Katharine J. Dell

Representing Tradition

Exploring the Epistemology of the Friends in the Book of Job

Jahrgang 12 () / Heft 3, S. 282-294 (13)
Publiziert 30.08.2023

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The friends of Job (including Elihu) very much rely on an assumed tradition which gives authority to their words. They fall back on the sources of their knowledge from inherited tradition, notably from generational wisdom from within circles of the wise, claiming knowledge and 'to know'. They ask questions to Job such as »what do you know that we do not know?« (15:9). Whilst they do very occasionally appeal to revelatory experience, for example Eliphaz to a visionary experience and Elihu to an angelic intercessor, their main focus is on arguing a common case based on inherited experience (validated personally) and reason. This is in contrast to Job who had shared this worldview but now is led by the experience of suffering to think differently and challenge the friends' certainties. This focus on the friends' speeches raises epistemological questions such as whether the sources of knowledge justify certain beliefs and how we prioritize sources of knowledge such as tradition, divine revelation and experiential wisdom.

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