November 28, 2011

The King James Bible's Shaky Hebrew

Anthony Weiss, Jewish Daily Forward

As this year marks the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible, a new English translation might seem a bit late to the game. After all, the KJV is justly celebrated for its eloquence, and the shelves are packed with more recent translations, such as that of the Jewish Publication Society, that draw on modern advances in linguistic and historical scholarship and are written in more contemporary English.

But Robert Alter sees problems with all these translations, which he describes in the introduction to his own 2004 rendering of the Five Books of Moses: “Broadly speaking, one may say that in the case of the modern versions, the problem is a shaky sense of English and in the case of the King James Version, a shaky sense of Hebrew.”

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TAGGED: Hebrew, King James Bible