The Labor of Job Paperback

The Biblical Text as a Parable of Human Labor

by Antonio Negri;

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The Labor of Job

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"The Labor of Job" is an unorthodox interpretation of a canonical text of Judeo-Christian thought by the renowned Marxist political philosopher Antonio Negri. In the Old Testament book of Job, the pious Job is made to suffer for no apparent reason. The heart of the story is Job's quest to understand why he must bear, and why God would allow, such misery.

In conventional readings, the story is an affirmation of divine transcendence. When God finally speaks to Job, it is to assert his sovereignty and establish that it is not Job's place to question what he, God, allows. In Negri's materialist reading, Job does not recognize God's transcendence. He denies it, and in so doing becomes a co-creator of himself and the world. "The Labor of Job" was first published in Italy in 1990. Negri began writing it in the early 1980s, while he was a political prisoner in Italy, and it was the first book he completed during his exile in France (1983-97).

As he writes in the preface, understanding suffering was for him in the early 1980s 'an essential element of resistance...It was the problem of liberation, in prison and in exile, from within the absoluteness of Power'.Negri presents a Marxist interpretation of Job's story. He describes it as a parable of human labour, one that illustrates the impossibility of systems of measure, whether of divine justice (in Job's case) or the value of labour (in the case of late-twentieth-century Marxism).

In the foreword, Michael Hardt elaborates on this interpretation. In his commentary, Roland Boer considers Negri's reading of the book of Job in relation to the Bible and biblical exegesis. "The Labor of Job" provides an intriguing and accessible entry into the thought of one of today's most important political philosophers.

The Labor of Job by Antonio Negri was published by Duke University Press in November 2009. The ISBN for The Labor of Job is 9780822346340.

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Details for The Labor of Job

Author / Artist
Book FormatPaperback
PublisherDuke University Press (November 2009)
Number of Pages168
Thickness13 mm
Height213 mm
Width155 mm
Product Code2500745
Page last updated 24th August 2017
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