Allusive and Elusive: Allusion and the Elihu Speeches of Job 32–37


Elihu is among the most diversely evaluated characters in the Hebrew Bible. Attending to the inner-Joban allusions in the Elihu speeches (Job 32–37) provides both an explanation and appreciation for this diversity. After carefully defining allusion, this work identifies and interprets twenty-three allusions in Job 32–37 that refer to Job 1–31 in order to understand both their individual significance in the Elihu speeches and their collective significance as a compositional feature of the unit. This allusiveness is shown to both invite and explain the varied assessments of Elihu’s merits in the history of interpretation.

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Cooper Smith, Ph.D. (2019), Wheaton College, is Adjunct Instructor at Trinity Christian College (Palos Heights, IL) and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Deerfield, IL). He has published and presented on a variety of topics related to the book of Job and inner-biblical intertextuality.
Those interested in the interpretation of the final form of the Book of Job (especially Job 32–37), the identification and function of biblical allusions within a single book as well as those interested in a constructive definition of allusion with full engagement with relevant literary theory.
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