`We Admire Stand-up Guys'

Job reaches across the millennia to express modern Man's outrage at today's inequities. The Book of Job's tone is not a weary resignation to life's unfairness. Rather, it is a sustained note of defiance. The book's message is not that we should accept the dictates of Fate, but rather that we should object to Authority's injustice or unconcern, and assert our morality as best we can.

... My book is about that kind of dissidence, the kind of challenge to Authority exemplified by Job. Driving it is the innate need for the individual to confront and resist the unfair reality of happenstance, and to submit only to the dictates of conscience. That is the dissidence that leads to dignity, and is a force that has transformed our world.

Just as the articulate dissidence of a man like Andrei Sakharov helped to bring down the Soviet tyranny; just as the silent witness of Wei Jingsheng will one day lead to the political redemption of a billion Chinese; so the biblical Job's refusal to resign himself to the seeming caprice of Fate forced God out of hiding and called him to account for moral mismanagement of the universe.

In our time, the triumph of the political dissident has led to an explosion of freedom, reaching to almost half the population of the world. ... The obligation of Man to hold even the highest authority accountable for injustice was first set forth in the most controversial, irreverent, and daringly subversive pages of the Bible - the Book of Job.

... We are fascinated with Job because, now more than ever, we admire stand-up guys. People today are attracted to heroes who get into trouble by defying the powers that be. We identify with the gutsy little guy defying distant Authority, shaking a fist at Establishment fiats, getting on the cases of ukases, and demanding a hearing or even a share of Authority's power....

The Book of Job is more than an early expression of anguish in beautiful literary form. It is a provocative, even inflammatory body of radical writing produced by a mind determined to change his world....

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