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Strong as Death is Love: The Song of Songs, Ruth, Esther, Jonah, and Daniel, A Translation with Commentary

Strong as Death is Love: The Song of Songs, Ruth, Esther, Jonah, and Daniel, A Translation with Commentary

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ISBN: 9780393243048    Publisher: WW Norton & Co Year of publishing: 2015     Format:  Hardback No of Pages: 256        Language: English
The Song of Songs; Ruth; Esther; Jonah; and Daniel offer readers a range of pleasures not usually associated with the Bible. As distant in time from the Five Books of Moses as Updike is from Shakespeare,...Read more
The Song of Songs; Ruth; Esther; Jonah; and Daniel offer readers a range of pleasures not usually associated with the Bible. As distant in time from the Five Books of Moses as Updike is from Shakespeare, these Late Biblical books are innovative, entertaining literary works. Women often stand center stage. The Song of Songs is a celebration of young love, frankly sensuous, with no reference to God or covenant. It offers some of the most beautiful love poems of the ancient world. The story of Queen Esther's shrewd triumph is also a secular entertainment, with clear traces of farce and sly sexual comedy. The character of Ruth embodies the virtues of loyalty, love, and charity in a harmonious world. Enigma replaces harmony in Daniel's feverish night dreams. The apocalyptic strangeness of Daniel echoes in works from the New Testament's Book of Revelations to the lyrics of Bob Dylan. And Jonah, the tale of a giant fish who, on God's command, swallows the prophet and imprisons him in his dark wet innards for three days, ends with a question that lingers, unanswered, leaving the reader to ponder the many limitations of humankind.
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About the author:
Robert Alter's ongoing translation of the Hebrew Bible, the magnificent capstone to a lifetime of distinguished scholarly work, has won the PEN Center... Read more
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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Review:
Encountering these books in this form-as ancient literature, laid out as poetry, with copious footnotes-allows you to be dazzled by their range, from the frank eroticism of the Song of Songs to the...Read more
Encountering these books in this form-as ancient literature, laid out as poetry, with copious footnotes-allows you to be dazzled by their range, from the frank eroticism of the Song of Songs to the bucolic idyll of Esther and the downright weirdness of Daniel." -- New Statesman "Robert Alter's continuing project of translating the Old Testament is perhaps one of the most important literary/religious endeavours of recent times...Alter adds new levels of richness and poetry to the text, while adding an illuminating commentary to untangle the snuggles of time." -- Catholic Herald "In each of the Biblical books in this volume a balance of explanation, translation and commentary is offered. In each of them the reader is made a partner in an adventure of scholarship and clarification which is both rare and exemplary. " -- Eavan Boland - The Irish Times
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