The Wisdom Books: Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes: A Translation with Commentary

The Wisdom Books: Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes: A Translation with Commentary

by Robert Alter
     
 

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First time in paperback: “One of the most ambitious literary projects of this or any age.”—Adam Kirsch, New Republic
Here in Robert Alter's bold new translation are some of the most magnificent works in world literature. The astounding poetry in the Book of Job is restored to its powerful ancient meanings and rhythms. The creation account

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Overview

First time in paperback: “One of the most ambitious literary projects of this or any age.”—Adam Kirsch, New Republic
Here in Robert Alter's bold new translation are some of the most magnificent works in world literature. The astounding poetry in the Book of Job is restored to its powerful ancient meanings and rhythms. The creation account in its Voice from the Whirlwind is beautiful and incendiary. By contrast, a serene fatalism suffuses Ecclesiastes with a quiet beauty, and the pithy maxims of Proverbs impart a worldly wisdom that is satirically shrewd. Each of these books addresses the universal wisdom that the righteous thrive and the wicked suffer in a rational moral order; together they are essential to the ancient canon that is the Hebrew Bible.

Editorial Reviews

Philadelphia Inquirer
Masterfully translated.— John Timpane
The New York Times Book Review
A master translator of Hebrew poetry.— Jon Meacham
John Timpane - Philadelphia Inquirer
“Masterfully translated.”
Jon Meacham - The New York Times Book Review
“A master translator of Hebrew poetry.”
Library Journal
The prolific Alter (Hebrew & comparative literature, Univ. of California, Berkeley; The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary) has provided a magnificent work of translation and commentary on the Old Testament books known as wisdom literature. In the books of Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, we find evocative poetic statements on the value of life, the role of suffering, and God's place in a moral order that often seems neither just nor ordered. This translation is superb. Alter's literary training gives this rendition a poetic edge over more prosaic translations. In some cases, he keeps previously loved images even when those are perhaps not quite right (the whirlwind in Job 38, for example, more properly translated as "storm"). In other places, he supplies gems, such as translating the names of Job's daughters (Dove, Cinnamon, and Horn of Eyeshade). Of equal importance is the commentary, which is rich in linguistic, historical, and literary insights that immeasurably enrich the reading of these texts. VERDICT Highly recommended for religion and seminary collections.—Sandra Collins, Byzantine Catholic Seminary Lib., Pittsburgh

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393340532
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
10/03/2011
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
394
Sales rank:
162,695
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(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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