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A Study on the Monsters of the Book of Job Through Monster Theory

  • Korean Journal of Old Testament Studies
  • Abbr : KJOTS
  • 2022, 28(4), pp.41-68
  • DOI : 10.24333/jkots.2022.28.4.41
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Old Testament Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology
  • Received : September 30, 2022
  • Accepted : November 19, 2022

Jun Kim 1

1명지대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper is to interpret the literary role and theological meaning of monsters in the book of Job through the monster theory, which is recently used as an important method for interpreting culture. Recently, research on monsters in the humanities has been widely conducted, such as the fear of humans revealed through monsters, the characteristic viewpoint of the culture in which monsters are created, and the meaning of the appearance of monsters. Monster theory suggests that monsters do not appear meaninglessly when referred to in literature. The appearance of monsters conveys an important message that can interpret the fear, disgust, desire, fantasy, and value system that the culture holds. Also, the appearance of monsters often plays an important role in recognizing the divine message. The book of Job frequently mentions various monsters such as Tannin, Yam, Rahab, the fleeing serpent, Behemoth, and Leviathan. Monsters could not be found in Job's peaceful life, but only when fear and anxiety come to Job, they come to Job's life. Monsters appear at a certain time when Job's understanding of the world is threatened. These monsters serve as literary motifs that symbolically show Job's chaotic situation. Literary motifs gain a cumulative effect through repetition and clarify the subject while linking interrelated issues. The monster is a literary motif that creates an atmosphere of chaos, anxiety, and fear in Job. However, unlike Job, God does not exclude the monsters of chaos as hostile forces, but rather describes how they relate to and harmonize with God in creation. God proposes to Job to re-evaluate the monster within a whole creation, rather than looking at the monster from an anthropocentric value system. The monster in the book of Job is the embodiment of Job's anxiety, fear, and chaos, and at the same time reveals a divine message to reevaluate the meaning of Job's chaos and suffering.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.