The biblical character who goes “down the rabbit hole” into an alternate reality – similar to Alice in Wonderland

The Bible Book of Job begins on an atypical day within the land of Uz, where a person rigorously performs religious rituals to guard his children. This routine has never failed Job, who’s described as essentially the most righteous person on the planet. But on this special occasion, each of his children is killed when a robust wind causes their house to collapse.

That is not sensible! Job did nothing improper. Three friends visit Job and mourn with him. But An epic debate breaks out once they claim that if Job is the goal of God's wrath, he will need to have deserved it.

Job, then again, says that God did it deprived him of justice And demands a proof from the Almighty. Him and his friends argue through poetry -A”Rap battle“ with beautiful images, eloquent word play and sarcastic insults.

A faded illustration of an elderly man reaching for the sky while other figures kneel around him with their heads in their hands.
Job mourns along with his wife and friends.
William Blake/The Morgan Library via Wikimedia Commons

The book of Job is commonly touted as a literary masterpiece since it challenges fundamental beliefs. Many stories have been written about characters like Job, who find themselves in a topsy-turvy world where nothing works because it should. Suddenly they need to rethink their understanding of how the universe works.

As a scholar of the Hebrew BibleI see the closest parallels in one other classic book – but perhaps not one you’d expect.

Down the rabbit hole

Lewis Carroll's “Alice in Wonderland“, published in 1865, is a trademark of youngsters's literature since it stimulates curiosity. Like the book of Job, the novel turns literary conventions on their head and mocks elders, teachers, and non secular leaders—indeed, anyone who tries to let you know that life might be okay when you stop asking questions and follow the principles hold.

It begins with a bit girl named Alice who’s bored one afternoon until she sees a rabbit take a look at his pocket watch and declare that it’s late. She follows him down a rabbit hole and into Wonderland, a dreamlike place where cats disappear into thin air, babies turn into pigs, and caterpillars smoke hookah.

A rabbit in a tweet suit jacket holds a walking stick and studies a pocket watch.
The sight of the White Rabbit is just the start of Alice's disturbing adventures.
John Tenniel/The British Library via Wikimedia Commons

Everyday logic now not applies. Like Job, Alice must query her assumptions if she wants to know what is going on round her. Other fantasy worlds require swords, but Alice fights the incredible creatures of Wonderland with words. Like Job, her on a regular basis life is turned the other way up and he or she finds herself in a debate about reality.

Method to madness?

Each of those books pushes back against the simple answers and strict morals that were expected in each ancient wisdom literature And Victorian children's stories.

This is what proverbs teach within the time of Job Malice results in punishment. Among the bestsellers of Carroll's time was “Fatal effects of disobedience to folks“, a story about a bit girl who burned herself to the bottom after her parents told her to not play with fire.

The characters debating Job and Alice are desperate to search out such lessons within the midst of chaos.

Job’s friends claim that they’re “upright” people never suffer And Always enjoy divine protection – I’m not aware of it God has already recognized Job as “sincere.”.” They look silly as they search in vain for a sin to elucidate Job’s suffering, and scoff when he says there isn’t one.

A black and white drawing of four seated figures.  Three of them stare intently at the fourth, who looks up mournfully.
Job's friends torment him by wondering what he could have done to deserve such spoil.
William Blake/Lithoderm/Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, Alice competes against characters akin to the Duchess, who makes her a suggestion ridiculous suggestions concerning the moral of Alice's story. The Duchess scoffs when Alice suggests there isn't one.

Pun, not sword play

Job and Alice, then again, make fun of society's rules – for instance when singing Parodies of non secular songs.

Psalm 8, a hymn of praise within the Bible, expresses how beautiful it’s that Almighty God spends time caring for insignificant people. Work recites his own versionwho complains that it's petty for an infinite creator to spend a lot time testing people.

Carroll grew up listening to songs like “Against idleness and mischief“, written by Minister Isaac Watts to teach children that they should work hard like an innocent, busy bee. When Alice tries to remember this song, it comes out in wonderland logicwhere a scary crocodile eats small fish.

Both parodies sarcastically query the underlying assumptions of the unique poem. Is it all the time good to have God's attention? Is labor all the time good?

This shows how each books play with style, including intentional misspellings, rare and even made-up words, and elements borrowed from other languages. They coined lasting phrases like Job's “through the skin of my teeth” And “the basis of the matter“or Wonderlands”down the rabbit hole.”

A cartoon illustration of people and animals in a courtyard with rows of seats
The King and Queen of Hearts preside over an absurd trial in Wonderland.
John Tenniel/The British Library via Wikimedia Commons

These techniques give the language of Uz and Wonderland an otherworldly texture, far faraway from the books' original readership in Israel and England. Diction opens up countless possibilities for puns and puns and forces the reader to query fundamental assumptions about language.

Order in court

Ultimately, these stories encourage readers to reflect on a fundamental desire: justice. The adventures of Alice and Job each culminate in epic trials dominated by tempestuous authority figures. But if the protagonists can't even depend on the meaning of words, how can they depend on the law?

When Alice meets the ruler of Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts, “she frowns like a thunderstorm” and Alice is “too afraid to say a word.”

But she is dissatisfied with the Queen's arbitrary distribution of justice and gathers the courage to challenge her during a trial against the Knave of Hearts, who’s accused of stealing the ruler's tarts.

As the method progresses, Alice becomes increasingly courageous. While everyone else cowers in fear, she is willing to challenge court conventions once they are manipulated by those in power.

The expression of her protest seems to awaken her from Wonderland and back to the “real” world. The book ends on a note about how she is going to never lose “the simple and loving heart of her childhood”—that’s, she is going to not forget that children can have a good time for the sake of getting fun.

A faded illustration with a blue background depicting angels, people and large, fantastical animals.
God storms into the conversation.
William Blake/The Morgan Library via Wikimedia Commons

Back within the land of Uz, Job wishes that a judge would force God to elucidate why he’s being punished. Sure he hasn't done anything improper, he says he would Wear the accusations like a crown And refute every accusation.

God, aware of Job's innocence all along, never tried to punish him. In the center of the whirlwind the deity finally appears and Job puts his hand over his own mouth. It is It is difficult to argue with the Almighty.

Job had accused his friends that they were merely flattering God once they insisted that his “punishment” was the results of divine wisdom. In the top, God blesses Job for this speak truthfully – Use of a Hebrew word, “nekhonah,” which only occurs one other time within the Bible, where it’s against flattery.

It seems that when an ethical agenda doesn't fit reality, God delights in those that are honest – individuals who, like Job and Alice, speak truth to power.

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