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The Five Books of Moses

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Phillip, Nov 19, 2004.

  1. Phillip

    Phillip <b>Moderator</b>

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    I'm starting to get e-mails from some of the old ex-KJVo board members about The Five Books of Moses by Robert Alter.

    What is the story and is this really a bad translation?

    Apparently he claims to have re-translated the Hebrew into more accurate English, but it differs quite a bit from standard translations. It appears to be more of a paraphrase.
     
  2. robycop3

    robycop3 Active Member

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    As I wrote to that old member..."I find it hard to believe that millenia of Hebrew translators have all been wrong, and that this golden boy has come along and corrected all of them overnight."
     
  3. Phillip

    Phillip <b>Moderator</b>

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    My thoughts exactly, robycop3.
     
  4. Marcia

    Marcia Active Member

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    Here's an article on Alter's translation. Not knowing Hebrew, I'm not sure what to think but the article is interesting.

     
  5. Phillip

    Phillip <b>Moderator</b>

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    Not opinion on the translation, but I noted this today:

    If I am not mistaken, the footnote in the HCSB states regarding Gen. 1:1 & 2: or "When God began creating the heavens and the earth, the earth . . ."

    Can someone confirm this, I don't have the translation here at home.
     
  6. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    True in part.

    From the Holman Christian Standard Version.
    Genesis 1:1
    In the beginning ['a] God created the heavens and the earth. ['b]
    2 Now the earth was ['c] formless and empty, 

    Foot note [c] reads as follows: "1:1–2 Or When God began to create the sky and the earth,
    2 the earth was".


    Rob
     
  7. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
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    I haven’t read Robert Alter’s, “The Five Books of Moses”, but do have his “The David Story” (1 Samuel and 2 Samuel). I’ve looked it over this past week between other projects.

    Robert Alter is a Jewish scholar and a professor at Berkley. He is strongly committed toward a literal reading of the Hebrew Scriptures.

    He writes in the foreword; “What is clearer to me now is that the precedent of the King James Version has played a decisive and constructive role in directing readers of English to a rather literal experience of the Bible and that this precedent can be ignored only at considerable cost, as nearly all the English versions of the Bible done in recent decades show” (p. xxix).
    In his works, Alter attempts a “Hebraizing English”; a translation that attempts to mimic the repetition and style and meaning of the original text.

    In “The David Story”, more than half of each page is devoted to notes on the text.

    Below is a note regarding Samuel's name (1:20).
    These notes may be instructive to a translator or those interested in the word plays in the original text but can become overly distracting at times may be of limited use to one not familiar or interested in the process of translation.

    Rob
     
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