The Challenge of Translating the Bible
The Bible is both the world’s all-time bestselling book and the most retranslated, reflecting centuries of evolution of language and shifts – often subtle – in interpretation.
No modern-day figure has contributed more to our understanding and appreciation of the sacred text than the University of California’s Robert Alter, who devoted 23 years to an acclaimed new translation of the Hebrew Bible released in 2018. In a special Library event, he discusses that work, the significant implications from even the tiniest alterations to biblical texts, and his push to look beyond the 17th-century King James Version and give closer study to the Hebrew Bible.
The program is presented in memory of the late Matilda Rosenberg, who served for 20 years as director of social work at Village Shalom in Overland Park and Aberdeen Village in Olathe.
Alter is a graduate school professor and Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at Cal-Berkeley, where he has taught since 1967. His 24 books include The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary, which won the PEN Center Literary Award for Translation, as well as two prize-winning volumes on biblical narrative and poetry and award-winning translations of Genesis and of the Five Books of Moses.
He is a two-time Guggenheim Fellow, a Senior Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities, a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem, and an Old Dominion Fellow at Princeton University.
It is co-sponsored by Congregation Beth Shalom; Congregation Beth Torah; Jewish Experiences, A Collaboration of Jewish Federation and The J; the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy, Kehilath Israel Synagogue; New Reform Temple; Rabbi Mark Levin's Shabbat Torah and Rabbinics Study; Congregation Kol Ami-KC; and The Temple, Congregation B'nai Jehudah.