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Robert Alter’s Fidelity

As the Italians say, traduttori, tradittori: translators are traitors. But the translator who shrugs and—cheerfully or resignedly—agrees that “every translation is an interpretation, after all” has too readily embraced the way of the tradittore. The translator who strives for strict . . . . Continue Reading »

Retelling Genesis

And the life of Sarah was a hundred and seven and twenty years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. And Sarah died in Kiriath-Arba—the same is Hebron—in the land of Canaan; and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. And Abraham rose up from before his dead, and . . . . Continue Reading »

A Bible for Everyone

One summer years ago, I attended a conference that met at Princeton Theological Seminary; we participants stayed in the seminary dormitory. We soon discovered that the lounge on the first floor of the dorm had been converted into a kind of outsized study. A large table dominated the room; scattered . . . . Continue Reading »

A Bible Fit for Children

In a famous passage from Science and the Modern World, Alfred North Whitehead gives this counsel to scholars in the various historical disciplines: “Do not chiefly direct your attention to those intellectual positions which [controversialists] feel it necessary explicitly to defend.” More . . . . Continue Reading »

Retuning the Psalms

The Psalter translated from the hebrew by the international commission on english in the liturgy. training publications, 150 pages, $18 cloth, $12 paper There is no biblical book that has affected the inner lives of readers and worshippers over the ages more profoundly than the Book of Psalms. . . . . Continue Reading »

Scripture for the Gender-Correct

The Women’s Bible Commentary edited by Carol A. Newsom and Sharon H. Ringe Westminster/John Knox Press, 396 pages, $20Like most children of my era who got a religious education, I grew up on Bible stories. The stories of the women in the Bible—rare as pearls of great price among the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Perils of Historical Positivism

Of the many obstacles that the modern world has thrown up in front of Judaism and Christianity, certainly one of the most damaging would be the historical-critical method. This form of intellectual inquiry has transformed radically the manner in which modern persons construe the origins of Scripture . . . . Continue Reading »

The Death of the Goddess

It has been thousands of years since goddesses have been so much on people’s minds, at least in the West. What has brought them back with a vengeance (often literally so) is the feminist movement. “Earth-centered, immanent, and immediate, the Goddess of modern neopaganism serves as a refuge . . . . Continue Reading »

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