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JOB-erwocky: Making (Non)Sense of the World

February 4, 2023 , 3:00 pm 4:00 pm EST

Noon Pacific Time / 3:00 Eastern Time / 8:00 PM UK

Watch this presentation on nonce formation on YouTube.

Job, Alice in Wonderland and word coinage

The biblical book of Job is written in a unique dialect of ancient Hebrew, containing way more word coinage than any other book in the Bible. This early nonsense poetry employs nonce formation in a way that often parallels Lewis Carroll, and often shares the same purpose.

About Ryan Armstrong, Ph.D.

Dr. Armstrong makes use of his broad expertise to place rigorous philological scholarship of the Hebrew Bible in conversation with voices throughout history. From medieval rabbis to Christian reformers and Enlightenment artists, interpreters are emotionally invested in the words of the Bible. By understanding how diverse communities have related to these ancient texts, Armstrong uncovers ways for modern readers to relate to them. His recent work looks at the Book of Job with insights gained from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as it features debates between zany characters who describe the world through nonsensical poems that are full of nonce words. Take scholarly adventures with him on his YouTube channel, Bible and Culture with Dr. Armstrong!