(Lutheran Theological Journal; 46 (2) )
It has come as a surprise to note how rarely the standard Genesis commentaries make a point of referring to the role that Earth plays in the story of Cain and Abel in chapter 4. Some refer to it in passing. Others ignore it altogether. And that is despite the fact that the word 'Earth', or more accurately 'soil' ('adamah), occurs in the story six times, the word 'land' ('erets) appears once, and there is only one word that occurs more often, the word 'brother' which occurs seven times.
(Lutheran Theological Journal; 49 (3) )
In the epilogue to the book of Job, the Lord takes Eliphaz aside, the ringleader of Job’s comforters, to express his wrath at their failure to speak of him ‘what is right’, in radical contrast to ‘my servant Job’. The essay, ‘Job’s enduring innocence and impeccable piety: reassessing the stubborn tradition that says otherwise (Job 42:7–9)’, grapples with this surprise twist as the story comes to an end. Having lost sympathy for Job’s comforters by the time they have spoken once or twice, readers are happy to see them roundly denounced. But the history of interpretation suggests that readers have found it harder to maintain that the divine assessment of Job’s ‘right speaking’ applies to much more than the pious and patient Job of the prologue and epilogue. After all, his angry tirades against God and his harsh accusations give rise to what is seen as the stern rebuke of the speech of God from the whirlwind, with questions like: ‘Will you condemn me that you may be justified?’ (40:8). This essay maintains that God’s positive appraisal takes into account Job’s words and demeanour from first to last.