A Bit of Meanness

The stated purpose of today’s class was to finish our discussions of Job and J.B., and we did both.

Not blogworthy.

The fun bit was what I did between lessons. I gave each class a spiel about making sure they’re still reading and all that. (Never mind that the rest of class is dedicated to portfolio revision.) Then I presented these questions, two at a time, on the projector screen, so that they could not see more than a pair at a time:

1. Who is the main speaker in Job chapters 32-37? (These are the first six chapters you read for toay.)

2. What are three characters who come into J.B. in scene nine? (This is the first scene you read for today.)

Not a bad start, right? If they read, they’ve got these down. (The answers, BTW, are Elihu for one and Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar for two.) Then I followed up with these:

3. In ten words or fewer, say what happens in the last eight verses of Job. (In other words, don’t try to reproduce all the details.)

4. In ten words or fewer, say what Nickles intends to do when he approaches J.B. in the second-to-last scene.

A little harder, but still nothing to worry about. The ending of Job is well-known, and Nickles’ trying to push J.B. to suicide is the turning point of the play. Then they got rougher:

5. Name three natural phenomena that pop up in YHWH’s speech in Job 38-41.

6. In ten words or fewer say what J.B. and Sarah do as J.B. ends.

At this point many students started looking at me like I was trying to kill them. Both of these are available in the text, but one would have had to read quite carefully. But the next set I put up got the whole class glaring:

7. According to the textual notes on Job 33:30, what Hebrew phrase did the translators choose against, and which text did they choose instead to use?

8. Who speaks the last line of King James Bible in J.B., and what is the line?

At this point segments of the class were mad, despairing, panicked, resigned, and all sorts of things. Writing this an hour after my last class ended, I can’t even answer them. But then, of course, I hit them with these, straight face unbroken:

9. True or False: You are a credulous and gullible soul for taking this quiz for no good reason.

10. What is today’s date?

Without prompting about half the class wadded their half-sheets of notebook paper up and threw them at me.

What a great job!

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