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The Early Prophets: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings: The Schocken Bible, Volume II Hardcover – November 4, 2014
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in Everett Fox’s landmark translation of the Hebrew Bible.
The personalities who appear in the pages of The Early Prophets, and the political and moral dilemmas their stories illuminate, are part of the living consciousness of the Western world. From Joshua and the tumbling walls of Jericho to Samson and Delilah, the prophet Samuel and the tragic King Saul, David and Goliath, Bathsheba and Absalom, King Solomon’s temple, Elijah and the chariot of fire, Ahab and Jezebel—the stories of these men and women are deeply etched into Western culture because they beautifully encapsulate the human experience. The four books that comprise The Early Prophets look at tribal rivalries, dramatic changes in leadership, and the intrusions of neighboring empires through the prism of the divine-human relationship. Over the centuries, the faithful have read these narratives as demonstrations of the perils of disobeying God’s will, and time and again Jews in exile found that the stories spoke to their own situations of cultural assimilation, destruction, and the reformulation of identity. They have had an equally indelible impact on generations of Christians, who have seen in many of the narratives foreshadowings of the life and death of Jesus, as well as models for their own lives and the careers of their leaders.
But beyond its importance as a foundational religious document, The Early Prophets is a great work of literature, a powerful and distinctive narrative of the past that seeks meaning in the midst of national catastrophe. Accompanied by illuminating commentary, notes, and maps, Everett Fox’s masterly translation of the Hebrew original re-creates the echoes, allusions, alliterations, and wordplays that rhetorically underscore its meaning and are intrinsic to a timeless text meant to be both studied and read aloud.
“Fox’s translation creates a wild reserve where biblical narration roams free. . . . It takes a gutsy translator—especially of the Holy Writ—to countenance mystery, much less messiness. Fox is faithful not only to the text but also to his readers, and he trusts our ability to manage ambiguity. . . . In a field where divinely enabled delusion is an occupational hazard, Fox’s unwillingness to polish away jaggedness and doubt, his consciousness of the beautiful human mess involved in producing even a Bible, may be his boldest contribution.” —Avi Steinberg, The New Yorker
“In this remarkable volume of translation, Everett Fox has invaded our common assumptions about the Bible, extracted accents and cadences, and brought the text home to us in fresh and compelling ways. . . . He offers succinct notes of commentary that are well informed by current scholarship and that consistently take a commonsense, balanced position. His work will provide a lively script for the performance of the text in Jewish and Christian communities of faith. This is an immense accomplishment [and] Fox is to be celebrated for his singular achievement. It is the sound of faith that is knowing, empowering, ironic, and summoning.” —Walter Brueggemann, Christian Century
Praise for Everett Fox’s The Five Books of Moses
“Stunning . . . This refreshing and authoritative new translation makes it possible for us to take up the Scripture as if we had never seen it before, as if we were listening to its being read aloud for the first time.” —Edward Hirsch, The New York Times Book Review
“Those who have been looking for an English translation of the Hebrew Bible that will, at last, let them glimpse the vitality of the Hebrew text will treasure this new translation and will wait expectantly for more translations from Fox.” —Edward Mark, The Boston Globe
“Fox’s translation has the rare virtue of making constantly visible in English the Hebraic quality of the original, challenging preconceptions of what the Bible is really like. It is a bracing protest against the bland modernity of all the recent English versions of the Bible.” —Robert Alter, University of California, Berkeley
“No serious Bible reader—whether Jewish, Christian, or secular—can afford to ignore this volume.” —Jon D. Levenson, Harvard Divinity School
“A remarkable and impressive achievement. Anybody who wants to find out what the Bible really says, instead of merely enjoying a decorous experience, should study this translation and Fox’s excellent notes for fresh insights that delight as often as they instruct.” —Karen Armstrong, author of A History of God
About the Author
- Publisher : Schocken (November 4, 2014)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 880 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0805241817
- ISBN-13 : 978-0805241815
- Item Weight : 3.32 pounds
- Dimensions : 7.45 x 1.98 x 9.98 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #277,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In the preface Everett Fox explains his translation philosophy: “Published works give an impression of finality, but in truth there is no end point for the translator, either in concept or in execution—only the ongoing attempt to draw nearer to the source. And like the experience of the performer on the stage or in the concert hall, the translator's perception of the source alters with time. It is only natural that I have made changes in my work over the years, from certain aspects of the overall approach to the rendering of individual words and phrases. The publication of this book gives me the opportunity to briefly explain some of them.
I remain convinced that the best way to translate biblical texts is to try to reflect their aural quality. Whatever the Bible's origins, it is clear that most writing in antiquity was read aloud, and so to experience the Bible in its spokenness is a vital way to draw nearer to it. … My translation, therefore, aims to highlight features of the Hebrew text that are not always visible or audible to Western audiences.”
Everett’s work will be treasured and placed alongside only a few unique modern translations. He balances the fine line between readability and literalness, clarifying and illuminating the text in ways that the common literal translations do not.