Joel Kaminsky on whether the Book of Job sweeps away a mechanistic concept of divine retribution

Professor Joel S. Kaminsky (Smith College) delivered the 2015 Albert and Vera List Fund for Jewish Studies Lecture at Harvard Divinity School on February 18, 2015, “Would You Impugn My Justice?”

Much recent scholarship has portrayed the book of Job as sweeping away an earlier, supposedly mechanistic theology of divine reward and punishment. Joel S. Kaminsky argues that the widespread biblical notion that God rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked is more complex than often recognized. Recovering its nuances not only helps one better understand the theological outlook of books like Deuteronomy, Proverbs, and Psalms, but also helps one better grasp the debates within the book of Job.

00:00 Welcome by Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology, Harvard Divinity School

1:45 Introduction by Jon D. Levenson, Albert A. List Professor of Jewish Studies, Harvard Divinity School

3:55 Joel S. Kaminsky, Professor of Religion and Morningstar Family Professor in Jewish Studies, Smith College

39:30 Q&A with Joel S. Kaminsky

A version of the lecture was published as “Would You Impugn My Justice? A Nuanced Approach to the Hebrew Bible’s Theology of Divine Recompense” Interpretation 69.3 (2015): 299-310.

3 thoughts on “Joel Kaminsky on whether the Book of Job sweeps away a mechanistic concept of divine retribution

  1. I am new at all this – never did anything like this before on the computer. Can I just click on the arrow and begin to listen to the whole lecture? If that is so, that would be great. Does it cover everything listed in the column to the right I see on my screen. Please provide information on how this all works and how I can learn what is being said by reading it on the web site. Thank you.


    • Hi Elgrit. To begin listening to the whole lecture, press the triangle play button in the middle of the picture. The categories on the right relate to every resource on this site, and are not all covered in this lecture. The categories relevant to this lecture are listed just below the main header: “Biblical Literature, Biblical Studies Topics, Early Jewish texts, Job, Justice, Media, One-off seminars conferences talks, Seminars Conferences Talks, Video, WisdomAlbert and Vera List Fund for Jewish Studies Lecture, Harvard Divinity School, Joel Kaminsky, Joel S. Kaminsky”. I trust this helps.


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