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The Labor of Job: The Biblical Text as a Parable of Human Labor - New Slant: Religion, Politics, Ontology (Paperback)
  • The Labor of Job: The Biblical Text as a Parable of Human Labor - New Slant: Religion, Politics, Ontology (Paperback)
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The Labor of Job: The Biblical Text as a Parable of Human Labor - New Slant: Religion, Politics, Ontology (Paperback)

(author), (translator)
£19.99
Paperback 168 Pages / Published: 24/11/2009
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In The Labor of Job, the renowned Marxist political philosopher Antonio Negri develops an unorthodox interpretation of the Old Testament book of Job, a canonical text of Judeo-Christian thought. In the biblical narrative, the pious Job is made to suffer for no apparent reason. The story revolves around his quest to understand why he must bear, and why God would allow, such misery. Conventional readings explain the tale as 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 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 labor, one that illustrates the impossibility of systems of measure, whether of divine justice (in Job's case) or the value of labor (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.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822346340
Number of pages: 168
Weight: 227 g
Dimensions: 216 x 156 x 13 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Antonio Negri takes the ideas he developed in reading Spinoza, the Jewish heretic, and brings them to bear on one of the most crucial texts of orthodox Christianity to show how much unrealized potential for radical change persists even within those theoretical formations that seem the most monolithic and reactionary. Negri's approach prefigures efforts by philosophers such as Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou, and Giorgio Agamben to re-read the history of Christian thought against the grain. It also connects to and explicates the language of Christian asceticism that informs Empire."- Timothy S. Murphy, coeditor of The Philosophy of Antonio Negri and editor and translator of Antonio Negri's Subversive Spinoza
"Job regards God, according to Negri, not as judge or father or even as the source of discipline and mediation, but merely as antagonist, the locus of an empty, unjust command. There is no more question of measure-equating sins and punishment or virtues and rewards-that could support a conception of divine justice. But Job is not powerless. . . . According to Negri's reading he stands before God angry, indignant, unrepentant, and rebellious."-from the foreword by Michael Hardt, co-author, with Antonio Negri, of Empire and Multitude
"The book of Job is the first (and, in many ways, still unsurpassed) exemplary case of the critique of ideology, teaching us how to resist legitimizing our misfortunes with any kind of 'deeper meaning'--and who is more suitable to actualize this book for our times as Antoni Negri? In his hands, The book of Job turns into a revolutionary text, into a true manual of resistance."-Slavoj Zizek

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