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II. Contents And Composition

II. Contents And Composition

As with other biblical books, a distinction needs to be made between the date of the contents and the date of the composition of the book.

From textual evidence the man Job could be dated in patriarchal times. Note the following data: (1) Job offered his own sacrifices (1:5) as did the patriarchs (Ge 24:35). (2) Job's wealth was measured in terms of livestock and servants (1:3) as was Abraham's (Ge 14:14). (3) Job's longevity (42:16) compares to persons in patriarchal times (Ge 25:7-8). (4) The Chaldeans are seen as nomadic pirates (1:17) rather than as the controlling element of the Neo-Babylonian Empire of the eighth and seventh centuries b.c. (5) Job is classified by Ezekiel (14:14, 20) with the ancient hero Noah (also with Dan'el—an early heroic figure and possibly not the Daniel of the OT). While these data seem somewhat conclusive, precise dating of the man Job is not critical to the understanding of the book.

Not knowing the identity of the author/s, it is impossible to date the writing of the book. A wide range of dates has been suggested, from the patriarchal age (due to the dating of the man Job as noted above) to the second or first century b.c. (Rowley, 21). Utilization of such data as orthography, historical events, identifiable institutions, theological ideas, and alleged quotations from other biblical books has not resulted in any consensus (Andersen, 61-63). The complexity of this book may argue for an extended time of composition with more than one writer involved. Our inability to identify the author/s and date in no way detracts from its inspiration and does not seriously affect its interpretation.