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The Bible’s ‘Wisdom Books’

English translations of the Hebrew Bible tend either towards inspiration or straightforward translation.  On the eve of the 400th anniversary of the completion of the King James Bible, renowned biblical scholar Robert Alter has released his latest work — a translation of what are called “The Wisdom Books: Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.” Alter is determined, in his latest effort, to marry poetry with precise language in what he calls the most mysterious books in the Hebrew Bible.

Jon Meacham spoke with him recently about the continued relevance of the Bible and of the “The Wisdom Books” in particular.