Original Research - Special Collection: Nicholas Allen Festschrift

Preliminary ideas on a substratum text of Job and the depiction of Šaddāy

Margaretha J. Kruger
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 57, No 1 | a2967 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v57i1.2967 | © 2023 Margaretha J. Kruger | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 April 2023 | Published: 02 November 2023

About the author(s)

Margaretha J. Kruger, School of Ancient Languages, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


The meaning or derivation of the lexeme Šaddāy remains a topic with little to no consensus in modern scholarship. Most studies done on Šaddāy lean strongly on etymological arguments to support whatever derivative is argued for. The result is that the pragmatic role of Šaddāy, in whichever biblical book, is often neglected. In particular, the pragmatic role of Šaddāy in the book of Job has not been adequately examined. With a pragmatic analysis in mind, this article hopes to achieve the following: Firstly, for a review of gaps in the relevant literature, a short overview of studies related to the lexeme Šaddāy will be given, which includes etymological studies, philological studies, religious-historical studies, as well as contextual, and comparative studies. Secondly, a description of substratum text studies will be given, and an analysis of the pragmatic role of Šaddāy in the book of Job. The methods involved for this analysis include linguistic and literary-critical. Lastly, this study will look at how this approach can change our understanding of the possible conceptualisations of Šaddāy.

Contribution: Firstly, this article contributes to the discussion of the pragmatic roles of Šaddāy and other deities that appear in the book of Job. Secondly, this article is also particularly applicable to the interpretation of the nature of the godhead or early pantheon in the substratum text of Job.


Conceptualisations of deities; Šaddāy; Material representation; Book of Job; Nature of the godhead; pragmatic roles of Šaddāy


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