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The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary [Hardcover]

Robert Alter
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: 38.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

16 Nov 2004
Through a distinguished career of critical scholarship, Robert Alter's masterly new translation and probing commentary combine to give contemporary readers the definitive edition of The Five Books. Alter's translation recovers the mesmerising effect of these ancient stories - the profound and haunting enigmas, the ambiguities of motive and image, and the distinctive cadences and lovely precision of the Hebrew text. Alter's translation conveys the music and the meaning of the Hebrew text in a lyrical, lucid English. His commentary illuminates it with learned insight and reflection on its literary and historical dimensions.

Frequently Bought Together

The Five Books of Moses: A Translation with Commentary + Ancient Israel: The Former Prophets - Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings - A Translation with Commentary + The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary
Price For All Three: 72.00

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1120 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Slp edition (16 Nov 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393019551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393019551
  • Product Dimensions: 25.2 x 17.1 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 416,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Robert Alter's translation with commentary of The Five Books of Moses can be fairly described as a godsend." Seamus Heaney, Books of the Year, The Times Literary Supplement "In this remarkable translation... a monument of scholarship... Alter brings a kind of sensitivity to bear on moment after moment of his translation..." James Wood, London Review of Books "The commentary is at least as important as the translation, and the two together make up a unique contribution both to biblical studies and to the understanding and appreciation of a text that is central to Western culture." John Barton, The Times Literary Supplement "...a new translation with fascinating annotations..." Robert Crumb, Summer Books, The Guardian" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

ROBERT ALTER is the Class of 1937 Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. He has published many acclaimed works on the Bible, literary modernism and contemporary Hebrew literature.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Much of what I have to say in my commentary about the details of the narrative presupposes that Genesis is a coherent book, what we moderns would think of as a work of literature. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Five Books-- A Critical Review 2 Aug 2009
By Andre Lawrence TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Update: Jan. 2010
I wrote to Prof. Alter to inquire about any other biblical translations because, quite frankly, his translation (and, Prof. Everett Fox' translation) are some of the most exciting and intriguing books to be published in any genre. Here is Prof. Alter's response:

Dear Mr. Lawrence,

Many thanks for your enthusiastic response. The next installment of my Bible translations, the Wisdom Books (Job, Qohelet, Proverbs) will be published in October [2010].

All best,

Robert Alter
***** ***** *****

The Five Books Of Moses, a scholarly translation of The Torah by Dr. Robert Alter is nothing short of magnificent. I've been wanting a book such as this for quite some time and to be quite frank, I was greatly disappointed with the recently released Oxford Jewish Bible.

The Five Books of Moses, is just that a translation of the first five books of our Bible, but it also has substantial and thorough annotations which entices the reader to reconsider age-old beliefs about the text and how one perceives the patriarchs, matriarchs and the Torah in general.

In addition to the text, Dr. Alter offers alternative translations based on the oldest historical usage of individual words. In some cases, he also he focuses on the history of the letters and how that might affect translation.

This is an indispensable book and one that should be owned with Everett Fox' competing version of the same topic.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid sympathetic and readable translation 9 Jan 2011
This translation shows a real appreciation of the original Hebrew, as well as the wants of a modern Western reader. A wry sense of humour makes the commentary a jolly reference. The author also resists the temptation to show off his obvious learning and comments only on important or stylistic points. Highly recommended.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars alter, the five books of moses 21 Dec 2007
This book reveals just how much more there is to learn from an area that has been worked through from century to century. An indispensible guide to those who wish to learn, with new insights into the OT on every page.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent book with a must read introduction. It gives an outstanding insight into the so called Five Books of Moses in the Old Testament with some insightful commentary intriguing facts.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pentateuch 16 Jan 2012
Robert Alter has brilliantly translated the first five books of the Bible, enabling rythm and structure to be better appreciated. Sumptuously produced, this is heirloom quality.
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