A magnificent new volume in Robert Alter’s award-winning, landmark translation of and commentary on the Hebrew Bible.
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