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Genesis: Translation and Commentary By Robert Alter
Publisher: W. W. Norton&Company 1996 | 324 Pages | ISBN: 0393039811 | DJVU | 2.5 MB

The Book of Genesis is regarded as the bedrock of Western civilization and culture, its stories and language reverberating down the centuries. The author of this translation argues in his preface that English readers have not been well served by existing translations. While the "King James" version is a work of literature in its own right, which has greatly contributed to English literature, its translators did not know the Hebrew society and language well enough to be faithful to the original. Modern translations, on the other hand, tend to simplify the Bible, aiming above all to be easily understood, and thereby losing the ambiguities of the original and its music. This translation seeks to bring the great work to life; it has extensive footnotes which aim to throw light on the language and the world of Genesis. Whereas the "King James" version inevitably changed the ancient society of Genesis into an early English one, this translation tries to convey the subtle shades of its social and familial hierarchies. In it, the characters are portrayed as real human beings, complex and flawed, with bodies as well as voices. In capturing the cadences and meanings of the Hebrew Bible, the author attempts to convey its immense literary power.

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