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on 9 January 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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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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on 21 December 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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on 20 January 2012
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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on 16 January 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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on 22 July 2014
I already had the hard back but wanted this to take on holiday. I like his litery angled comentary which balances/ compliments nicely against others like Artscroll.
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on 27 November 2014
A reference book to be used when looking at Hebrew foundational stuff.
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