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Le Livre de Job chez les Peres.

Pp. 284. (Cahiers de Biblia Patristica, 5.) Strasbourg: Centre d'Analyse et de Documentation Patristiques, 1996. ISBN 2 906805 04 1. Paper 158 F.

This collection contains eleven contributions, which are of many different natures. There is a mere translation of an Augustine text into French [Christian Fournet, Augustin, Adnotationes in Job I, 29-31 (traduction d'apres CSEL 28) (pp. 49-61)]. There are helpful collections of material. There are studies, which add to our knowledge, make profitable use of older secondary literature, and present interesting theses. Most of the articles concern themselves with the Latin West and the Greek East. It is only in the contribution of Renoux that consideration of the literature of the Oriental Church is also included.

Jean Doignon opens the section concerning the Latin West with two articles on Hilary. In the first, `<Rengaines> origeniennes dans les Homelies sur Job d'Hilaire de Poitiers' (pp. 7-11), he points out that Licinian of Carthage (VIth century) was still in a position to read the homilies on Job by Hilary. As we know, these are for the most part a rendering of the sermons of Origen on this topic. In his letter to Pope Gregory, Licinian ponders why Hilary has adopted the naeniae of Origen (which here means `silly talk' or `rubbish' rather than `rengaines'), that the stars possessed spiritus rationales. Doignon discusses a number of passages from the extant works of the great Alexandrian, in which the same concept underlies his work.

In his Tractatus in Psalmum 58.4 Hilary makes an allusion to (up till now this has not been noticed) the famous verses in Job 14: 4-5 (Quis enim mundus a sordibus? Nec unus, etiam si unius diei sit uita eius in terra). This passage has played a central role in the theological discussion concerning the original sin of man. In his second contribution, `Versets de Job sur le peche de notre origine selon Hilaire de Poitiers' (pp. 13-21), Doignon demonstrates how Hilary's interpretation of these verses is inspired by Origen.

Zeno of Verona devotes two sermons to the figure of Job (Tractatus I 4 De patientia and Tractatus I 15 De Iob). Pierre Maraval, `Job dans l'oeuvre de Zenon de Verone' (pp. 23-30), pays particular attention to the second of these and also provides a full translation of it into French. In the first part of this sermon, which simply relates the narrative framework of the Book of Job, there is little that is original. The second part, however, uses typological exegesis to present a detailed representation of Job as a prefiguration of Christ. The method in itself is not unusual, of course, but for a number of individual aspects Zeno had neither predecessors nor imitators, as far as we can see.

The interpretation of the Book of Job in relation to the situation of the Church, which according to Dominique Doucet, `Job: L'Eglise et la tribulation. Augustin, Adnotationes in Job 29-31' (pp. 31-48) is to be found as a theme of secondary importance throughout Augustine's Adnotationes, becomes the main theme in the central chapters 29-31. In his brief and often enigmatic remarks Augustine directs his attention to the beginnings of the church at the time of Christ, the contemporary crisis in the struggle with the Donatists as well as the future. Job is a symbol not only for the body of the whole church but also for each and every member of it and especially for its shepherds, that is for Augustine himself.

With Laurence Brottier's, `L'actualisation de la figure de Job chez Jean Chrysostome' (pp. 63-110), we change over to Greek authors. This study, which is richly documented, clearly structured, and well thought through, examines to what extent, with what methods, and with what aims the preacher and spiritual adviser John Chrysostom makes use of the figure of Job. In the context of the detailed collection of passages, which illustrate individual motifs taken from Chrysostom's monumental work, for which the reader will be very grateful, the reason for the fact that his Commentary on Job is only very occasionally cited in the present study (p. 63 f.) is not very convincing. Why there is not a single word about (Pseudo?)-Chrysostom's Sermones in Iob (Migne, PG 56, 563-82), the authorship of which has recently been attributed to Severian of Gabala, should at least have been explained. Both texts contain numerous further parallels. Is the reason for this, that on the up-to-date CD of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, which the author used (p. 64), the recently edited commentary is not yet available at all and the Sermones are only to be found under another name?

Jean-Noel Guinot, `Regard sur l'utilisation du Livre de Job dans l'ccuvre de Theodoret de Cyr' (pp. 111-40), is interested in the role which Job played in Antiochene exegesis. Since Theodoret did not, as far as we know, write anything specifically on Job, it is advisable to examine in his extant work the citations and references to the Book of Job (approximately thirty in number) in comparison with the other Antiochenes, particularly John Chrysostom, Diodore of Tarsus, and Theodore of Mopsuestia; the latter's critique on the Book of Job is fairly fully discussed. Reflection on the individual citations in Theodoret shows that he does not share the critique of Theodore, but rather that he takes the same approach as Chrysostom. He accepts that the Book in all of its parts is inspired; so he makes use of it not only for the exegesis of other biblical books but also for the purpose of theological reasoning. In consolatory letters the figure of Job can serve him as an example of patient endurance of all kinds of misfortune. Theodoret does not, however, as far as one can see, make the equation Job-Christ.

