Robert Alter Shares the 'Art of Bible Translation' After Translating the Entire Hebrew Bible

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A Panamanian evangelical pastor reads the Bible at El Chorrillo neighborhood in Panama City on January 21, 2019. (Photo: Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images)

Armed with a Cross mechanical pencil and thin-lined paper, UC Berkeley professor and translator Robert Alter spent almost a quarter-century translating the entire Hebrew Bible into English. His completed work, which includes commentary, aims to preserve the style and rhythm of the original Hebrew prose and poetry. Now, Alter has written a book about the process called "The Art of Bible Translation." He joins us in studio to discuss his vision, and why the world needed a new translation of its most translated book.


Robert Alter, professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley; author, "The Art of Bible Translation"