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The Life of David

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  104 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Part of the Jewish Encounter series

Poet, warrior, and king, David has loomed large in myth and legend through the centuries, and he continues to haunt our collective imagination, his flaws and inconsistencies making him the most approachable of biblical heroes. Robert Pinsky, former poet laureate of the United States, plumbs the depths of David’s life: his triumphs and his
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 6th 2005 by Schocken
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Apr 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written and closely reasoned and informative book. It's also interesting in the context of the work of Robert Pinsky with its sense of the complexity and counter-movements of public life, moving from the tribal tents to the wider cosmopolitan scene, and also the meaning of public person's life, whose very existence is significant in its lifelong visibility. This is a double portrait in time. He tries to get close to the life of David in its historical reality, but he is pla ...more
M. Newman
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jewish
In this brilliant book, part of the "Jewish Encounters" series, former United States poet laureate, Robert Pinsky drawing on the biblical chronicle of King David's life as well as the later commentaries and Psalms tells the story of the poet-warrior, King and offers the reader a fascinating look at a figure of mythical power.
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bible, biography
The Life of David, a thoughtful look at the life of Israel’s “great” king, attempts to deal with the fractured chronology (p. 14) and delineation of flaws (p. 4) in the biblical narrative. This tantalizing little volume by Robert Pinsky is incredibly well-written and, though the author is clearly conversant with a historical-critical approach, takes an incredibly balanced approach in dealing with the subject. He doesn’t get stuck on the problems and expands on possibilities. The idea that Orpah, ...more
May 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
One has to understand that this book is about Robert Pinsky's contemplation of the life of King David as reported in the Old Testament. It is not about the life of King David or about the authority of the texts. Mr. P. accepts the texts or, rather, the narration in the texts as a given. Hence, his book is really about his engagement with the narration regardless of what light scholarship might shed on the texts. In this respect, the book is essentially idiosyncratic. That is, it is a highly pers ...more
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Eloquent thoughts by Robert. Crisp sounds throughout.

"Unsung hero" is a paradox.

"Subterranean fires and currents, forming the stories that form us, make themselves visible in the career of the hero."

"Going back three generations, the sister of Ruth was the barbaric-sounding Orpah. (Almost impossible to keep the brain from familiarizing it to "Oprah.")"

"The quality of the foreign, like the strangeness of the exile, is to be respected."

"Goliath of Gath says to David of Bethlehem: Come to me, and
May 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity, judaism
I forgot how intense the story of David is. All I hear about him is his defeat of Goliath and his 'sin' with Bathsheba. I have sin in quotations because usually this is the only reference to sin in David's life that people talk about and because it revolved around sex so it must be the worst.

It is remarkable that Pinsky weaves David's story around all aspects of his life. He goes into detail as to why David might have done certain things and why he would have done those things because from a ce
Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Not knowing much about the bible i was curious how welcoming this would be. obviously not a straight forward biography, but a blend of history and legend, based on various sources. it lays the basic stories out in a straightforward manner, and has some fascinating insights and ideas about how David the man became David the legend. Mr. Pinsky is an obviously dept scholar and a superb writer, and despite a few tangents i found tiresome, overall it is an excellent overview of an incredibly huge sub ...more
Oct 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Well worth the second read. This book is part poetry, part history, part cultural evaluation, part myth, and part theology. Pinsky's interpretation of the major events in the life of David is insightful and enlightening. The analogies that he uses, the language that he uses, and the respect that he has for his material work together to make this a fascinating, enthralling read. I highly recommend this book to Jewish readers, Christian readers, and to people interested in history, myth, theology, ...more
Jul 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Nope...
I plan to start this book sometime over the weekend. David is a fascinating person and I'm interested in Pinsky's presentation of man. Not sure I'll agree with it - but curious enough about it to read it. Pinsky was my poetry professor in college - only one semester.

Turned out what I expected - a scholarly look at a figure in Scripture. Pinsky proves he is inded more intelluctual than us all - yawn.
Linda Gaines
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had never even read some of the parts of the historical books that Pinsky comments on. A revealing look at the qualities of David as King, soldier and man. This book is in a series by Jews about Jews.
Noah Dropkin
Dec 03, 2008 rated it liked it
This was a good book about the life of King David written as a series of essays. I wouldn't say this book is for the general reader. But if you have a particular interest in King David and would like to read an interesting set of interpretive essays, it's a very good place to begin.
Aug 09, 2007 added it
This was a nice book. Beautifully written - contemporary without being revisionist (mostly). AND I learned a lot about the life of David (go figure) and the wonderful abitraryness and vindictiveness of my Jewish god.
Mar 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some interesting observations and thoughts on the story of King David. It's a relatively fast read.
Steven Peck
Sep 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A book that really makes you think. David as you don't get him in SS.
Craig Bolton
The Life of David (Jewish Encounters) by Robert Pinsky (2008)
Apr 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous depiction of the life of David. So refreshing to read a non-fiction book written by a poet, especially a non-fiction book looking into the contradictions of myth and history.
Jul 26, 2007 rated it liked it
Interesting brush up on the life of the Biblical David. The author is foremost a poet, which is reflected in his writing.
Colin Williams
Apr 08, 2013 rated it liked it
It's well written, and it looks like Pinsky did his homework. But...why not just read The Book of Samuel with some good annotations? Robert Pinsky, why did you write this book?
Lucas B
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Jan 23, 2015
Joseph Mccaleb
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Dec 07, 2016
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May 28, 2017
James McDonald
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May 06, 2017
Lauren O'Neill
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Mar 22, 2012
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Dec 18, 2013
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Dec 22, 2014
Joe Riley
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Dec 18, 2011
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Jun 08, 2009
Guion Pratt
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Apr 04, 2013
Dave Lucas
rated it it was ok
Sep 06, 2007
David Gaddy
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Jul 22, 2015
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Robert Pinsky is an American poet, essayist, literary critic, and translator. From 1997 to 2000, he served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. Pinsky is the author of nineteen books, most of which are collections of his own poetry. His published work also includes critically acclaimed translations, including The Inferno of Dante Alighieri and The Separate Notebooks by ...more
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