How an Attempt to Convey the Hebrew Bible’s Beauty Spoke to People of Faith

As a professor of comparative literature who had written books on biblical stylistics, Robert Alter set out to translate the Tanakh with any eye toward conveying in English what he saw as its immense power as a work of literature. He thus did not expect to receive praise from Orthodox Jews, Episcopalian nuns, Scottish ministers, and many other believers. In conversation with J.J. Kimche, Alter explores why his book was thus received, the ways his approach to the text has more in common with that of classical and medieval rabbis than with modern academics, and the Bible’s unique literary devices. (Audio, 77 minutes.)

Read more at Podcast of Jewish Ideas

More about: Hebrew Bible, Robert Alter, Translation

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict