Trauma, Silence, and Poetry: The Crisis of Language in the Book of Job

Questions about the relationship between, and the integrity of, the prose and poetry sections in the book of Job have long vexed scholars and interpreters. Some have argued that the changes in genre, content, and perceived characterizations of Job are evidence of different authorship. Others have argued that the numerous literary connections between the prose and poetry sections instead point to literary unity and intention. A trauma theory hermeneutic suggests that the complex relationship between the prose and poetry in the book of Job is explained by Job’s experience of trauma. This paper will examine the crisis of language in the book of Job through the lens of trauma theory highlighting how the textual interaction between trauma, silence, and poetry is shaped by Job’s experience of trauma.

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