The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary


Here, from a great scholar and gifted translator, is a landmark publication: the first single-author literary translation of the complete Hebrew Bible. Robert Alter’s award-winning translation delivers the Hebrew Bible as powerful, finely wrought literature, registering the distinctive meanings and rhythms of the ancient Hebrew in a lucid, supple English. The accompanying commentary offers readers authoritative insights on the literarary and historical dimensions of the text.

A masterpiece of deep learning and fine sensibility, Robert Alter’s translation of the Hebrew Bible, now complete, reanimates one of the formative works of our culture. Capturing its brilliantly compact poetry and finely wrought, purposeful prose, Alter renews the Old Testament as a source of literary power and spiritual inspiration. From the family frictions of Genesis and King David’s flawed humanity to the serene wisdom of Psalms and Job’s incendiary questioning of God’s ways, these magnificent works of world literature resonate with a startling immediacy. Featuring Alter’s generous commentary, which quietly alerts readers to the literary and historical dimensions of the text, this is the definitive edition of the Hebrew Bible.

Author: Robert Alter

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Date: 2019

Brian’s Briefs:

  • This three-volume set whether purchase in print, ebook or as an audible book, is worth the cost. While the print and ebook versions are not inexpensive, I personally don’t think any serious student of the Hebrew Bible will making this investment.
  • The audible book, while is lacks the commentary, is one of the finest readings of the Jewish Scriptures (or any Bible) that I’ve had the privilege of hearing. And it is significantly cheaper.
  • Too many of us only read translations that have very strong and very modern theological, academic and/or cultural influences. While no translator is without prejudices, I sense that Alter is sincerely trying his best to get his English readers the vividness of the original Hebrew.
  • His lengthy and academically written Introduction/Essay is revolutionary with regard to the major problem with modern translations, that is what he calls “The heresy of explanation.” As a student of Bible translation, I see this “heresy” over and over again in virtually all of the most popular translations

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