An acclaimed Harvard scholar and the former poetry editor of Harper's Magazine, James Kugel here selects 18 essential poems from the Hebrew Bible and offers his own original and articulate translations of these core pieces of religious literature. His renditions are paired with deeply informed discussions about the conditions surrounding each poem, including its history and what the best religious scholarship and literary criticism tell us about how the poem should be understood.
"This fascinating book includes familiar texts like Psalms 23 and 137, and Ecclesiastes 12, as well as some that are less well known to modern readers. Throughout, James Kugel's linguistic and historical learning, modern literary sensibility, love of poetry in all languages, and special commitment to biblical interpretation frame this exciting examination of the power and energetic meaning of the great writing of the Hebrew Bible."—John Hollander
"Kugel has produced both beautiful translations of beloved passages from the Hebrew Bible and inspired essays on 'the spiritual reality' those passages evoke."—Commentary