Translation Masterclass

Robert Alter

25/02/2007 4:45 pm

“In order to translate the Bible, you have to do philological spade work. That is sort of like detective work.”

“After I was well into my work, I realized that I was simultaneously carrying out two great love affairs: my love affair with the Hebrew language and my love affair with the English language.”

-Robert Alter

Robert Alter took us through his multifaceted work.

Robert Alter


Robert Alter’s translation of the Hebrew bible, the magnificent capstone to a lifetime of distinguished scholarly work, has won the PEN Center Literary Award for translation and the Koret Jewish Book Award. His achievements in scholarship ranging from the eighteenth-century European novel to contemporary Hebrew and American literature earned Alter the Robert Kirsch Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Los Angeles Times. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, Alter is Emeritus Class of 1937 Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.