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The Book of Job depicts the radical uncertainty that results when people try to comprehend God. Job has had an extraordinary influence on philosophy and literature, and its message on the limits of human knowledge has even been echoed in the words of great scientists. Surprisingly, however, it has had little influence on the rhetoric or approach of lawyers and judges. The legal profession, which confronts uncertain outcomes daily, has reduced uncertainty to a mundane calculation of odds, while ignoring the more fundamental idea of the unknown because that idea would paralyze legal work.


Inaugural Address as James and Catherine Denny Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC, February 26, 2009