Genesis : Translation and Commentary

4.09 (749 ratings by Goodreads)
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Genesis begins with the making of heaven and earth and all life, and ends with the image of a mummy-Joseph's-in a coffin. In between come many of the primal stories in Western culture: Adam and Eve's expulsion from the garden of Eden, Cain's murder of Abel, Noah and the Flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham's binding of Isaac, the covenant of God and Abraham, Isaac's blessing of Jacob in place of Esau, the saga of Joseph and his brothers. In Robert Alter's brilliant translation, these stories cohere in a powerful narrative of the tortuous relations between fathers and sons, husbands and wives, eldest and younger brothers, God and his chosen people, the people of Israel and their neighbors. Alter's translation honors the meanings and literary strategies of the ancient Hebrew and conveys them in fluent English prose. It recovers a Genesis with the continuity of theme and motif of a wholly conceived and fully realized book. His insightful, fully informed commentary illuminates the book in all its dimensions.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 137.16 x 208.28 x 25.4mm | 453.59g
  • WW Norton & Co
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 039331670X
  • 9780393316704
  • 96,020

Review quote

"Genesis remains our best single collection of perennial stories. Alter translates them glowingly, without slickness or archness. His running commentary illuminates the true language of life in both Hebrew and English." -- Roger Shattuck "Fluently readable.... As clear a window into primal darkness and the jeweled garden and the deeds of the patriarchs and matriarchs as we've likely to have in a long time." -- Chaim Potok - Philadelphia Inquirer Books "Alter's achievement is immensely impressive.... The illuminating notes alone make this volume indispensable for anyone wanting to do a close reading in English translation and understand all the possibilities of the original Hebrew." -- John A. Phillips - Boston Globe "Robert Alter's new translation unquestionably should find a place on the bookshelf of every lover of Genesis and the Bible." -- Jonathan Groner - Washington Post "Here is Genesis in all its power and presence.... Alter offers us an English prose as gravely cadenced as that of the King James Bible, and yet as fresh, precise, and strong as the best contemporary narrative can be." -- Robert Fagles, award-winning translator of The Iliad and The Odyssey "A masterly new translation." -- Time
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About Robert Alter

Robert Alter's ongoing translation of the Hebrew Bible, the magnificent capstone to a lifetime of distinguished scholarly work, has won the PEN Center Literary Award for Translation. His immense achievements in scholarship ranging from the eighteenth-century European novel to contemporary Hebrew and American literature earned Alter the Robert Kirsch Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Los Angeles Times. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, Alter is the Class of 1937 Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.
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Rating details

749 ratings
4.09 out of 5 stars
5 44% (328)
4 32% (243)
3 16% (120)
2 5% (40)
1 2% (18)
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