Robert Alter OT translation


(Joseph Bayly) #1

https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/279344/robert-alter-bible

“In a landmark new translation, Robert Alter revives the literary power of a Hebrew masterpiece”


(Tim Bayly) #2

For family devotions, we read large parts of this as it was being done including Psalms, 1 & 2 Samuel, and the Pentateuch. Generally very helpful although his first chapters of Genesis show his inability to face down the feminists, which is quite disappointing. When the whole point of the project is to restore literal meaning and protect the Hebraisms inherent in the text, which ordinarily he does quite well, why obliterate the meaning of Hebrew words with a male semantic meaning component? I mean, even if you don’t think the Bible is inspired by God and wish simply to protect your heritage as a Jew (as Alter is), would not the male inclusive be considered a pivotal part of your Hebrew cultural heritage?

That said, I commend the translation as very often giving the meaning of God’s inspired Word more closely and carefully than scholars who claim to hold to inerrancy.


(Joseph Bayly) #3

Yes, it was interesting that the article actually called him out for this.


(Tim Bayly) #4

You got me to go to the article. Fascinating. Hopefully I can post on it over on Warhorn in the next week or two. Love,


(Bnonn Tennant) #5

I’d make the same comment when it comes to the divine name. What use is a new translation that claims not to explain things, but rather render them in a different language, when it breaks its own rule for God’s very name?


(Joseph Bayly) #6

Interesting point. However, it’s worth noting that the idea of replacing* “Yahweh” with “Lord” is essentially an ancient Jewish modification to the text, if I understand it correctly. So it’s conceivable that he considers it part of the finalized text that he’s translating from. I wonder if he addresses it in his (copious) notes.

(*I know it’s not an actual replacement, but that’s the gist of the change vowel additions.)