Sacrificed Upon the Alter

"Does Alter accomplish this aim? He does indeed approach the text with an exquisite sense for its syntax and rhythm. At the same time, for all Alter’s sensitivity to the Hebrew Bible’s words, there are times when his attempt to put his own spin on biblical translation ends up being destructive of the ideas that the Bible is attempting to present. Moreover, his methods, defended in his commentary, can be challenged based on the very approach that he claims to represent.

Alter is himself a reputed Jewish academic, has previously served for thirteen years as contributing editor to Commentary, and has devoted his distinguished career to biblical exegesis and translation. And yet, from the perspective of the People of the Book, the King James translation of the Hebrew Bible remains Jewish in ways that Alter’s translation will never be."