Deconstruction, Hermeneutics, and the Book of Job: A Comparative Analysis and Critique of Two Deconstructive Readings of the Epilogue (42:7-17)

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)


Exegetical Theology

First Advisor

Barbara M. Leung Lai


The focus of this thesis is to compare and contrast two deconstructive readings of the epilogue of the Book of Job (42:7-17) by David Clines and Edwin Good in order to evaluate the appropriation of deconstruction as a biblical hermeneutic. I begin my analysis by outlining the perennial issue of epilogue tension in Joban studies as well as the philosophical and literary modes of deconstruction before turning to a critique of the deconstructive readings of Job 42:7-17 by both Clines and Good. Comparative analysis shows that although both readings of the epilogue are deconstructive, the hermeneutics of Clines and Good differ significantly, as does the focus of their respective deconstructions. I conclude that Good offers a better model for the appropriation of deconstruction as a biblical hermeneutic since his reading strategy is more thoroughly deconstructive, and is less inhibited by competing interpretive assumptions which arrest deconstruction in the reading of Clines. Ultimately any attempt to evaluate deconstruction finds itself "under erasure" (French sous rature), though the comparative analysis of the deconstructive readings of Clines and Good suggest guidelines for the continued appropriation of deconstruction as a hermeneutic in biblical studies. Even beyond the stated thesis agenda, analysis of the limited deconstruction of Clines is itself open to deconstruction, and the deconstruction of his hermeneutic is more valuable than his deconstructive reading of Job since the former exposes the dependence of biblical studies on philosophical concepts and calls for a reading strategy for biblical texts and theological discourse that is at least aware of its dependence on philosophy for its articulation.


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