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Staff Pick of the Day: The Poems of Jesus Christ

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Willis Barnstone
The Poems of Jesus Christ
WW Norton & Co
£12.50 Available from Watkins Books

Selected by Jeremy from  Watkins Books:

In his introduction to this fascinating book Willis Barnstone, the translator, describes Jesus as ‘the great invisible poet of the world.’ ‘What happened’, he asks, ‘to blind us literarily to his wisdom poetry’? In the course of translation, via Greek, from the Aramaic the lyrics, it would seem, have all too often become locked in a stilted prose incapable of conveying the poetic rhythm that runs right through the Bible, from Genesis where God speaks the world into being, through the expansive vision of the prophets into the abrupt hard hitting brevity of Jesus in the gospels. This book, by an author well known for his previous translations of early Christian and Gnostic texts, opens up that underlying spirit – tempting one to go back and re-read the entire Bible in the light of it.

 

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