God’s Own Guinea Pig: The Book of Job and Secularization

By: Marietje Kardaun 

Abstract: One of the most unlikely showdowns of world literature is the one between YHWH, creator of heaven and earth, and his humble creature Job. The latter has lost his children, his possessions, and finally his health. He is covered with sore boils and, sitting among the ashes, he tries to cure his itch with a potsherd. His wife has advised him to “curse God and die”, his friends are accusing him of intolerable arrogance, and a mere stranger has started to hurl insults at him. In this situation, Job engages in an argument with YHWH about who is to be held responsible for the calamities that have befallen him: Job himself or YHWH? In a Jungian analysis of the text we will follow the dispute between creature and creator step by step, and designate a winner. Subsequently we will consider the question of what the story of Job might express in terms of early secularization.