Job never had had a historical existence, the book would still be of the utmost value, and would convey to us, a vast amount of true teaching with regard to the dealings of God and the problem of evil. Fact is local; truth is universal. Some novels contain more truth than can be found in some histories. Other books of Scripture, however, assure us that Job was an actual historical character ( <021414>Exodus 14:14; <590511>James 5:11). Nor is it necessary to suppose that our Lord, in telling the parable of the Prodigal Son ( <421511>Luke 15:11-32) or that of the Unjust Steward (18:1-8), had in mind actual persons of whom each parable was an exact description.
Fiction is not an unworthy vehicle of spiritual truth. Parable, and even fable, may convey valuable lessons. In <070914>Judges 9:14, 15, the trees, the vine, the bramble, all talk. If truth can be transmitted in myth and legend, surely God may make use of these methods of communicating it, and even though Genesis 1-3 were mythical it might still be inspired. Aristotle said that poetry is truer than history. The latter only tells us that certain things happened. Poetry presents to us the permanent passions, aspirations and deeds of men which are behind all history and which make it what it is; see Dewey, Psychology, 197. Though Job was a drama and Jonah an apologue, both might be inspired. David Copperfield, the Apology of Socrates, Fra Lippo Lippi, were not the authors of the productions, which bear their names, but Dickens, Plato and Browning, rather. Impersonation is a proper method in literature. The speeches of Herodotus and Thucydides might be analogues to those in Deuteronomy and in the Acts, and yet these last might be inspired.
The book of Job could not have been written in patriarchal times. Walled cities, kings, courts, lawsuits, prisons, stocks, mining enterprises, are found in it. Judges are bribed by the rich to decide against the poor. All this belongs to the latter years of the Jewish Kingdom. Is then the book of Job all a lie? No more than Bunyan?s Pilgrim?s Progress and the parable of the Good Samaritan are all a lie. The book of Job is a dramatic poem. Like Macbeth or the Ring and the Book, it is founded in fact. H. P. Smith, Biblical Scholarship and Inspiration, 101 ? ?The value of the book of Job lies in the spectacle of a human soul in its direst affliction working through its doubts, and at last humbly confessing its weakness and sinfulness in the presence of its Maker. The inerrancy is not in Job?s words or in those of his friends, but in the truth of the picture presented. If Jehovah?s words at the end of the book are true, then the first thirty-five chapters are not infallible teaching.?
Gore, in Lux Mundi, 355, suggests in a similar manner that the books of Jonah and of Daniel may be dramatic compositions worked up upon a
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