Willis Barnstone

For sample verses from the translation by Willis Barnstone, click here.

In addition to this translation, Barnstone edited The Other Bible, a collection of Jewish Pseudepigrapha and Christian Apocrypha.

The Song of Songs • Shir Hashirim


Title: The Song of Songs • Shir Hashirim.
Translated from the Masoretic Hebrew, with an Introduction by Willis Barnstone.
Date: ⓒ 1993 by Willis Barnstone. This first edition: 2002
Publisher: Københaven (Denmark) & Los Angeles CA (U.S.A.): Green Integer. Edited by Per Bregne.
[Earlier version published Athens (Greece) by Kedros Publishers 1970. Originally published New York NY (U.S.A.) by Sackett & Milk 1993]
Contents: Song of Songs. –– Contents; Introduction. – Green Integer publication list (3 pp)
Images: (to follow)
Location: Collection Bibelarchiv–Birnbaum. Karlsruhe/ Baden. Germany
Comments: Paperback (№ 47) small octavo, adhesive binding. 69 & (3) pp.
Scripture text strictly colometric with paragraph headings. No versification.

Willis Barnstone wrote an extensive Introduction ( 7 pp); he unfolds Shir Hashirim,
»Yet despite centuries of intentional miscopying and alterations, the sequence of ´The Song of Songs` persists as the most profound and beautiful book of love poems in the world. (…) Although the original lyrics have no surface religious meaning, these love poems have been widely interpreted, in both Jewish and Christian traditions, as a spiritual allegory of union with the deity. (…) Like other translators of ´The Song of Songs`, I have inferred the poem´s boundaries and have added titles for purposes of focus and informtion. The translation is close and austerely plain. If it has fecilities, they exist because this version copies the voice of the Hebrew scripture. I have resisted the trap of “improving“ upon ´The Song`; and wherever possible have not sought equivalences but to mirror original image and meaning of the Hebrew poem, which, with no need of ornamentation, through time´s rages and tattered texts, sing itself. –– This version was made from the Masoretic Hebrew text. I also consulted the Septuagint Ἂσμα ασμάτων (Asma Asmáton) and George Seferis´s consummate version in Modern Greek. (…)«

The Apocalypse


Title: The Apocalypse ⑆ John of Patmos ◆ Translated by Willis Barnstone
Date: ⓒ 1999, 2000 by Willis Barnstone
Publisher: New York NY (U.S.A.): New Directions Publishing Corporation / for James Laughlin. / A New Directions Bibelot (NDP 900)
Contents: Apocalypse • Revelation. Introduction
References: Taliaferro-BVE CN00146, Taliaferro-EELBV 9390..
Images: Cover, Title page
Location: Collection Bibelarchiv–Birnbaum. Karlsruhe/ Baden. Germany
Comments: Impressum information: »This translation of ´The Apocalypse`originally appeared in ´To Touch the Sky`, published by New Directions in 1999«

Paperback, small octavo, adhesive binding. 64 pp.
Scripture text mainly in colometric setting, no versification. Brief explanations and cross– references to the Tanach in footnotes.

W.B. wrote a three– page Introduction; among other things he writes:

»The Apocalypse, or Revelation, is attributed to John of Ephesos, also known as John of Patmos, and the island of Patmos is the most probable site where John composed this great work. The author of the Apocalypse was in the past thought to be also the author of the Gospel of John, and Letters of John, but linguistic and historical evidence prove otherwise. (…) Clearly, between the writing of the gospels and their papal canonization in 401 C. E. many hands shaped the words and theology. The Apocalypse, on the other hand, was probably composed in early draft at the end of the first century. It was one of many apocalypses and barely made it into the final canon, suggested reason why it was less tampered with. (…) The Greek word ´apokalypsis`means “revelation“ as well as “apocalypse“. It is known as a genre of revelatory visionary works, narrated by a prophet in the first person, but also it is “apocalyptic“, that is, of great disasters and heavenly salvation. The main source of Apocalypse in the Bible is Daniel, which is the only Apocalypse in the Old Testament. (…) The language is richly symbolic, obscure, allusive; the work is highly structured yet, like the Song of Songs, it is a collage of recapitualtions. The Apocalypse is a prophecy of doom and salvation. It ends marvelously with a description of the walls and streets in the bejeweled city of heaven.«

Gospels & Revelation


Title: The New Covenant. Commonly Called the New Testament Volume I The Four Gospels and Apocalypse
Date: 2002
Publisher: Riverhead Books: New York
Contents: Gospels and Revelation
References: Taliaferro-BVE CN00146, Taliaferro-EELBV 9390.100
Images: Jacket, Cover, Title page

Complete New Testament


Title: The Restored New Testament A New Translation with Commentary, Including the Gnostic Gospels Thomas, Mary, and Judas. Willis Barnstone
Date: 2009
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company: New York, London
Contents: New Testament plus Thomas, Mary, and Judas
References: Taliaferro-BVE CN00146, Taliaferro-EELBV 9390.110.
Images: Jacket, Title page


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