Fact or fiction?
John Goldingay responds to this question by suggesting that the book may well be based on some historical person and his experiences of suffering. Awful things to happen to people. However, given the poetic nature of the book, along with the hyperbole that we find at the beginning and the end of the book, it is likely that real-life events became the stimulus for imaginative reflection. Bear in mind that we do not judge a parable according to whether we think that the events it describes really happened. The reference to Job in James 5:11, suggests Goldingay, is not determinative in this matter.