Cover: The Legend of Job in the Middle Ages, from Harvard University PressCover: The Legend of Job in the Middle Ages in E-DITION

The Legend of Job in the Middle Ages

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674734302

Publication Date: 05/15/1979

177 pages



Related Subjects

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

This study in the use and reuse of a classic tale makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the medieval mind. It offers, too, a reading of the Book of Job that, unlike most, takes into account its style and structure.

Lawrence Besserman examines the apparent meaning of the biblical account—what the author meant to say about the reason for or purpose of Job’s trials and eventual reward. He follows the evolution of Job as emblem of patience. Examining especially Old English writing and fourteenth and fifteenth century French and English poetry, he demonstrates Job’s appearance in medieval poetry and iconography as a prophet or antetype of Christ. Two dozen illustrations help the reader watch this new conception of Job emerge. The analysis adumbrates the modern portrayal of Job as righteous rebel against a cruel god.

This history of the Job legend has never been told before. Besserman does it lucidly and concisely, with judicious selection of examples.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

Honoring Latour

In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene