Saturday, November 19, 2011

Illuminating Job

The second of twenty-one engraved plates by William Blake illustrating (illuminating) the Book of Job.

You will notice a resonance in appearance between the face of God, enthroned in heavenly splendour and the face of Job whose self-contained world is about to be disrupted by Satan.

For Blake, Job's journey is one from a religion of pious complacency bound by moral rules and a transcendent deity ordering about the world to an internalized vision of his own existential participation in the divine life. God dwells within and has a human face. We dwell fully in God who imagines forth a world that inspires our life.

I have embarked on Christopher Rowland's "Blake and the Bible". Rowland is a distinguished Biblical scholar with a particular specialism in the interpretation of two of Blake's favourite books - Ezekiel and Revelation.

It is already proving to be a joy of lucid exposition and an illuminating lens through which to see Blake. Rowland boldly sets out to show Blake as a gifted and sophisticated interpreter of the Bible in a book beautifully produced by possibly the best university press in the world (sorry Oxford but it is Yale)!

The Book of Job has a happy resonance for me. My precocious brother, aged eleven or so, had embarked on reading the Bible and I, in sibling rivalry, set out on this too except I started at 'random' and was found by a startled mother one Saturday morning, aged eight or so, reading Job! What I made of it then I cannot recall excepting that I finished it and have returned to it many times subsequently until I expect it is the scriptural territory I am most familiar with (helped by both Blake and Jung)!

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