Viktor Frankl and the Book of Job: A Search for Meaning

By Marshall H. Lewis

An analysis of the Book of Job and its themes of meaning and suffering through the writings of the existential psychologist Viktor E. Frankl.

ISBN: 9780227177273


As a Holocaust survivor, neurologist and psychiatrist Dr Viktor E. Frankl had a personal stake in the effectiveness of his approach to psychology: he lived the suffering about which he wrote. With this new reading of the Book of Job, Lewis further develops Frankl’s concept of Logotherapy as a literary hermeneutic, presenting readers with the opportunity to discover unique meanings and clarify their attitudes toward pain, guilt, and death.

Key issues emerge from the discussion of three different movements, which address Frankl’s concept of the feeling of meaninglessness and his rejection of reductionism and nihilism, the dual nature of meaning, and his ideas of ultimate meaning and self-transcendence. Discovering meaning through participation with the text enables us to see that Job’s final response can become a site for transcending suffering.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 148

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Marshall H. Lewis is a psychotherapist and logotherapist who has practised for over thirty years. He is a frequent speaker on Viktor Frankl’s theory and serves on the faculty of the Viktor Frankl Institute of Logotherapy. His graduate training in psychology and doctoral training in Bible, culture, and hermeneutics led him to write this book.


List of Illustrations
Foreword by Alexander BatthyƔny

1. The Terrible Paradox of Suffering
2. Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy
3. Logotherapy and Hermeneutics
4. Job and Frankl’s Existential Vacuum
5. Job and Frankl’s Will to Meaning
6. Job and Frankl’s Self-Transcendence
7. The Eyes of a Child



Endorsements and Reviews

Applying Frankl’s logotherapy to the Book of Job, Lewis sees Job as one forced to make sense of what appears to be an absurd situation. A fresh reading of both Frankl and Job, Lewis, following Frankl, argues that while any experience can be made meaningful, in the end we are sometimes better off accepting a world in which suffering has no meaning, at least at present. A bold and ambitious reading that respects the text of Job as much as it does the texts of Frankl, the book uses Frankl to construct a new hermeneutic of reading.
C. Fred Alford, Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland, College Park, author of After the Holocaust: The Book of Job, Primo Levi, and the Path to Affliction