Revealing the Craft Behind the Writing of Biblical Stories and Poems

In applying textual analysis to the Bible’s original Hebrew, literary scholars contribute as much to our understanding as archaeologists and philologists. Robert Alter’s new translation of the first four prophets offers an excellent example of this.

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“Ancient Israel: The Former Prophets: Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings: A Translation with Commentary,” by Robert Alter. W.W. Norton, 880 pages, $35