The Wisdom Books: Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes translation, By Robert Alter


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The Independent Culture

After Genesis, Moses and Psalms, Alter tackles hard-core Old Testament in supple prose: "And to me came a word in secret, And my ear caught a tag-end of it."

Job's rebuke of his "comforters", Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, varies between plain-spoken ("wretched consolers are you all") and vivid metaphor: "like cheese you curdled me".

Alter's excellent footnotes point out problems such as "four different Hebrew terms for gold" that emerge as "fine gold" and "pure gold" etc.

It may be blasphemy in the 400th year of the King James Bible - but this Californian professor brings Job's ancient bickering more vividly to life.