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14-06-'07 | E.J. Keulen

God-talk in the book of Job. A biblical theological and systematic theological study into the book of Job and its relevance for the issue of theodicy

Innocent suffering according to the Book of Job

PhD student Emke Jelmer Keulen investigated how the Book of Job can provide systematic theology with answers to the question of how God is involved in the existence of innocent suffering. Keulen studied this problem, also known as the issue of theodicy, on the basis of an interpretation of the Book of Job.

When Job suffers one calamity after another, he tries to call God to account. He assumes that God rewards the righteous with prosperity and punishes the wicked with misfortune. Since Job is suffering in spite of his righteousness, he can but conclude that God acts unjustly. Job’s concept of God thus clashes with actual practice.

One of Keulen’s conclusions is that the Book of Job does not completely dismiss the concept of retribution but rather sheds light on the boundaries of a theology that advocates it. The Book of Job emphasizes that human beings cannot fully understand God’s actions. This means that we can never completely explain innocent suffering or justify God’s actions in this. According to Keulen, the Book of Job can provide systematic theology with the language necessary to discuss God in the complex situation of innocent suffering.

Emke Jelmer Keulen (Burgum 1974) graduated from the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies in Groningen in 2000 and then went on to conduct his PhD research here too. His project was funded by the Hervormd Theologisch Wetenschappelijk Instituut, now part of the Protestant Theological University. Keulen works as a minister for the Protestant congregation in Heeg. /GB

Date and time

14 June 2007, 2.45 p.m.

PhD student

E.J. Keulen

PhD thesis

God-talk in the book of Job. A biblical theological and systematic theological study of the book of Job and its relevance for the issue of theodicy

Supervisors

Prof. L.J. van den Brom and Prof. E. Noort

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