“Job” by Alonso Berruguette, photo by Joseph Martin/Scala, Art Resource, New York, NY

A man “who feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1), this is Job. Yet, because of a wager between God and Satan, Job suffers outrageous torment, as dramatically portrayed in this 16th-century wood relief by Alonso Berruguette (c. 1468–1561). Why would God give Satan free rein to test Job’s piety? Author Freedman, in a radical departure from conventional scholarly interpretation, claims that God, just like Satan, does not know what is truly in Job’s heart—if he is faithful to God in order to serve God or only to protect his own interests. God, says Freedman, is not omniscient.

Berruguette, a Spanish sculptor and painter and a pupil of Michelangelo, sculpted Job for the cathedral of Toledo, Spain. At the height of his career, Berruguette served as court sculptor and painter to Charles V of Spain.