and write a summary of it plus “eight years in jail followed by five years of probation and substance abuse counseling,” that is the sentence a South Carolina judge gave Cassandra Belle Tolley for seriously injuring two people while driving drunk.
On the abnormal part, the read the book of Job part, of this sentence, Claude Mariottini writes among other things,
The book of Job is a great book in the Bible, a book that has provided much comfort to people who are suffering. Will the book of Job also help cure alcoholism?
Claude makes two separate points before he raises his question. Point 1: “The book of Job is a great book in the Bible.” Point 2: Job “has provided much comfort to people who are suffering.”
As to Claude’s first point, I agree without reservation. Even in its final form, Job is among the greatest pieces of literature ever. Perhaps the only Biblical text that is greater than Job in its final form is a subset of Job, the dialogues of Job 3-26. Loren Fisher calls this portion of Job “Job II” or “The Rebel Job.” If Loren is correct, so great was this work that religious orthodoxy couldn’t tolerate it and buried it beneath text more acceptable to their orthodox beliefs.
As to Claude’s second point, I suspect that this is also true. But I’ve never understood why. The final form of the book depicts a capricious god playing a game with the accuser, but ultimately with Job. Sure Job is restored but to quite a different life than the one that was taken from him. I have always found Job very discomforting. And while I find Loren’s Rebel somewhat more confronting, it is the lack of religious orthodoxy that comforts.
As to Claude’s question, I very much doubt that Job or any part of it can cure alcoholism. In any case, the required substance abuse counseling will certainly do a lot more good for Ms Tolley.
Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars and Adam Peck at Think Progress have helpful posts on the issue of the constitutionality of the part of the sentence that calls for reading Job and writing a summery. It almost certainly isn’t.