The Book of Job is the oldest book in existence. Place in the Bible between the books of Poetry and Wisdom, it stands alone among the books of the Old Testament.
Although deeply spiritual this book is not a religious one; there is no mention made of institution of Israel, whether temple, monarchy, prophets or priesthood.
The 2200 years old fragments of the manuscripts of the Book of Job, has been found between the Dead Sea Scrolls; these are the oldest survived manuscript of the entire Bible.
Scholarly opinion holds that the Book of Job has been inspired by God and was written by two authors, one who wrote a prose prologue and epilogue, and one who wrote a poetic middle section.
Authorship of the poetic middle section is attributed to Job, an Arabian Patriarch and King of Edom, who is also protagonist of this book.
This poetic middle section is a beautiful and inspiring work of literature. The leading English poet of Victorian age, Alfred Lord Tennyson, who studied Hebrew having a mind to translate The Book of Job, called it, the
"...greatest poem of ancient and modern times."
In the Westminster Abbey, on his monument, are written the words,
"I know that my Redeemer liveth," from The Book of Job, which he had asked to have been written upon his tomb.
The prologue and epilogue of the Book of Job, written in prose, are later addition to Job's poem. Authorship of these two is attributed to Moses, author of Torah, the first five books of the Bible.
The Book of Job, has deeply influenced our human society. Many people in ancient and modern times have been inspired and comforted by the piety and patience of Job.
In spring of 1940, as the Nazi broke ground for Auschwitz camp, a 19 years old student and aspiring actor Karol Wojtyla, had just finished writing his second play in nearby Krakow; Job, a drama based on The Book of Job. This play leads inevitably to the characteristic Wojtyla's divine whisper: "Be Not Afraid".
Later as John Paul II it would be his most repeated message whether in private audiences or the individuals within a very large crowd.
In 1822, at the age of 65, William Blake, English poet and painter, began work on 21 illustrations for The Book of Job. These works were later admired by John Ruskin, who compared Blake favourably to Rembrandt.
Victor Hugo, leading French poet, playwright, novelist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic Movement in France wrote about the Book of Job:
"Tomorrow, if all the literature was to be destroyed and it was left to me to retain one work only, I should save Job".
The Septuagint was translated into Konya Greek for the newly established library of Alexandria during the reign of King Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-247 BC.). Its oldest existing manuscript (Codex Vaticanus) was written in the fourth century AD.
In the Septuagint translation of the Book of Job, there is a long subscription; similar subscription is found in Arabic and Coptic version of the Bible.
Link to SEPTUAGINT - LXX - The Book of Job