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These five late biblical books offer readers a range of pleasures not usually associated with the Bible.
They are artful, entertaining literary works-innovative, even startling.
Women often stand centre stage. The Song of Songs, a celebration of young love, frankly sensuous, with no reference to God, offers some of the most beautiful love poems of the ancient world.
The story of Esther's shrewd triumph is a secular entertainment that mixes farce with sly sexual comedy.
The character of Ruth embodies the virtues of loyalty, love and charity in a harmonious world.
Enigma replaces harmony in Daniel, whose feverish dreams envision the end of time. And the traditions of prophecy are recast in the tale of a fish that swallows Jonah.
Alter's translation restores the original power of these popular books.
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