In The Great Poems of the Bible,
James Kugel, acclaimed Harvard scholar and former poetry editor of Harpers Magazine,
selects eighteen essential poems from the Hebrew Bible and offers his own original and articulate translations of these core pieces of religious literature. His eloquent renditions are paired with deeply informed discussions about the conditions surrounding each poem, including its history and whatÊthe best religious scholarship and literary criticism tell us about how the poem should be understood. Kugel explains traditions, clarifies often-misunderstood language, and offers readers wonderfully insightful explanations that are indispensable to understanding the poems and, ultimately, the fundamental teachings of the Old Testament.
""Mr. Kugel's commentaries... are marvelous -- fresh, original, deeply thought, deeply felt. They are the responses to the Bible of a scholar who, far more than just a scholar, is above all a reader and knows that, even more than knowledge, taste, and discrimination, the most important thing to bring to a text is oneself: not a part of oneself, but the whole, entirely focused and entirely open, ready to give and take all. To be more able to read in this way is a rare gift, and Mr. Kugel, who can also write, has it."" -- The Forward