Deane Galbraith on Job

In a paper titled Would You Condemn Me That You May be Justified? Why yes, Deane, I certainly would! But that’s not what the paper is about.

In this essay, Galbraith examines Jean-Francois Lyotard’s concept of the differend and its potential to provide new insights into the curiously unsatisfying nature of the book of Job. For Lyotard, a differend occurs in a situation where a victim, seeking justice for a wrong, is ‘divested of the means to argue’ with their accuser due to a lack of a single idiom which both parties can agree upon as a standard of justice. When we read the story of Job in the light of the differend, we uncover, in addition to the more visible injustice of God’s physically excessive and arbitrary mistreatment of Job, a radical or absolute injustice operating at the heart of the narrative.

Come on, can you trust a Frenchman speaking about leotards? Anyway, my snark aside, take a look. Deane’s a relatively clever chap (for a Kiwi). 😉

11 thoughts on “Deane Galbraith on Job

  1. There is a huge epistemtic difference between us and God. The fact that it is not apparent to us that there is some good that justifies suffering does not not entail that God is unaware of any such good.

    I don’t know whether it is being a parent of two radically different teenagers that helps give me perspective or peace with the concept that I may missed something here, that God may not in fact be engaging in “radical or absolute injustice” when he allows bad things to happen to good people.

    Besides isn’t Deane a relativist? “absolute injustice…” ?!?


  2. I’d have to read the article to make a full critique and generally I find French continental philosophy to be sloppy nonsense. But on the face of it two things stand out to me here.

    First, if there was no common idiom of justice between God and Man then there cannot be an “absolute” injustice in the narrative. God would be accountable to his unknown idiom, Job to his, for there to be an absolute injustice would require some idiom that applied to God and Jobs mutual interactions and was applicable to both.

    Second, in my exchanges with Deane in the past he has propounded and defended a form of moral relativism and been scathing that ethics is “objective” in any form. But if he is consistent with this, how can there be an absolute injustice, in what God does? God is not a member of any human culture and even if he was his actions would be just relative to some cultures and unjust relative to others absolute injustice would not exist.

    Third, in order to describe God is human words concepts and terms as occurs in the narrative don’t we need a common idiom to some extent. If we are going to say God is just, and use the human word “just” to describe his dealings then we have to assume that God’s dealings correspond to this concept to some extent otherwise we could not accurately say this.


  3. yip, despite being Kiwi, he’s a clever chap. In fact he’s one of the most intellectually sophisticated independent minded incisive and courageous scholars I know. Otago = Sheffield = Copenhagen. Brilliant article of course. 😀

    (you should alter the title to ‘Deane on the job’…)


  4. oh I don’t know about that Deane – those mythers critique books they haven’t read all the time. Saw a damming review of Dale Allison last week on the Godless’ blog – the book hasn’t been published yet but he read the blurb…


  5. we went over all of that a year ago. Not fully balanced though is it. Where is Deane’s post. I’m sure you can link that. However, it’s not really the point of the current article which this post was alerting (other) readers to.


  6. Pingback: malevolent or mysterious? god’s character in the prologue of job | “shields-up”

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