"The Bible in English and the Heresy of Explanation"

Earlier today I posted my first impressions of Robert Alter’s the Five Books of Moses.  There is a section in the introduction that I think is well worth the read, even if you don’t completely agree with Alter’s theory of translation.  It is entitled “The Bible in English and the Heresy of Explanation.”  Here’s a snippet:

Why, after so many English versions, a new translation of the Five Books of Moses?  There is, as I shall explain in detail, something seriously wrong with all the familiar English translations, traditional and recent of the Hebrew Bible.  Broadly speaking, one may say that in the case of modern versions, the problem is a shaky sense of English and in the case of the King James Version, a shaky sense of Hebrew…

You can read the whole section free at Google Books.  It starts on page xvi of the introduction.

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