Thursday, January 31, 2019

Kirsch on the Alter Bible

BOOK REVIEW: The Alter Bible. In a landmark new translation, Robert Alter revives the literary power of a Hebrew masterpiece (Adam Kirsch, Tablet Magazine).
... The classic Bible translations—Jerome’s, Luther’s, the King James, the Septuagint—were so influential for so long that, for most readers, they effectively replaced the original Hebrew, becoming sacred texts in their own right. Indeed, many readers of these versions probably didn’t know that the original was written in Hebrew at all. Alter’s Bible doesn’t seek that kind of canonical status; it is not out to replace the Hebrew Bible, but to engage in a dialogue with it. This is the most important way in which Alter’s Bible takes literature, and the reader, seriously—by inviting us into the translation process, acknowledging that every word involves choice and compromise.
This long review gives many examples of how Alter has rethought the whole process of biblical translation. Well worth reading.

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