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A Literary Bible: An Original Translation 0th Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1582435145
ISBN-10: 1582435146
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When Rosenberg first came to the Hebrew Bible, he did so convinced that he could interpret it within modern academic theory. Very quickly, he encountered voices so vibrant that they swept away such theoretical pretensions and set him on the daunting lifetime task of translating these voices into authentic vernacular English. The culmination of more than 30 years of labor, this impressive volume combines portions of 18 biblical books—from Genesis through Ezra—restoring to each passage the irresistible creativity and individuality of its now-forgotten author. Whether in the tautly engaging prose narrative of Exodus and Samuel or the strikingly direct poetic imagery of Isaiah and Job, readers feel an insistent human presence defying the barriers of time and culture. Though diverse in tone and mood, these translations deliver the force of minds for whom faith lives as something more than dry orthodoxy. Beyond the brilliant translations, the supplementary commentaries will reward readers disappointed by typical treatments of a dynamic ancient culture. A truly fresh reading of seminal scriptural texts. --Bryce Christensen

Review

"Audacity and originality...replacing the doubtful miracle of divine inspiration with the genuine miracle of poetic inspiration." --THE NEW REPUBLIC

"David Rosenberg treats the Bible as a literary work rich with fissures and mysteries.  Rather than insist on tidiness, as the conservative translators appear to, he delights in the work's innate messiness." --POETRY

"With more courage than most poets now could even imagine, Rosenberg's translations from the Hebrew Scriptures are the best in a century, without a doubt." --THE NATION

Praise for David Rosenberg

“Part of Rosenberg’s task was to produce a style of translation that might fairly represent a rocky magnificence . . . as if it belonged to a distinct individual . . . and on his own terms Rosenberg makes it work. Yet he expressly does not want his characters to speak a plain, familiar modern English like, for instance, that of the New English Bible . . . He is looking for modern readings, free of the muddles introduced into the understanding of these works by academics and religious commentators of all descriptions, and recognizable as living speech. He must somehow be modern as well as faithful to the past, reproducing where necessary the ancient, strange, “uncanny” vigor of J, the primary author . . . and to bear in mind ‘American poetry’s struggle with natural speech.’ On the whole it succeeds, and Rosenberg emerges with honor from his long wrestling match with an opponent who goes by the name of J.”
—Frank Kermode, New York Times Book Review (Jan. 3, 2010)

“Rosenberg’s new translation is as provocative and personal as ever . . . deeply poetic.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“A truly fresh reading of seminal scriptural texts.”
Booklist

Praise for The Book of J

"A great book . . . Rosenberg has produced a superb piece of translation." —Village Voice Literary Supplement

"Rosenberg’s innovative translation . . . re-creates a tone of modulated ironic grandeur.” —New Yorker

"David Rosenberg has given a fresh interpretative translation." —Washington Post Book World

"Surpassing originality." —New York Times

Praise for A Poet's Bible

"Rosenberg's translations from the Hebrew Bible are the best in the twentieth century without a doubt." —The Nation
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint (October 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582435146
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582435145
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,516,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Israel Drazin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
David Rosenberg does not present a Bible translation or Bible commentary; he offers his readers his own version of what he thinks the Bible is. Thus readers should not be surprised that Rosenberg omitted most of the Bible in his A Literary Bible.
While Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy released their version of the New Testament that omitted what they considered supernatural and, therefore, never could have happened; Rosenberg omits anything that does not fit his understanding of what should be in the Bible. Only about a half of the biblical books made it into his The Literary Bible. Most of Genesis, Exodus and Numbers are excluded, as well as all of Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Judges, Kings, Chronicles and others. Rosenberg made up for these absences by adding a book that is not in the Hebrew Bible, Judith.
In contrast to the methodology of Jefferson and Tolstoy, Rosenberg includes the miraculous plagues that God afflicted upon the Egyptians, but he omits the Ten Commandments.
However, despite these omissions, Rosenberg's translations are different than what people generally expect and therefore can cause people to think about what they are reading. Additionally, his explanations of the biblical text also prompt additional thoughts. His approach is based on the idea that the Bible was created by humans over a long period of time with sections interspersed with other somewhat unrelated or conflicting sections, even if the two or three sections cause difficulties.
The following are some examples of Rosenberg's translations of Genesis. They are compared to the translations of Robert Alter, which are very close to being a literal version of the Hebrew original.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have over 2 dozen Bible translations in my library. Some are beautiful, most are helpful in some way. Rosenberg's translation, however, are so vivid and effortless that I really feel like I've connected with the writer. The stories have texture and nuance that I've never seen before; it's a completely new experience for me in reading the Bible. I wouldn't recommend this as your only copy of the Bible, because Rosenberg hasn't chosen to translate everything we're used to in the Bible--but it deserves an honored place in your collection of Bible material.

You will be missing something very significant in your understanding of the Bible if you don't read this book. Highly recommended. (Formatted well on the Kindle, too.)
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Format: Paperback
Information missed by previous Biblical translators is covered here in A LITERARY BIBLE: AN ORIGINAL TRANSLATION, which re-examines ancient Hebrew to provide a translation capturing the lively voices of the past. Representing over 30 years of work, this gathers portions of some 18 Biblical books and extensive passages, providing a fine feel for the words of the times. A 'must' for any spirituality collection.
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Format: Hardcover
I took a class with Robert Alter at UC Berkeley, well known and respected for his translation of The Five Books of Moses and The Psalms, where I was able to get a deeper appreciation for the nuances of the books of the bible as a literary work. His translations, while decidedly more accurate than the King James version, did not seem to live up to the majesty and power of that translation. David Rosenberg's translation, however, brings out the beauty of the original work in words still English, but which feel as if you were reading Hebrew. Stunning, wonderful, and much needed.
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Format: Hardcover
David Rosenberg's scholarship is evident in his thoughtful "Epilogue," his skill as a poet extraordinary in the "Isaiah," "Song of Songs," and "Ecclesiastes" translations, and his dedication to this project invaluable. I cannot praise this book highly enough. A 'must-read' for anyone interested in a fresh translation of these texts.
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Format: Paperback
This Bible really brings out the beauty and poetry of the words and stories. I wish the author had done his version of all the books. It is a great supplement to use alongside a more standard translation. I read them parallel to each other and find it really enriches my study. It probably should not stand on its own, but if you want to see the beauty of the Bible come alive as it must have for its early readers, this is a great resource to try.
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