Is the Alter Bible Jewish, in Some Definable Sense?

Robert Alter himself conspicuously does not call his own version Jewish in any way. Can we?

From the cover of Robert Alter’s translation of the Hebrew Bible.

From the cover of Robert Alter’s translation of the Hebrew Bible.

Response
Feb. 18 2019
About the author

Leonard J. Greenspoon, Klutznick Chair in Jewish Civilization at Creighton University, is the author of, among other works, Jewish Translations of the Bible, forthcoming from the Jewish Publication Society.


In his elegant review of Robert Alter’s English-language version of the Hebrew Bible, and in his extensive interactions with Alter’s word choices, Hillel Halkin has provided Mosaic readers with invaluable access to this new and important literary achievement. While generally appreciative of Alter’s guiding principles—with the exception of a significant caveat at the very end of his essay—Halkin’s word-by-word analysis of some of Alter’s renderings demonstrates that, even by the translator’s self-imposed standards, there is room for improvement.

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More about: Arts & Culture, Hebrew Bible, Religion & Holidays, Robert Alter, Translation