cover image The Book of Job: When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person

The Book of Job: When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person

Harold S. Kushner. Nextbook-Schocken, $24 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8052-4292-8

When selecting an author for this 21st book in the Jewish Encounters series, editor Jonathan Rosen had a clear choice. In 1981, Kushner, a rabbi, published the best-selling book When Bad Things Happen to Good People after his 14-year-old son died of progeria. Kushner forthrightly tackled the problem of reconciling the simultaneous existence of evil and an all-powerful God. This is the issue confronted in the Book of Job, often cited as the most difficult book in the Bible. Job is a righteous man, happily married with 10 children and wealth. He is severely tested when he loses everything and his children all die. He endures this ordeal, not comforted by his friends who try to console him. Finally, after confrontation with God, he recognizes his mortality and the necessity of trusting God. Kushner skillfully analyzes this complex story, surveying many sources along with offering his own impressive interpretation. Although he does not resolve the thorny dilemma of why blameless people suffer, he advances our understanding of this quandary. (Oct.)