THE RAPHAEL PATAI MEMORIAL LECTURE 2013
February 21, 2013 - 7pm
“The Question of Job: Some Reflections on the Biblical Book”
Peter Machinist, Harvard University New Location: Anshei Israel!
Two questions are central to the biblical book of Job: what is piety, and how can one explain the suffering of the righteous? The book of Job deals with these two issues and asking the right questions about them by a strategy of subversive irony, in which statements are made and then undermined, on a continual basis. And yet all is not negative: Machinist will propose a more positive conclusion, one gained only through the intellectual and physical struggle that the book depicts.
Peter Machinist is a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, serving in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and the Committee on the Study of Religion. He has also served as visiting lecturer at The University of Arizona and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The University of Zurich, Switzerland, awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2009.
His primary interest is in the cultural, intellectual, and social history of the ancient Near East, focusing particularly on ancient Israel and the Hebrew Bible, and ancient Mesopotamia. Among his publications are Provincial Governance in Middle Assyria, Assyria and Its Image in the First Isaiah, Outsiders and Insiders: The Biblical View of Emergent Israel and Its Contexts, Fate, Miqreh, and Reason: Reflections on Qohelet and Biblical Thought, The Fall of Assyria in Comparative Ancient Perspective, Biblical Traditions: The Philistines and Israelite History, The Voice of the Historian in the Ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean World, How Gods Die, Biblically and Otherwise, and The Road Not Taken: Wellhausen and Assyriology. Among his current projects is a volume of commentary on the prophetic book of Nahum.