Elie Wiesel Revisits an Old Favorite: The Story of Job

elie Wiesel
Photo by Sergey Bermeniev

The story of Job is “representative of all members of the human family” said Elie Wiesel,  BU professor and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Monday night about the story of Job in his lecture, “In the Bible: Job Revisited”.

Wiesel spoke to a crowd of about 1,000 students, faculty and others at Metcalf Hall as part of his annual public lecture series “The Fascination with Jewish Tales: Three Encounters with Elie Wiesel”.

The lectures have been a popular event since the series started in 1975 and it was no different last night.  The line to get into the lecture snaked around the second floor of the George Sherman Union well before the doors opened.

Wiesel, a survivor of the Holocaust and a renowned author, has lectured on the story of Job before but he said he returns to it because it is timeless and timely and “like a fairytale for adults.”

He said that Job’s story is far-reaching because it could have taken place anywhere and everywhere, it is not clear if Job is actually Jewish, and that: “Job’s quest for meaning and concern for justice cannot not appeal to our own.”

The story encompasses “all moral problems and metaphysical dilemmas,” Wiesel said.

Among these dilemmas, are the struggles of indifference and silence, he said. “Silence helps the victimizer, never the victim,” Wiesel said. He also said that anything is preferable to indifference.

Wiesel also spoke about Job’s quest in keeping faith. “Job did not lose his faith he lost his mind,” he said.

Despite Job’s wretched tribulations, this adult fairy tale has a happy ending, Wiesel said. Just as starting over is an “essential component in Jewish history”, it is also how the story of Job ends, he said.

“It is a story not of beginnings, but of beginning again,” said Wiesel.

There are two more lectures in the series:

Monday, November 2 – “In the Talmud and Other Sources: Satan in Ancient Memories”

Monday, November 9 – “In Our Own Time: The Tragedy of the Saint Louis

Both lectures start at 7 pm.

He is also doing a book signing November 2 from 5 – 6 pm at Barnes & Noble BU.

Go here for more information.

About Heather Vandenengel

Heather Vandenengel (CAS '11) is a campus writer for the Quad.

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