RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY

Job: A New Translation

Yale Univ. Aug. 2019. 248p. bibliog. ISBN 9780300162349. $26. REL
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Translating Job is a difficult affair. The current state of the text shows various additions, deletions, and transpositions. To complicate matters, the Hebrew also contains a number of words found nowhere else in the Bible or terms that are used in idiosyncratic ways. In this poetic indictment of power, Greenstein (emeritus, Bible, Bar-Ilan Univ.; Essays on Biblical Method and Translation) portrays the deity as an ancient despot unconcerned with the lot of humanity. Unlike most translations, this Job defiantly concedes nothing to the Almighty. Greenstein’s Job is more reconstruction than simple translation. Splitting the difference between scholarly rigor and general accessibility, the author provides a good feel for the Hebrew rather than a dynamic equivalence into English. Extensive notes, while not overwhelming the text, provide ample justifications for various decisions. These include citing previous mistranslations, transmission errors, and some major reshuffling. For instance, Job 4:12-21 is typically seen as part of Eliphaz’s first discourse. But Greenstein moves it to the conclusion of Job’s opening discourse. Along with the introduction, these notes are vital to understanding the text.
VERDICT This translation is a distilled magnum opus that should serve as an exemplar of a neglected school of thought in interpreting Job.

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