Book of Job Allusions & Cultural References
Technically, the Bible is probably the most alluded to work, ever. Let's take a closer look.
Literary and Philosophical References
J.B. by Archibald MacLeish
This Pulitzer Prize-winning play, published in the early 1950s, retells the story of Job through the eyes of two circus performers who take on the roles of Satan and God. Job is a banker who loses everything, and in the end, he refuses to take his old life back. Wait a second…that's not how we remember it going down....
God's Favorite by Neil Simon
This old-school Broadway play acts out Job's drama in a mansion in Long Island. In this adaptation, Job ends up on the out and out. What do you think—is Job better or worse with a happy ending? We know it's a bummer to leave him in the ashes with no new life, but wouldn't it make more sense?
Job: A Comedy of Justice, Robert Heinlein
This sci-fi rendering of Job won the Nebula award back in the '80s. In this version, the Job character ends up visiting both Heaven and Hell (hey, it's sci-fi) where he finds more than he bargained for. We love us some Robert Heinlein, and this is no exception.
Pop Culture References
South Park, Season 5, Episode 6
Welcome to Cartmanland, where no one except Eric Cartman is allowed in. When Kyle gets bummed about Cartman's success, his parents read him the Book of Job. Kyle is not amused, and renounces his Jewish faith after hearing the story. Oops.
Manhattan, Woody Allen
In this classic film, Woody Allen drops one of the best compliments ever. He says that if his girlfriend Tracy were around back then, God would have solved Job's problems by pointing to Tracy and identifying himself as her creator, too. Job, upon seeing such a beautiful a woman, would have immediately laid down his arms against God in the knowledge that hey, he got the short end of the stick, but God is A-okay.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
When summoning the Kraken, Davy Jones channels the Book of Job, saying, "Let this day be cursed by we who ready to wake the Kraken." The Jobiness we here is "Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning" (3:8). Pop culture is sneaky, see? It channels biblical literature and makes it its own.