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Job

god devil sculpture wife

The story of Job is told in the Old Testament book which bears his name. He was a very rich and extremely devout man but was forced to go through a gruesome series of tragedies and physical sufferings. The *Devil accused Job of remaining pious only so long as he remained prosperous and felt protected by *God. God gave the Devil permission to test Job, which resulted in Job losing his goods, sheep, cattle, *shepherds, servants, and his children and other family members; finally the Devil caused Job to be covered with sores all over his body. Job suffered and lamented but did not curse God in spite of the urgings of his wife and the words of his friends. Eventually, God restored his fortunes in double, and Job produced ten more children. The story of Job is an exposition on the causes for human suffering and a powerful tale of faith in the face of extreme adversity. Saint *Gregory the Great’s Commentary on the Book of Job describes Job’s sufferings as prefiguring those of *Christ.


The subject of Job was extremely popular throughout early Christian and medieval art, both in narrative cycles and individual scenes. Job, covered with sores, seated on a dungheap , appears in early Christian catacomb frescoes and sculpture. Job’s wife may be shown standing nearby, scolding him, holding her nose against the stench or throwing a bucket of water on him. Pictures of Job appear in medieval manuscripts and frequently in Romanesque and Gothic portal sculpture. He is the patron saint of lepers and plague victims.

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