One of the oldest and most profound questions mankind has asked itself can be summarized, perhaps not very elegantly, as “Why do bad things happen to good people?” This is certainly the question at the center of Job. What is the explanation offered in the book of Job? Do you find this answer ultimately intellectually and emotionally satisfying? Why or why not? (Above, I asked you to avoid religious interpretations and focus more on literary interpretations. This question, however, might involve your discussing your own religious beliefs to a degree. But that doesn’t mean you’re writing a sermon. If you do inform your audience of your own religious beliefs, try to do so in a way that is not preachy and in a way that does not assume your reader shares your particular religious beliefs and assumptions. You do not, for instance, want to make sweeping generalizations about God, stated as if they are universal, obvious, self-evident truths. You might, however, want to discuss God as He is portrayed in the Book of Job and consider how this portrayal is or is not in accord with your own conception of God.) Students sometimes have trouble with this question because it IS easy to get into “sermon mode.” If you don’t think you can avoid “sermon mode,” you should avoid the question.
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