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Commentary on the Torah. (Briefly Noted).

Commentary on the Torah. By Richard Elliott Friedman (HarperSanFrancisco, $50). F. is well known for his bestselling Who Wrote the Bible, a breezy and somewhat anachronistic introduction to J, E, D, P. Now F. provides the Hebrew text and his own very fresh translation of the Pentateuch and a brief and lively commentary on the Torah as a whole, without distinguishing pre-canonical authors or sources. Hence he now tries to show how united the whole Torah is and attempts to relate it to life. In writing this commentary F. attended weekly study sessions for laypersons on the weekly reading of the Torah. He interprets and sheds light on individual words and passages but also strives to show how essentially connected all of it is. His translation makes a number of bold moves: contractions are used in conversations (God to the snake: "You'll go on your belly") but not narratives; use of the possessive case (Moses' house); retention of "and" or alternatives at the beginning of most verses; use of italics or exclamati on points to translate the infinitive absolute. You'll laugh, sometimes scratch your head, but often say, "I never detected that insight before."
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Author:Klein, Ralph W.
Publication:Currents in Theology and Mission
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 2003
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