After the introductory discussion of the well-known passages of Julian the Arian's Commentary on Job, in which their Arian-Eunomian position can be clearly seen, Francoise Vinel, `Fob 38: le commentaire de Julien l'arien et les interpretations cappadociennes' (pp. 163-75), compares the explanations of Julian on Job 38:1, 38:4, 38:7, and 38:31 with passages in the work of the great Cappadocians (Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa), in which precisely these verses are cited in theological argumentation. She elaborates on the differences in the ways of looking at things. As far as Julian is concerned, primary importance must be given to the incomparable greatness of God the Creator, for whom his will alone suffices for the creation of the universe, whereas the others turn their attention to the result, creation itself.

The Armenian catena on Job was compiled, as we learn from Charles Renoux, `La chame armenienne sur le Livre de Job' (pp. 141-61), in the thirteenth century by Yovhannes Vanakan, who also contributes explanations under his own name. It shows, however, apparently no points of contact with the Greek catenae on Job, although it hands down fragments of such authors, as are also used in the Greek catenae (inter alla Origen, Evagrius, Cyril of Alexandria). In the Armenian catena the three authors, who are most often cited, are Ephrem of Nisibis, Hesychius of Jerusalem, and Step'annos Siwnec'i. Renoux provides a brief summary of the following points: the structure of the catena (prologue, the bible text which is taken as the starting point, a list of authors used); the working method of the catenist (i.e. the elaboration of the main idea of the excerpts: abridgement and grammatical changes are often used, but the vocabulary is retained); the authors of the preceding Prologues, who are identical with the three main authors. A translation of the Prologues and of the explanations to Job 1: 1 follows.

The two remaining articles are of a broader interest. Remi Gounelle's, `Le fremissement des portiers de l`Enfer a la vue du Christ: Jb 38,17b et trots symbols de foi des annees 359-60' (pp. 177-214), iS a richly documented contribution, which goes into great depth; it was of all the articles in this volume the one from which the reviewer profited the most. It studies the part which Job 38:17b in its Septuagint form ([GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) played in the Christological discussions of the fourth century AD--the verse is to be found embodied in the creeds of the synods of Sirmium, Nike, and Constantinople (359-60 AD). With reference to Christ, it could on the one hand be used as evidence for the divinity of Christ, because a [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] would not have been able to develop any power in the underworld, on the other hand the Subordinationists were able to conclude from [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] that Christ is not [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in contrast to the Father. In an `Annexe: dossier textuelle' Gounelle provides a list of all the citations of Job 38:17b in patristic literature, which are known to him. If I am not mistaken, this dossier can be supplemented by the following instances: Ps.-Athanasius, Quaestiones ad Antiochum ducem. (PG 28, 697.14); Didymus the Blind, Psalmenkommentar IV (PTA 6, 1969), p.238.30 of the Papyrus (on p. 52 of this edition); Ps.-Chrysostom, in Psalmos 101-107, PG 55, 668.67; a fragment of Theophilus of Alexandria with a citation from Job 38:17 has been edited from the older Greek Job catenae by M. Richard, `Fragments exegetiques de Theophile d'Alexandrie', Revue biblique 74, 1938, 387-97 (=Opera Minora II No. 38), see especially pp. 392-93 (cf. id., `Les ecrits de Theophile d'Alexandrie', Le Museon 52, 1939, 33-50). It is only in a Syrian translation that the citations by Severus of Antioch are preserved: Adversus apologiam Fuliani, CSCO 302, Script. Syri 127, p. 164; Hom. cash. 3, PO 38, p.295; Hom. cash. 44, PO 36, p. 105; Hom. cash. 125, PO 29, p.243.

In the final contribution by Daniel A. Bertrand, `Le bestiaire de Job: Notes sur les versions grecques et latines' (pp. 215-71), the author compares the translations in the Septuagint, the Vetus Latina, and the Vulgate of the many terms for animals, which the Book of Job contains. Occasionally Syrian and more recent Greek translations (Aquila, Theodotion, Symmachus) are also taken into consideration. Only on rare occasions does he turn his attention to, how these (to some extent fabulous) animals `chez les Peres' were interpreted. Nevertheless anyone interested in biblical exegesis will be pleased to note this rich collection of material.
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Author:Hagedorn, Dieter
Publication:The Journal of Theological Studies
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 1997
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