The Book of Praises
Translations from the Psalms
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Artist and poet Roger Wagner presents a selection of Psalms as they have never been seen before, newly translated and each accompanied by an illustration inviting the reader to pause and contemplate.
Roger Wagner's translations faithfully evoke the world of the Psalms and the experience of those who composed and sang them, while his illustrations interpret their rich imagery against the backdrop of our world.
In the Hebrew bible the psalms are entitled Sepher Tehillim - 'The Book of Praises', and praise is the fixed song that sounds throughout the collection. Though praise is surrounded by many other voices that contradict and challenge, whether complaint, lament, anger, pain, guilt, desolation or longing, its underlying note remains unshakeable.
Demonstrating the continuing beauty, honesty and power of the Psalms through the centuries, The Book of Praises is the work of one of today's outstanding religious artists and poets.
'This book is excellent beyond all expectation. The small wood engravings are as lyrical as Blake's for Virgil, and the printing in black for English and in red for Hebrew is perfectly balanced. I had long known that Roger Wagner was an interesting poet as well as a striking and brilliant painter, but I had not dreamed of such a coming together of his talents as this. [It]...makes one purr with pleasure. This is a book of an extraordinary and coherent beauty.' -- Peter Levi, Oxford Professor of Poetry
'There is something medieval, in a complimentary sense, about this project. Its detail, its completeness, its scholarship...are extraordinary. The reader may use it as a work of devotion: if he does so he will be inspired in part, by the far greater devotion of the author.' -- Charles Moore, The Daily Telegraph
'We all have our favourites among translations of the Psalms. Wagner is a recognised poet of lapidary quality, and the very act of translation brings with it a fresh understanding of the universal application of these pro-found hymns. They cannot be translated or depicted too often, if an artist and linguist of Roger Wagner's capacities is around to do it. That will never be often.' -- Pamela Tudor Craig, Church Times