Archives For Hebrew


191208: The Complete Psalms: The Book of Prayer Songs in a New Translation A Review of

The Complete Psalms:
The Book of Prayer Songs
in a New Translation

Translated by Pamela Greenberg.
Hardback: Bloomsbury, 2010.
Buy now: [ ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

For thousands of years, the Psalms have been the heartbeat that pulsed life and kept rhythm for the people of God, but sometimes their familiarity can subtly breed mindlessness; we mouth the familiar words and yet miss the power of their words to engage with the oft-brutal realities of living in a fallen world and to transform our hearts and minds.  Out of this familiar milieu emerges Pamela Greenberg’s delightful new translation, The Complete Psalms, which breathes the crisp air of new life into these liturgical songs.  Indeed, Greenberg identifies the compelling force behind her translation as “the impulse of shiru l’Adonai shir chadash, the imperative to sing to God a new song” (xvii).  Her translation process flowed from the tension between the poetic, an attempt “to replicate the emotional passion of the psalms,” and the literal, which in the end resulted in a [dialogical] “middle ground between strict literality and poetic engagement, with the hopes of awakening for the reader new possibilities for speaking with God.”

Consider her verdant translation of the familiar Psalm 100:

Shout out with joy, all who live on earth.

Serve the Holy One with rejoicing.

Come before the Upholder with a ringing cry.

Know that God is a source of wonder.

You created us, and it is to our Creator we belong.

We are shepherded by heavenly guidance.

Come into the divine gates with thankfulness,

the holy courtyards shining with praise.

Be thankful, awed by the Holy Name.

For God is good;

your kindness is toward the world.

From generation to generation, you remain faithful.

Continue Reading…


Ultra-brief Reviews – Tuesday 16 June 2009.

Once a Runner (Novel)
John L. Parker, Jr.

Hardcover: Scribner, 2009
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Prince Pehlay’s Wonder-full Alef-Beit.
Mimi Fine.

Spiral Bound Paperback: Pomegranate Productions, 2008.
Order and More info: [ HERE ]

By Chris Smith.

I was super-excited to see that Scribner has brought John L. Parker, Jr.’s novel Once A Runner back into print.  This cult-classic novel of runners everywhere, had two previous printings (one in the 70’s and one in the late 80’s) and was in super-high demand (I sold a used copy on amazon last year for over $130!).  The essence of the novel is captured in its proclamation: “Quenton Cassidy was a miler.”  Soren Kierkegaard famously noted that “Purity of Heart is to will one thing.” For Quenton Cassidy, that one thing was the quest to break the four minute mile.  Once a Runner, is the raw tale of one runner’s determination in the face of a host of challenges.  This novel will be most appealing to runners, but the running life and running culture it describes has a lot to teach us about focus and determination.

In previous school years, I have enjoyed teaching biblical Greek to elementary students in our church.  The possibility of teaching Hebrew, however, never crossed my mind.  Never, that is, until I recently received a copy of Mimi Fine’s excellent workbook Prince Pehlay’s Wonder-full Alef-beit.  Complete with CD recording of its two instructional songs, this book is a superb and engaging resource – written from a Judeo-Christian perspective – for introducing the Hebrew alphabet to children.  Stepping letter-by-letter through the Hebrew alphabet, Fine uses puzzles and traditional matching/fill-in-the-blank-type challenges to introduce and reinforce the memory of the Hebrew letters.  Prince Pehlay’s Wonder-full Alef-beit is a wonderful place to begin teaching the Hebrew alphabet to yourself, your children or others!