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The David Story: A Translation With Commentary of 1 and 2 Samuel [Hardcover]

Our Price $ 25.50  
Retail Value $ 30.00  
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Item Number 158019  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   410
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.56" Width: 6.44" Height: 1.38"
Weight:   1.69 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 30, 1999
Publisher   W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN  0393048039  
EAN  9780393048032  

Availability  0 units.

Alternate Formats List Price Our Price Item Number Availability
Hardcover $ 30.00 $ 25.50 158019
Paperback $ 18.95 $ 16.11 158012 In Stock
Item Description...
Outline ReviewThere are countless good reasons to read The David Story, Robert Alter's new translation of the story of King David (beginning in I Samuel and ending in I Kings 2). In the book's introduction, Alter contends that the story of David is "probably the greatest single narrative representation in antiquity of a human life evolving by slow stages through time, shaped and altered by the pressures of political life, public institutions, family, the impulses of body and spirit, the eventual sad decay of the flesh. It also provides the most unflinching insight into the cruel processes of history and into human behavior warped by the pursuit of power." Alter's translation is more literal than the King James version, which makes his rendering of Scripture newly immediate and jarring. (When Samuel anoints David in I Samuel 16, for instance, "the spirit of the LORD gripped David from that day onward.") This David Story is worth reading for the footnotes alone, which describe in vivid detail the mechanics of sheep-shearing festivals, sacrificial feasts, and other cultural phenomena that add depth and life to this familiar story. --Michael Joseph Gross

Product Description
A chilling account of political intrigue, illicit sex, murder, war, and human frailty that could only have come from the Bible. The story of David is the greatest single narrative representation in antiquity of a human life evolving by slow stages through time, shaped by the pressures of political life and family, the impulses of body and spirit, and the eventual sad decay of the flesh. In its main character, it provides the first full-length portrait of a Machiavellian prince in Western literature. The beautiful, musical David, resourceful slayer of Goliath, loved by all, reveals himself as a calculating political animal. To advance his own cause, he becomes a collaborator with the archenemies of Israel, the Philistines. Later he commits adultery with Bathsheba, and compounds the betrayal with murder. He exposes himself repeatedly to humiliation, oscillates between noble sentiment and harsh vindictiveness, and with his dying breath charges his son Solomon to wreak bloody vengeance on his enemies. Historical personage and full-blooded imagining, David is the creation of a literary artist comparable to the Shakespeare of the history plays.

Robert Alter's brilliant translation and commentary enable a great work of literature to emerge from the Bible and stand on its own.

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More About Robert Alter

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Robert Alter is a Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a recipient of the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime contributions to American letters, he lives in Berkeley, California.

Robert Alter currently resides in Berkeley, in the state of California. Robert Alter has an academic affiliation as follows - University of California, Berkeley.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
david hamelech is so cool!  Feb 13, 2008
I really like how he looked at four different texts/translations and decided which one he thought fit best in each context while at the same time footnoting whatever the Masoretic text said, whether he chose it or not. I would have liked it better if there had been parallel Hebrew and English texts, but not everybody likes that (or can read it).
It's more than a translation and less than a commentary, as you might have guessed from the title. I kind of like commentaries more, but this is pretty cool.
Read this!  Dec 3, 2007
Illuminating. Robert Alter is more than worth owning for those of us who enjoy clarity in translation.
A really incredible translation of a really great story  Mar 22, 2007
It's really a shame that Robert Altar has "only" translated Samuel I and II and the Five Books of Moses because once you read one of his translations with all of their glorious commentary, using another commentary on another book of the Bible feels sort of empty. I am terribly sad about finishing this book. It's amazingly readable; the footnotes are ample and very satisfying. If you want to read the Books of Samuel and gain an understanding of them and an appreciation for them, I can't imagine there is a better book for you to buy.

I would add that this book also approaches the story from what I guess you would call a literary-historical perspective. Hence, it doesn't really matter whether you are religious or not, or what your religion is. Alter will help you see the David story for what it is: one of the richest and best stories ever produced.
A Nabokovian translation  Jan 18, 2007
The translations of Alter and Everett Fox, both excellent with slight variations between them, are the first in English that deserve to sit alongside the magisterial King James Version.
--Dr. Robert Zaslavsky, author of the recently published "The First Latin Course"
More than just a translation  Dec 28, 2005
Robert Alter covers I Samuel, II Samuel, and the first part of I Kings. With these books, the historical span of the life of King David is covered.

Alter translates in such a way as to give us a better feel for the narrative that the original writers may have intended. Not only does he try to get the original words, but also the original tempo of the words that give it a lively effect. Throughout the text, he explains his choices when sources disagrees. Each choice is explained linguistically and in some instances, poetically. This was a definite plus!

Along with commentary on the translation, Alter explains how actions fit historically and geographically. He has definitely done his homework! Further, he explains some parts in modern analogy (a comparison to the mafia in a few instances), which really help the reader connect with the narrative.

I would highly recommend this book for people wanting a good translation and a better understanding of the story and details of King David.

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