Monday, March 08, 2010

book review: the voice of psalms

the voice of psalms is part of a project by Chris Seay and the Ecclesia Bible Society that attempts to "engage with the Psalms as never before" by producing work that "involves translation and elaboration, but mostly entering into the story of scripture and recreating the event for our culture and time. It doesn't ignore the role of scholar but also values the roles of writers, poets, songwriters and artists".

Even through this is a paperback book, it is a well crafted book. Nice colour on the pages, clear seperation between the text and the commentatary. The book draws the eye. A couple of reading plans for Advent and Lent.

I like the concept as described in italics above. I like the appearance of the book. I like the title. I tried hard to like how the translation comes out... but I had difficulty. I understand that this is an interpretive translation [& to their credit, they don't hide this at all]. In some cases the treatment of a Psalm is fresh and inspiring, but in other places the translation / interpretation seems forced for the sake of being different. For example: Psalm 11:1 "In the Lord I take refuge..."NIV becomes "I am already in the soft embrace of the Eternal One" - which is a real stretch of interpretation.

If you are looking for a new translation, I wouldn't recommend this one. It is not, as it claims, "a bold new translation and format" - format - yes, but translation - no. It takes too many liberties with the Hebrew. I wanted to like this book, but I just can't.

Note: I received a free review copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review blog programme. I received this copy for the purpose of writing a blog review.

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