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Testament of Job

First Century B.C. - First Century A.D

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Raymond F. Surburg writes: "In this book Job's wife Sitidos plays a more important role than she does in the Biblical Book of Job. She defends her husband, though he is reduced to wretched poverty and near starvation. She lives to see her husband vindicated by God but dies before his health and riches are restored. Sitidos departs this life in comfort and peace after she sees her children in heaven. The three friends and Elihu are assigned prominent parts in the book. Because of their attempts to rebuke Job, God threatens them with death, but they are forgiven through Job's intercession on their behalf. After the death of Job's first wife, Job marries Dinah (the name also given her in the Targum), who becomes the mother of three daughters that are inspired and chant hymns. Nahor, the brother of Job, continues the narrative by relating how at the end of three days he saw Job's spirit being taken away by shining chariots. The book ends with Nahor, Job's seven sons, and others singing a brief dirge." (Introduction to the Intertestamental Period, pp. 136-137)

Martin McNamara writes: "This work is found in four Greek manuscripts, in a fragmentary fifth-century Coptic manuscript and in a Slavonic version, which is reconstructed from three manuscripts. The original language and place of composition are uncertain. It could have been composed either in Palestine or Egypt. Some assign the original composition to the first century B.C., others to the first century A.D." (Intertestamental Literature, pp. 103-104)

Russell P. Spittler writes (Outside the Old Testament, pp. 232-233):

The judgement of scholars is divided on whether the apocryphon was Jewish or Christian in origin. As it stands, the TJob does not show much obvious Christian editing. Yet its distance from orthodox Jewish concerns is clear. One line of assessment has traced the origin of the work to sectarian Jews—such as the Essenes, the Qumran sect at the Dead Sea community, or the Egyptian Jewish sect known as the Therapeutae described by Philo in Vit Cont.

Women, who figure largely in the TJob, had little place at Qumran; but they enjoyed a much more prominent role among the Therapeutae in Egypt. Hymn composition, mentioned in the TJob, was described as an activity of that community by Philo. A fascination among them for the number 50 may account for Job's '50 bakeries' (TJob 10:7), which has no Septuagintal source.

These and other considerations suggest an origin of the TJob among the Therapeutae about the first century AD, although the century prior or the one following are also possible. The document may have urged endurance as a response to impending persecution—mild or severe. It served, no doubt, as a polemic against idolatry and may well have filled missionary propaganda purposes.

A suggestion has been made that the Montanists, a second-century pneumatic-prophetic Christian group, may be responsible for the final section of the document (TJob 46-53), where praise of patient endurance gives way to the daughters of Job speaking the language of the angels and the Cherubim. In their contest with the Montanists, the orthodox Christians demanded biblical precedent for prophets who spoke in ecstasy (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History V.17.1-3). Though proof is not possible, it is an attractive possibility to think that the TJob in its present form was furnished by the Montanists as a rigged pseudo-canonical precedent to legitimate their own ecstatic, and largely female, prophecy.

In any case, the TJob is an essentially Jewish work composed in Greek close to the times of Jesus and Paul, Philo and Josephus.

James Charlesworth writes: "Some scholars date the work to the first century B.C. (C. C. Torrey, Apoc. Lit., p. 145; R. H. Pfeiffer, IB 1 [1952] 425); M. Delcor (no. 971) thinks that 17:12-18 is a clear allusion to the Parthian invasion into Palestine around 40 B.C. M. Philonenko (no. 980), however, concludes that this pseudepigraphon comes from the first century A.D., perhaps from the Therapeutae in Egypt. H. C. Kee (no. 976) also dates the composition to the first century A.D., but argues that it is clearly related to Merkabah mysticism." (The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, p. 135)

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