Published New Blackfriars Article

Publisher: New Blackfriars

Title: “Job’s Unfinalizable Voice: An Addendum to David Burrell’s Deconstructing Theodicy”




Modern theodicies often offer definitive explanations for the unsolvable problem of human suffering. This philosophical enterprise was challenged by David B. Burrell’s book, Deconstructing Theodicy: Why Job Has Nothing to Say to the Puzzle of Suffering (2008). His observations about the book of Job and the way it militates against theodical speculation are compelling, but there is a missed opportunity with his exegesis of Job 42:6. The Hebrew of Job’s last words can be translated in at least five distinct (and legitimate) ways. Using this grammatical characteristic, this paper argues that the ambiguity in 42:6 creates an “unfinalizable” quality that allows sufferers to be unsilenced and participate in the meaning‐making process. Situating the addendum with philosophical ruminations on theodicy, the argument turns to an exegetical section that comments on Burrell’s discussion in “Denouement and Epilogue” and analyzes the Hebrew grammar of Job 42:1‐6. This addendum compliments Burrell’s deconstruction of theodicy, adding a further pool of resources for sufferers to remain unsilenced and narrate their own questioning of God.

Article is available on Early View.



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