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Just Skin and Bones: The Longing for Wholeness of the Body in the Book of Job

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image of Vetus Testamentum

The book of Job recounts the story of an individual who grapples with the enigma of suffering. In addition to his personal loss, the supplicant's body also comes under attack. Furthermore, the physical distress experienced by Job is exacerbated by the attitude of his kinsmen. His disintegrated body has lead to severed social relations. Given the fact that the body mediates the plaintiff's involvement in society and represented social unity in ancient Israel, Job longs for a whole body as the ideal body image. The ancient Israelites only regarded the whole body as pure, real and acceptable. This contribution argues that to appreciate fully the allusions to bodily degeneration in the book of Job, the importance of wholeness of the physical body in ancient Israel and the impact it had on the socio-religious structure should be taken into account.

Affiliations: 1: Stellenbosch


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