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The Tables of the Law (Austrian-German Culture Series) [Paperback]

Thomas Mann , H. T. Lowe-Porter
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Jun 1990 Austrian-German Culture Series
The Tables of the Law recounts the early life of Moses, his preparations for leading his people out of Egypt, the exodus itself and the incidents at the oasis Kadesh, and the engraving of the stone tables of the law at Sinai. In Thomas Mann’s ironic and telling style, this most dramatic and significant story in the Hebrew Bible takes on a new (and at times, witty) life and meaning. Like Joseph and His Brothers, it represents Mann’s art at its best. He who dares to retell the story of the exodus must be bold, but to succeed he must be inspired as well. Here one would say Mann was inspired.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Black Swan Books (Jun 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0933806639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0933806634
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,397,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Brilliant... a little masterpiece.' (Chicago Sun )

'Can rank with the best of Mann's writing.' (The Boston Globe )

'Beautiful ... one of the best short novels he has written.' (New York Times Book Review ) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Thomas Mann won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929 and is widely recognized as one of the preeminent European writers of the 20th century. Among his best known works are Buddenbrooks, The Magic Mountain, Death in Venice and Confessions of Felix Krull. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Moses and monotheism 2 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover
Thomas Mann was one of the great writers to arise during the twentieth century. He was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1929. Mann is best known for Buddenbrooks, his first and perhaps most characteristic novel; although in this country The Magic Mountain may be more widely read, and his short story Death in Venice most often assigned. Yet among his best work is also some of his least known.

Later in life, Mann turned to biblical sources, and produced what some consider his greatest work, Joseph and His Brothers, which came out as a tetralogy. Here, after Mann had finished Joseph, we find a novelette, The Tables of the Law.

It begins, "His birth was irregular, hence it was he passionately loved order, the absolute, the shalt and shalt not." Near the end, "Then he descended the hill with the Law under his arms." What happened in between left its mark on Western civilization.

In passing, it should be said that if you were to read Mann's work in German, then as translated into English by Helen Lowe-Porter, you might find that you are not missing much.

As produced by Knopf, The Tables of the Law is a slim, elegant hardcover book with unusual typography and layout. It is readily available on the used-book market.

Note: Out of print for many years, The Tables of the Law is now available in a new translation commissioned by Paul Dry Books.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moses and monotheism 26 May 2010
By Dawson C. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Thomas Mann was one of the great writers to arise during the twentieth century. He was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1929. Mann is best known for Buddenbrooks, his first and perhaps most characteristic novel; although in this country The Magic Mountain may be more widely read, and his short story Death in Venice most often assigned. Yet among his best work is also some of his least known.

Later in life Mann turned to biblical sources and produced what some consider his greatest work, Joseph and His Brothers, which came out as a tetralogy. Here, after Mann had finished Joseph, we find a novelette, The Tables of the Law.

It begins, "His birth was irregular, hence it was he passionately loved order, the absolute, the shalt and shalt not." Near the end, "Then he descended the hill with the Law under his arms." What happened in between left its mark on Western civilization.

In passing, it should be said that if you were to read Mann's work in German, then as translated into English by Helen Lowe-Porter, you might find that you are not missing much.

As produced by Knopf, The Tables of the Law is a slim, elegant hardcover book with unusual typography and layout. It is readily available on the used-book market.

Note: Out of print for many years, The Tables of the Law is now available in a new translation commissioned by Paul Dry Books.
5.0 out of 5 stars Mann goes back to the Biblical well with great results 14 Aug 2014
By Jessica Weissman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mann spent a good part of his writing life on Biblical subjects, notably the incomparable four-volume Joseph and His Brothers. This is a witty and delicious novella tracing what happened when there arose a Pharoah who knew not Joseph. Forget your attachment to the traditional story, as Mann alters it somewhat, but sit back and enjoy the ride. Keep the context in mind; Mann was commenting on contemporary German politics under the guise of this tale.

This translation is much fresher than the standard Lowe-Porter, well worth your money in my opinion.
4.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Moses as man and leader 25 Mar 2014
By Roy Coxe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting and plausible explanation of some of the elements of the story of Exodus. Very well written and an excellent translation.
5.0 out of 5 stars a wondeful book good translation 2 July 2011
By tine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very good book to get a literary representation of Moses; a view of him through a great Writer's ability to visualize and bring him to life.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A solid addition to any literary fiction collection 12 Sep 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
To present the foundation of law for half the world is no simple task. "The Tables of the Law" is a historical title following Moses as he is tasked by God to present the Ten Commandments, providing a human and much different insight on the role of Moses as the Prophet of God. Expertly translated, "The Tables of the Law" is a solid addition to any literary fiction collection.
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