The Five Books of Moses

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"A modern classic....Thrilling and constantly illuminating."—Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World
Through a distinguished career of critical scholarship and translation, Robert Alter has equipped us to read the Hebrew Bible as a powerful, cohesive work of literature. In this landmark work, Alter's masterly translation and probing commentary combine to give contemporary readers the definitive edition of The Five Books. Winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Translation and the Koret Jewish Book Award for Translation, a Newsweek Top 15 Book, Los Angeles Times Favorite Book, and San Francisco Chronicle Best Book.

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Editorial Reviews

Judith Shulevitz
Alter's magisterial translation deserves to become the version in which many future generations encounter this strange and inexhaustible book.
— The New York Times
Michael Dirda
Autumn, it seems to me, is the best time to read the Bible. The green world is turning mottled and brown, the evening grows dark ever more quickly, we feel the chill in the brisk morning air. In the fall we find ourselves turning naturally to mild philosophical meditation, reflecting in our vague way on the purposes of life, the passage of time, the petty affairs of humanity. For brief moments, we even view our own selves from a distance, sub specie aeternitatis. In such a mood one might profitably reread parts of either testament -- or take up Robert Alter's fine and thoughtful new version of the five books of Moses.
— The Washington Post
Library Journal
This new translation of the first five books of the Bible (i.e., Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) is a landmark study. Combining his vast knowledge of ancient Hebrew with the most recent scholarship, Alter (Hebrew & comparative literature, Berkeley; The Art of Biblical Poetry) seeks to reproduce as faithfully as possible in standard English the nuances, literary devices, and metaphors of the original Hebrew text. In doing so, he aims to show where many modern translations (including the King James Bible) have failed to represent the original Hebrew's varied nuances. In his commentary, found in the introductions to each book and on many individual verses, Alter expounds the theological meaning of the text's narrative in its larger biblical context. While acknowledging the scholarly consensus that the Pentateuch may have been composed of four literary sources (i.e., J, the Yahwist; E, the Eloist; P, the Priestly; and D, the Deuteronomic), his commentary seeks to examine the text in light of its own narrative structure. Highly recommended for all academic libraries and for public libraries with large religion collections.-Charles Murray, C.S.S., White Plains, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393333930
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/5/2008
  • Pages: 1120
  • Sales rank: 208,222
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Alter's ongoing translation of the Hebrew Bible, the magnificent capstone to a lifetime of distinguished scholarly work, has won the PEN Center Literary Award for Translation. His immense achievements in scholarship ranging from the eighteenth-century European novel to contemporary Hebrew and American literature earned Alter the Robert Kirsch Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Los Angeles Times. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, Alter is the Class of 1937 Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Table of Contents

Genesis 9
Exodus 299
Leviticus 539
Numbers 675
Deuteronomy 869
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2012

    Bad electronic rendition

    Great book but the many and valuable footnotes are largely just numbers without links to text and the entries don't appear in the notes section at all.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2012

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    Posted November 19, 2013

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    Posted September 17, 2010

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    Posted November 15, 2011

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    Posted July 19, 2011

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