Thursday, March 10, 2011

Solomon's Proverbs Poetically Paraphrased

Vail, Daniel. Solomon’s Proverbs Poetically Paraphrased: An Artistic Adaptation. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc., 2005. ISBN 0-8059-6708-7.

This is a 69 page paperback. The cover features a drawing of a man (Solomon?) teaching children. As the title indicates, this a paraphrase. It is presented in rhyming verses usually in paired lines. It is not clear if this is a translation from the Hebrew or a paraphrase of other English versions. There is a short glossary at the end of the book containing a list of 23 less common English words.

One proverb I looked at closely was Proverb 31:10-31 since I’ve read that at several funerals. In the Hebrew, this is an acrostic poem - each line starts with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet (22 letters). The author replicates this technique in English. He readily admits that “liberties were taken” to make this work. Footnotes provide the more literal meaning when this is done throughout the book.

The author does not force rhymes unnecessarily at the expense of meaning. But some sentences are a bit awkward in order to fit the rhyming scheme. For example, Proverbs 31:11 is rendered “Completely her husband trusts her.” What is surprising is how seldom such awkward sentences appear. It must have been quite a challenge to stick to the main idea while producing rhyming poetry.

The very practical nature of the Proverbs leads me to prefer a less poetically arranged rendering. However, the author has worked hard to be faithful to the original Hebrew constructs. Thus it appears he has a solid reason for his renderings. By rephrasing these teachings he may well have helped other understand them better.

I received a free copy of this book from Dorrance Publishing for review purposes. This review is not influenced in any way by receipt of this book.

Solomon's Proverbs Poetically Paraphrased: An Artistic Adaptation

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