Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Evolution of an Approach

I'm always interested in how non-traditional approaches begin. Q & A with Robert Alter explores the evolution of his literary approach to Biblical translation:

IDEAS: Why did you get so strongly drawn to the Bible as literature when you did, in the 1970s?

ALTER: Since my late teens I've been fascinated with biblical narrative - why it seems so great and yet also so simple. I couldn't explain that. Then, in the late '70s, when I was writing regularly for Commentary, the idea popped into my head that maybe I could say something about biblical narrative.

I wrote a piece arguing that biblical scholars lacked any sort of literary approach, and got a shower of letters. Then I wrote a second article, and my book ``The Art of Biblical Narrative," all the time thinking, this isn't my field, I'm going to get this out of my system. But I found the intrinsic literary and intellectual interest of the Biblical stories and poems so compelling that I've kept working at it ever since.
If you haven't read The Art of the Biblical Narrative, you're missing out. Read the entire interview in Q & A with Robert Alter.

Via Maud Newton