Monday, November 4, 2019

Genesis - A new translation with commentary by William Whitt

Genesis - A new translation with commentary
by William Whitt
The Middle Coast Press
Highland Park, Illinois
Print edition: ISBN 978-1-773-44153-7
Digital edition: ISBN 978-1-773-44154-4

This translation of the book of Genesis builds on the approach taken in Whitt's translation of Samuel published in 2018. The translation is unique in jettisoning the traditional chapter divisions and instead organizing the material according to the Masoretic parashot. Organizing the text in this way gets us closer to the ancient writers, and yields numerous insights into their composition approach.

Two other characteristics that set this translation apart are my (fairly aggressive) adoption of functional (or dynamic) equivalence as a translation style, and my selection of Phoenician and Syrian ivories and Mesopotamian cylinder seals to illustrate the text. The use of ancient art to illustrate the text allows the modern reader to get closer to how the original audience might have imagined the action in the text as they were reading or hearing it for the first time.

The commentary includes an essay on the composition history of Genesis that views the entire book as the product of the Jerusalem priesthood, which I believe worked on the book nearly continuously from the mid- to late sixth century BCE down to early or mid-fourth century BCE. Finally, the translation offers up a number of novel readings of historically important passages, including Gen 3.16, 4.7, and 15.6.

The book is also posted as a pdf at The compressed version there has lower-res images and the file size is around 3MB.Typically the website does require registration and log-on.

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