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F. Rachel Magdalene, On the Scales of Righteousness: Neo-Babylonian Trial Law and the Book of Job, Brown Judaic Studies 348, Providence (Rhode Island) 2007, XIV + 365 S.

Pages 305 - 309



1 In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that Magdalene cites my own work in her book quite positively. As one might well imagine, I find myself in agreement with her on a number of points. I will attempt, however, not to describe what I see as the advantages of her position too forcefully.

2 As the reader may have already inferred. Magdalene dates the book of Job to the Persian period, specifically to the fifth century BCE. The book's intertextual allusions to many other biblical texts keep her from dating it any earlier. Two main reasons, in her view, preclude a later date. First is the “congruity of the Hebrew and the Aramaic versions of the book of Job found at Qumran” (p. 6 n. 13). A Hebrew version must have been intact earlier rather than later for such a similar version to appear in the Targums. Second, “Job's understanding of death … does not seem to reflect Zoroastrian apocalyptic thinking, which began to influence Judaism in the very late Persian and Hellenistic periods” (p. 6 n. 13).


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