The Book of Psalms (Paperback)
A Translation with Commentary
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393337044, 560pp.
Publication Date: October 19, 2009
Other Editions of This Title:
One of Newsweek’s Best Books of the Year and winner of the Robert Kirsch Award for Lifetime Achievement.
A cornerstone of the scriptural canon, the Book of Psalms has been a source of solace and joy for countless readers over millennia. This timeless poetry is beautifully wrought by a scholar whose translation of the Five Books of Moses was hailed as a “godsend” by Seamus Heaney and a “masterpiece” by Robert Fagles. Alter’s The Book of Psalms captures the simplicity, the physicality, and the coiled rhythmic power of the Hebrew, restoring the remarkable eloquence of these ancient poems. His learned and insightful commentary illuminates the obscurities of the text.
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Praise For The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary…
— Malcolm Jones
Alter is musically and poetically sensitive.... [He] takes us back to the essence of the meaning.
— James Wood
Extraordinary.... We never forget, with Alter's Psalms, that the text we are reading is the work of human hands—not Holy Writ, but something at once less and more than that, great poetry.
— Adam Kirsch
A considerable achievement.... Alter holds me to his darkly economical texts.
— Harold Bloom
It is impossible to overstate the depth, the versatility, and the value of Alter's contribution.
— Barbara Berman
One of the best outcomes of Alter's translation is a sense of an abrupt, muscular intensity; he restores to the Psalms a kind of strangeness that emanates from an encounter with a culture we recognize yet is distinctly alien to us, far removed in time and frame of mind.
— Mark Doty
Every reader of this translation will be led towards fresh thoughts and will discover favorites that inspire the imagination in new, rich ways.
— Walter Brueggemann
In his compelling and swiftly moving translations, Alter has thrust the reader back to the place where the monotheistic religions were born out of even more ancient beginnings.
The achievement of this new translation is to present the Book of Psalms as a wonder of ancient literature.