Date: 5th Century B.C.E.

The book of Job takes the form of a symposium, a dramatic dialogue or debate between a man who, though righteous, has been subjected to extreme suffering, and his friends, whose speeches alternate with Job's responses. It then culminates with speeches from the Lord. Readers through the centuries have debated the book's genre. Although it has characters and speeches it is not a drama, and though it engages in argument it is not a philosophical treatise. Some scholars have suggested a fruitful analogy from the classical Greek and Roman literary tradition: the "philosophical diatribe," a type of classical writing in which a particular viewpoint is presented as if it is being argued in a speech.