Read the Apocalypse

(The Book of Revelation)
as translated by Willis Barnstone in blank verse


Willis Barnstone
presents a truly fresh and needed translation in which shine the literary quality and Jewish background of early Christian writings. He restores the Aramaic and Hebrew personal and geographical names (while not disguising the misguided anti-Judaic bias) and replicates the poetic flow of the original. That the New Testament is written in Greek and received without reference

Hardcover 6.3 x 9.5in | 576 pages | ISBN 1573221821 | Apr 2002
Published by Riverhead Books (Penguin Putnam).
Available from your local bookstore
or online from amazon.com or bn.com

IN THIS BOLD NEW TRANSLATION of the Gospels of Mark (Markos), Matthew (Mattai), Luke (Loukas), and John (Yohanan), and the Apocalypse (Revelation), the distinguished translator Willis Barnstone turns to the books that form the bedrock of Christianity and restores them to their Judaic origins. In place of familiar Greek names, New Testament figures, and places, he gives us their probable Hebrew or Aramaic names. He brings out the historical and cultural contexts of the Gospels. And, as in the Hebrew Bible, he lineates poetry as poetry: Jesus' words and John's famous prologue are in verse, and Barnstone's blank-verse translation of Apocalypse reveals the great epic poem of the Christian Bible.

View exerpts from The New Covenant
Preface and exerpts from the Introduction

Beginning with "Darkness at Noon"
the crucifixion
from the Gospel of Markos (Mark)

"The Parable of the Lost Son"
from the Gospel of Loukas (Luke)

(The Book of Revelation)
in its entirety.
Table of Contents of The New Covenant

Using his talents as poet, translator, and scholar, Barnstone reshapes our understanding of these seminal books of the Christian faith, and challenges many of our long-held assumptions about our historical and religious heritage. In an introduction that is itself a fully-developed work of scholarship, he transports us back to the pre-Hellenic world and the Jewish traditions from which the New Covenant emerged, and helps us see how the centuries have given rise to our misreadings of this literary and religious masterpiece, to our own great detriment.

The New Covenant invites us to come to the New Testament afresh, without the preconceptions and misconceptions that have become part of the Western tradition. It allows us not just to comprehend, but also to know the Christian Bible as an extension of the Semetic world from which it arose, and to experience anew the literary power of a work that has been central to our world.

WILLIS BARNSTONE, former O'Conner Professor of Greek at Colgate University, is Distinguished Professor of comparative literature, and founding member of the Institute of Biblical and Literary Studies, at Indiana University. A Guggenheim fellow, a poet, and the author of Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice, he has received many honors over the years including the Emily Dickinson Award of the Poetry Society of America, the W. H. Auden Award of the New York State Arts Council, a PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Special Citation, and the Midland Authors Award. Barnstone divides his time between Bloomington, Indiana, and Oakland, California.


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More about poet/translator Willis Barnstone including other translations,
poetry and biblical studies.

For information about possible readings or interviews with Willis Barnstone
please contact Mary Bisbee: bisbeeb@aol.com


to its Semitic sources is virtually neglected by the guild. This mistake haunts us, but Barnstone's scholarship and poetry can open our eyes.—David Trobisch, Trockmorton-Hayes Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Bangor Theological Seminary, and author of The First Edition of the New Testament

Barnstone's new
English version of the core texts of Christian Scripture is almost startling in its freshness. Scraping away many centuries of stylistic fussiness and supersessionist distortion, he gives us a set of Gospel narratives that are bold and direct in their simplicity and that show how steeped the first Christians were in the Jewish world from which they derived."

—Robert Alter, Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley, and author of The Art of Biblical Narrative and The Art of Biblical Poetry.

The New Covenant
is both an eloquent, fresh translation of the Four Gospels and Revelation, and also a superb act of restoration, in which these Christian scriptures are returned to their Judaic origins and context. The introductory material is wise and poignant, and makes an authentic contribution to the common reader's understanding of the Gospels.

—Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of Humanities, Yale University, and Berg Professor of English, New York University, and author of The Book of J and Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human

Willis Barnstone
has a problem: he's too good. Everything he writes, from his invaluable The Other Bible, a compendium of holy texts no writer should be without, through his brilliant translations and beautiful poems, is a breathtaking achievement.

   —Carolyn Kizer, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet

Further praise for The New Covenant and longer quotes from reviews


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