“The historical witness of Bede, Rabanus Maurus, and others, however, cites Job as an instance of epic comparable to the classical epics. The identification implies both a medieval theory of epic and its derivation from Homeric and Virgilian models. It prompts us to ask not only how the people of the Middle Ages read the Book of Job, but also how they read the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Aeneid. As we shall see, medieval commentators grouped them together as examples of a single literary kind not because of any perceived formal similarity but because they conveyed the same message, taught the same truth. By the early Middle Ages, the allegory of classical epic had become so identified with epic itself in the reading process— a practice that systematically joined text with interpretation—that commentators had no trouble accommodating radical formal dissimilarities among epic works, both pagan and Christian."