"I like fiery passion, actually." - Olympus
Question #81264 posted on 02/26/2015 10:44 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I know our eternal salvation does not depend on this, but I'm curious -- do you think Job was a real person or just an allegory/type/symbol? Can you please tell me why people think he is real? What's the rationale? And why do people think it's just an allegory? What supports that camp?

And again, I know my eternal salvation isn't depended on it -- it's just my non lds friend asked me and it got me thinking.......

Thanks!

-Sage

A:

Dear Five,

It depends on the day.

No, really. Sometimes I've thought he was someone that actually existed. A lot of the stories in the Bible are about real people, so why wouldn't Job be? But on the other hand, what he went through seems kind of extreme and the whole story in general reads more like an allegory. To me it doesn't really matter which I'm preferring at the time as long as I'm learning something from it.

-Tally M.

posted on 03/01/2015 8:54 a.m.
My family has actually had some lively discussions about this.

Reasons Job may be an allegory:
*The whole God bargaining with Satan thing just seems a little odd. It doesn't generally seem to be the way God works.

Reasons Job may be real:
*In D&C 121:10, God comforts Joseph Smith by reminding him that at least he doesn't have it as bad as Job ("Thou art not yet as Job; thy afriends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job.") Would it be comforting for God to be telling Joseph "it's okay-- at least you don't have it as bad as a random fictinal character"?
*My religion professor said that there is evidence that the first and last chapters of Job were written substantially later than the rest of the book. That could mean that the bulk of the book is true and someone just came along and added an allegorical exposition and conclusion to make the body of the text more readable/understandable.

So, those are the main arguments I've heard for/against Job being a real person. Either way, though, there's a lot to be learned from his story.

--Rifka