The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary

The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary

by Robert Alter
4.1 11

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Overview

The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary by Robert Alter

A brilliant new translation and commentary of one of the Bible's most cherished and powerful books.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393062267
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 09/10/2007
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 688,552
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.60(d)

About 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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The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robert Alter, Ph.D. presents his translation and explanation for the 150 biblical Psalms. His work is truly a scholarly tome presenting the Psalms in their historical context and how they were intentionally or unintentionally influenced by translators and time. He reaffirms that original translators or editors organized the Psalms according to five books so the Psalms appear as divine as Moses' pentateuch. A marketing ploy in the ancient order? He describes how translations done over hundreds of years can accidentally or intentionally change the meanings of this great spiritual collection. Even simple and trivial letter swaps such as including a letter from one word to the following word dramatically altered the meaning of the original poem. Translation challenges also include how the translator altered the meaning of a Psalm by ignoring or substituting simple words when faced with complex concepts or unique words. The introduction to Alter's book is academically robust enough for someone who wants a dry explanation of the Psalms without an a lot of spiritual discussion. Dr. Alter numbers the Psalm chapters according the Masoretic, or the Hebrew numbering schema versus the Septuagint of Greek schema. This distinction is important for the reader who wants to make comparisons between Dr. Altar's collection and those in other textbooks. I particularly liked how Dr. Altar concurrently presented numbered footnotes on the same page as the text being studied. It was easy to maintain a focus on the Psalm presented at the top of the page and quickly glance at the explanation found at the bottom half of the page. He systematically explains syntax, rhythm, cadence and poetry of the psalms. It became easier to read the Psalms following Dr. Altar's explanation of the poet's tool called 'poetry related sequencing'. The poet starts a stanza or verse with a general comment that sets the tone for th Psalm. The poet then uses sequentially more specific verbs or nouns until the final verse contains the unequivocal action or unambigous meaning of the verse. Dr. Altar's book is meaningful for it's translations, grammatical explanations, and the eruditous way he explains an ancient written language. For these reasons The Psalms would be a meaningful addition to one's Psalm library. Other texts must be read for theologic or spiritual interpretation but Dr. Altar's tome is necessary for it's academic muscle.
KelleyZ More than 1 year ago
I'm using this as a devotional. One psalm per day, I read the psalm and then re-read it with Alter's comments. Then I journal my thoughts on it. It's really opened my eyes to some of the meanings behind the verbiage used. A truly remarkable book!
AmicusTE More than 1 year ago
I bought the e-book version of this book for the convenience of being able to reference it when my print copy was at home. Robert Alter's translation attempts to convey the understandings of the Hebrew text. His extensive commentary explains his translation choices and gives cultural background to the text. The arrangement of text and commentary in th e-book makes it easy to use.
Faith-That-Works 4 months ago
I’ve read other single translations of the book of Psalms: “The Complete Psalms” by Pamela Greenberg, “Psalms for Praying” by Nan Merrill, “The Psalms in Other Words” by Dom Hubert van Zeller, “A Book of Psalms” by Stephen Mitchell. Robert Alter’s “The Book of Psalms” excels them all in both content and commentary. Alter brings to bear his expertise of the Hebrew language, his sensitivity to Hebrew poetry, his grasp of linguistics and grammar, and his breadth of knowledge of biblical manuscripts. I loved it.
Faith-That-Works 4 months ago
I’ve read other single translations of the book of Psalms: “The Complete Psalms” by Pamela Greenberg, “Psalms for Praying” by Nan Merrill, “The Psalms in Other Words” by Dom Hubert van Zeller, “A Book of Psalms” by Stephen Mitchell. Robert Alter’s “The Book of Psalms” excels them all in both content and commentary. Alter brings to bear his expertise of the Hebrew language, his sensitivity to Hebrew poetry, his grasp of linguistics and grammar, and his breadth of knowledge of biblical manuscripts. I loved it.
Jimp99 More than 1 year ago
Robert Alter has written a number of outstanding translations and commentaries on the Hebrew Bible. The Book of the Psalms continues this work with a thought-provoking translation of the Psalms. The reader may at first feel a jarring sense of discord when he begins reading the Psalms as translated by Alter. However, as one studies the commentary provided, one is quickly reassured and amazed at the intricacy and beauty evoked by Alter's translation. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading the Bible and mining it for new meaning as well as the general reader who is reading the Bible as a cultural work of literature.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lame