Alter’s Latest Biblical Translations
Robert (Uri) Alter is continuing with his project to translate the Hebrew Bible into English using the literary principles he described in his Art of Biblical Narrative and Art of Biblical Poetry. (These books have been among the most successful academic publications of recent times; with The Art of Biblical Narrative selling close to 100,000 copies and being the subject of an entire issue of a notorious issue of Prooftexts in 2007.)
His latest volume is entitled Ancient Israel and is a translation and commentary of the former prophets (books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings). My copy is in the mail (and I hope to share comments on it with this blog later); but I will be especially interested to see if Alter made revisions (“alter”-ations) to his earlier translation of the book of Samuel in his David Story.
To date, I believe Alter’s translation project encompasses the following:
Alter also wrote the Afterword to Ariel and Chana Bloch’s translation of Song of Songs (which I recommend buying only in its hardcover format; the paperback abridges the material somewhat); and in some ways, the Blochs’ translation is somewhat in the style of Alter’s technique.
So, using the traditional book division of the Hebrew Bible into 24 books, Alter has now translated 12 of the 24 books, and has given his “imprimatur” to a 13th. Let us hope more of his translations are forthcoming soon.