3 Cosmology and the Maintenance of Order on the Earth 76

    3.2.4 Disorder in Creation 79 Gods 79 Monsters 82

    3.2.5 The Baal Myths 84

    3.3 Ancient Near Eastern Texts on Suffering 84

    3.4 The Dispute Poem 86


    4.1 Two Possible Arrangements for Job 94

    4.1.1 The Prologue or Introduction 97

    4.1.2 Job’s Soliloquy or The Statement of the Rhetoric which is Job 98

    4.1.3 Disputes or Argument 102

    4.1.4 Divine Verdict, Epilogue 103

    4.2 Conclusion 103



    5.1 Mythical Prologue or Introduction 105

    5.2 Soliloquy or Statement 117



    6.1 The Speeches of the Friends 126

    6.1.1 Core Cosmological Beliefs 127 Zophar on the Mystery and Immensity of God 127 Bildad on the Mystery and Might of God 130 Eliphaz on Humankind and God 139 The First Strand of Eliphaz’s Thinking 141 The Second Strand of Eliphaz’s Thinking 153 The Two-Strand Conversation 160

    6.1.2 The Speeches of the Friends 166 Eliphaz 167 The First Speech (4-5) 167 The Second Speech (15.2-35) 176 The Third Speech (22.2-30) 180 Summary of Eliphaz’s Speeches 182 Bildad 183 The First Speech (8.2-22) 184 The Second Speech (18.2-21) 186

  • 7

    6 Summary of Bildad’s Speeches 188 Zophar 189 The First Speech (11.2-20) 189 The Second Speech (20.2-29) 19 The Third Speech (24.18-24; 27.13-23) 191 Summary of Zophar’s Speeches 193 Supporting Evidence 194 Conclusion 196

    6.1.3 The Role of Emotion in the Rhetoric of the Friends 197

    6.1.4 The Credibility of the Friends’ Speeches 201

    6.2 The Speeches of Job 206

    6.2.1 Refutation 206

    6.2.2 Job’s Speeches 214 The First Speech (6.2-30) 214 The Second Speech (9.2-24) 215 The Third Speech (12.2-13.19) 218 The Fourth Speech (16.2-17.2, 17.5-16) 224 The Fifth Speech (19.2-29) 252 The Sixth Speech (21.2-34) 227 The Seventh Speech (23.2-24.17, 25) 228 The Eighth Speech (26.2-4; 27.2-12) 231 The Ninth Speech (29.2-30.19; 30.24-31.40) 232

    6.2.3 Supporting Evidence 235

    6.2.4 Conclusion 236