Friday, February 08, 2019

Anything Wrong in Job

J. B., A Modern Version
of the Book of Job

I came across a reference to MacLeish's play J.B., and decided to post an entry on it to my blog so as to remind myself that I need to get and read the entire play:
If Yhwh, the śāṭān, Job, and the omniscient narrator agree upon anything, it is that Job was righteous – though they may differ as to whether his righteousness is unconditional or "bought and paid for like a waiter's smirk."[31]

[Footnote 31] The phrase is employed by Nickels in Archibald MacLeish's play J. B., a modern version of the Book of Job. See Archibald MacLeish, J. B.: A Play in Verse. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston 1958. In the Book of Job, the narrator (1:1) and God (1:8, 2:3) claim Job to be blameless, upright, god-fearing, and avoiding wrong. The śātan admits that Job has "feared" God at least thus far (1:9; ירא , a stative, functions not as a participle but as a finite verb here; see Samuel Rolles Driver and George Buchanan Gray, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Job. T and T Clark, Edinburgh 1921, 1.13).
Nice quote. Nickels is the Satan figure in this play, so the name meaning a sort of money is apt. God is named Zuss, which sounds like the German word for sweet. Keep in mind that MacLeish seems to intentionally set out to address 'cosmic' issues.

Private Joke:

God: Have you seen my servant J.B.?

Satan: Why? Have you misplaced him?

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