The Wisdom Books: Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes: A Translation with Commentary
Thrilling and constantly illuminating. After the still, small voices of so many tepid modern translations, here is a whirlwind.”See All
“The poets will rejoice. Alter’s language ascends to a rare purity through a plainness that equals the plainness of the Hebrew.”See All
“A considerable achievement... Alter holds me to his darkly economical texts.”See All
New York Review of Books
“Alter’s translation can be fairly described as a godsend. The foundational texts are here given their due in prose at once modern and magnificently cadenced. Immediately readable, immensely learned, an education and a restitution.”See All
Times Literary Supplement
“You think you know these texts, or you do until you read Alter, who reignites their beauty in bracing and unexpected ways.”See All
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Here, in Robert Alter’s bold new translation, are some of the most magnificent works in world literature. The astounding poetry in the Book of Job is restored to its powerful ancient meanings and rhythms. The account of creation in its Voice from the Whirlwind is a soaring and unforgettable challenge to the place of man in the universe. The serene fatalism that construes life as ephemeral and without purpose suffuses Ecclesiastes with a quiet beauty. The pithy maxims of Proverbs impart a worldly wisdom that is still sound and satirically shrewd.
Each of these books conveys and undermines the universal wisdom that the righteous thrive and the wicked suffer in a rational moral order; together they are essential to the ancient canon that is the Hebrew Bible. In Alter’s translation they regain the energy and force of the original, enhancing their ongoing relevance to the lives of modern readers.