Reviews for Book of Psalms : A Translation With Commentary

Choice Reviews 2008 August
Because the Psalms in their long history have come to rank among the most frequently sung and prayed texts, reading them in any translation and with a clear mind is nearly impossible. The old and treasured words "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want" are so familiar to religious and nonreligious readers alike that any new translation is likely to be received with skepticism. Alter (Univ. of California, Berkeley) provides an introduction that gives the information--composition, purpose, use as liturgical texts, poetry of the psalms, translating--necessary to a new reading, along with a running commentary on each psalm that explains and enriches his translation. This translation is fresh, arresting, and provocative; the result is beautiful poetry that sounds and reads like new! Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. Copyright 2008 American Library Association.

Library Journal Reviews 2007 May #1
A new translation from Alter, whose recent rendering of the Books of Moses won praise from no less than Robert Fagles of Homeric fame. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Reviews 2007 November #2

Following his critically acclaimed 2004 translation of the Torah (The Five Books of Moses), Alter (Hebrew & comparative literature, Univ. of California, Berkeley) here turns his attention and considerable skills to the book of Psalms, taking great pains along the way to remain faithful to both the sense of the original Hebrew and the rhythms, metaphors, wordplay, and unique voice of its poetry. An extensive introduction explains Alter's philosophy of translation and the challenges faced by those rendering Hebrew text in English, and detailed, footnoted commentary gives philological, literary, and theological background and justifications for word choice and usage. A short list of resources for further reading is also included. Alter's translation may seem somewhat startling for readers more familiar with the verbose language of the King James Version, but it offers both clarity and fidelity to the meaning, meter, and nuances of the original Hebrew. Highly recommended for theological and academic libraries and for public libraries with large theological collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/07.]--Amanda K. Sprochi, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia

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