Monday, January 07, 2019

Job's New Being: Reflections in Clay Sculpture by Jill Williams

One of my advanced students in last semester's Hebrew Bible seminar, Jill Williams, presented a sculpture of Job as her final project accompanied by exegesis and theological reflections in Job's ultimate transformation in the book.


Jill reports that a crucial decision for her was which posture to place Job in. "The posture itself should embody the paradoxes I believe Job’s existence now encompasses. I chose to put Job down on one knee in the dust and ashes. By placing Job in this position, the sculpture reveals how Job shows that he has one part of himself kneeling in honor and in awe of the Lord, while he still has one part of himself trying to stand up." Here I believe that Jill has discovered an exemplary spiritual posture that Abraham also exhibited in Genesis 18. There, Abraham, who has done no wrong, approaches God in both lowliness (“…I who am but dust and ashes”) and determination (God expects and even waits for Abraham’s challenge). Jill goes on to write, "It is a continual internal struggle to stand as a man in front of the Lord, to retain something of one’s own self, while at the same time surrendering everything that you are to God. This is a continual sacrifice... Is Job being pushed into the dust and ashes or rising out of it? Yes. Both. This is one of the paradoxes."

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