In the Beginning

byEverett Fox. Schocken, $14.95. On the assumption— supported by scholarship—that the Book of Genesis originated as oral literature with a certain poetic element, Mr. Fox has made a translation that attempts to reproduce the rhythms and sound patterns of the Hebrew text. (The puns have proved impossible.) The result of his work is something very different from the usual English version, less literal in its narrative, and with a more obvious resemblance to other antique texts. Its effect will probably vary in accordance with whatever preconceptions a reader brings to it. In any case, the accompanying notes and commentary provide a fine illustration of the intricate problems of translation.