Review of The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary, by Robert Alter

The Book of Psalms

A Translation with Commentary

by Robert Alter

W. W. Norton & Company, 2007. 516 pages.
Review written November 8, 2021, from my own copy
Starred Review

I purchased this translation of Psalms after reading Robert Alter’s Notes on Biblical Translation, because I’m attempting to write my own book about Psalms.

This translation isn’t going after easy English reading. He’s going after the closest English version of what’s in the Hebrew text. The notes tell you about the many places where the actual Hebrew original isn’t clear, or where decisions had to be made about translating.

I don’t recommend this for casual inspirational reading of Psalms. But for those who want to study Scripture, there’s a wealth of material here to increase your understanding of what the Psalms contained in the original language.

I went through the book one Psalm at a time, reading the Psalm translation through, then reading through with the notes. There are extensive notes on each Psalm.

This book broadened my understanding of what we know about the original text of Psalms. Reading a new translation added beauty and insight to my experience of Psalms.

Buy from

Find this review on Sonderbooks at:

Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *