Note: Can I Say This at Church is produced for audio listening. If able, I strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which has inflection, emotion, sarcasm where applicable, and emphasis for points that may not come across well in written word. This transcript is generated using a combination of my ears and software, and may contain errors. Please check the episode for clarity before quoting in print.
Hey there, everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I'm really, really excited for today's conversation. And so I'm going to belabor all of the normal things, the plea to support the show and rate and review the show because you know that you should have already done that. You'll find those links at canisaythisatchurch.com, and you know, fire up the Patreon, Facebook, Twitter, all the places and so here we go.
Show of hands, how many people have ever translated anything? Your hand is down just like mine. I finished recently wrapping a conversation with Professor Robert alter. I recently read a post somewhere online that said, you know, who would intimidate you to talk to and so, you know, Robert is definitely on the list. And I think you'll hear that trepidation in me repeating questions here in a minute, but the conversation was beautiful. I do not want to belabor any points. And so here we go, Professor Robert Alter.
Professor Robert Alter, thank you so much for agreeing to come on to the show. I'm a very big fan of your work. I'm actually looking at a set of your Hebrew Bible that was on sale recently, I grabbed a copy, because I could not afford it at full price, but I've really enjoyed it. So, welcome to the show.
I'm happy to be here.
I was pointed in your direction by a few people. One of them was the creator of Bibliotheca Adam Lewis Greene and talking with him. He had said, you know, you should really look at the work you know on biblical narrative and poetry and etc, by you. And before that, I didn't realize who you were, but I believe your work has been fairly impactful for just theology as a whole. So thank you for that. But for those that are going to have the same problem that I had tell us a bit about yourself, what is important as we discuss, you know, biblical narratives and, and thematic elements and whatnot, what is important to know about you as a scholar?
Okay, well, I started my career strictly as a literary scholar, and, in particular a scholar of modern literature of the European and American novel. Now I happen to have known Biblical Hebrew also modern Hebrew, by the way, quite well since about the age of 18. And the Bible always enchanted me but I couldn't figure out what was so great about it, given the fact that it's so sparing in details and seems, at times, almost simple. And then about 15 years into my career, I thought, well, I'm beginning to figure out a few things about how biblical narrative works. So I wrote an article and the article, I was pretty young then, which was rather feisty. You know, I sort of scolded Biblical scholars for spending all their time hunting down Acadian lone words, and not knowing how to read a story. And I tried to demonstrate how you read a story by proposing a reading of the the story of Judah and Tamar in Genesis 38, and how it relates to everything around it.
And I thought that this was going to be a one off, but that there was a rather big response to with letters from readers and so forth. So I thought, well, I have a couple of more ideas about Biblical narrative, and I'll write another article. And then soon it was four articles. And by that time, I saw I was on my way to writing a book about Biblical narrative which came out I guess, 38 years ago in 1981. And it's been in print ever since.
And that kind of drew me into the Bible in general, and I wrote a book on Biblical poetry and a series of articles and then one thing led to another and through a proposal from a publisher, I ended up doing a translation of Genesis.
To begin with, I didn't really think I was going to do the whole ball of wax. But I did end up doing that.
Now maybe I should say something about the importance of Biblical narrative.
Some people ask, well, if you're talking about something about these writings, in literary terms, aren't you misrepresenting the Bible by putting such an emphasis on its literary art? And here's the thing that I am convinced of; these Hebrew writers from whatever from about the year 1100 before the Christian era, and onward down to around 165 BC, they, of course were impelled by a powerful religious motive.
They had this new vision of monotheism one God replacing the many gods and all that entails morally and in terms of a covenant between God and Israel and so forth. That's what they wanted to talk about. And that's what everyone is always recognized about the Bible right? But for reasons we cannot fathom they happen to be, really in comparison with their big neighbors with Egypt and the various Mesopotamian kingdoms, which were very sophisticated cultures. Far suppressing ancient Israel in material culture, but they completely Eclipse their neighbors in literary brilliance. And they made the decision to cast their vision of God, creation, history, Israel, the moral realm, in highly sophisticated literary narrative and, and great poetry.
So my contention over the years has been that in order to see what they want to say about all those grand, religious, theological themes, you have to pay more attention to the literary vehicle through which they convey those things.
I want to circle back to a word you said a minute ago because I'm just going to show my ignorance here. You said Acadian lone words. What are what is that?
Well, okay, here's the story. The Bible is full of puzzles, that is words that appear only once or twice in the whole biblical corpus. And scholars over the centuries, including the modern, highly informed period, when we have archaeology and all that have been making guesses about what those words mean. And of course, we do want to know, to the best of our ability, what every word in the Bible means. So sometimes, when scholars come across a word, this an enigma, they will look around to the other Semitic languages in the region, and say, “Well, here's a word and Acadian”, Acadian was the language of the Syrian Empire and that's, you know, over the the area of Mesopotamia.
“Here's a, here's a word and Acadian. That means, I don't know torrential rain. So maybe this word in a Ezekiel, which sounds a little bit like it also means torrential rain”. So that's what what an Acadian lone word would be.
Now, I might add to this that this is a tricky road, to conclude that if two languages are in contact, and words look similar, that they mean the same thing in one language is another. I'll give you an example. Let's say in the year 3500, when 21st century English is not known very well, a scholar who knows French very well comes across the person word assist in an English text. And he knows that in French, you have this verb, assisté which doesn't mean to help, it means to attend, like to attend to ceremony.
So he says, oh, then assistant English must mean to attend to ceremony, and he’d be dead wrong.
What do you do with that then if it's someone like me, that doesn't know Hebrew, how do I recognize those when I'm reading scripture? Like if I'm reading that, and I don't know the difference? Did those words have like an ultimate impact in the overarching narrative? Or will it not necessarily…
It depends, I would say that if you reading in translation, of course, there is no way to know unless you're reading some kind of annotated translation. We're an honest translator. And there are a number of the translations by committee, I have a dim view of them, but they are, some of them are honest in this respect. They'll put a little notice about the meaning the Hebrew is obscure.
And what I do because I ended up writing a commentary, not just the translators notes, I often explain in in detail, and it's, I think, frequently the case that a single word that's obscure, isn't going to mess up the understanding of the the whole Texas maybe just a small, local nuance, and to be frank what translators and scholars do often is to make an educated guess, based on context.
I'll give you one rather frequent example. Biblical poetry is based on parallelism in meaning, that is the second half of the line somehow echoes; I think it often develops, but it echoes the meaning of the first half of the line. So let's say in the first half of the line, you have a noun, that means ship. And everybody knows it means ship. And then in the second half of the line, you have a word that appears only at this point in the whole Bible. And you don't know what the word means, but you figure…it's okay, it's parallel to ship. So it's some kind of see craft.
I want to pivot a bit. So earlier, you talk about religious motives and biblical narrative. And so, there's a lot of things there that fascinate me that we can that we can dovetail into, but I'd rather not. So my question is, I often get the most confused in the metaphorical language of the prophets, and how often I feel like they call back to Genesis or they call back to Exodus or you know, Jesus will call back to that, but we read him so flatly. How does one sit down and relate well you know, with the prophets or move past or or knit together, thematically, how they all are telling a narrative?
Now, I would say this, that this mechanism of said the prophets, harking back to Genesis or the Exodus story, or whatever, is part of the the dynamic of all literature that is, all literature, particularly secular literature is as well work but by building on its own pass by taking earlier tech and getting into a dialogue with them, sometimes transforming them. And that happens again and again in the Bible.
So what I would invite a serious reader as a Bible to do is when he or she hears an echo of an earlier text, simply for these readers to ask themselves.
Well, why is this piece of Genesis being invoked in Jeremiah? What does it tell us about Jeremiah's intention? So I'll give you one example. For the moment I'm blocking the chapter number. But there is a passage in Jeremiah, in which he invokes the ghastly devastation that will overtake Israel, if Israel does not remain faithful to its covenant with God. And the way proceeds is by a verse by verse, recollection of the creation story in Genesis with things turn backwards.
That is, you know, I’m paraphrasing from rough memory, you know, the Prophet says, and I look to the heavens, and there is no bird flying, I look to the sun, and it is turn dark and so on and so forth. So what you have here is almost like a film spool running backwards, where all the steps of creation that you get in Genesis 1 are being reversed. And the world is being returned to its primordial chaos. Okay?
So if you then ask yourself, and I think you don't have to be a profound scholar to do this, just a thoughtful reader, yes. But why is Jeremiah doing this? He's doing this because he's trying to get across to his people, the message that creation itself is contingent. That said, if humankind doesn't observe its responsible, moral stewardship of the world, the world can turn back into chaos. And that's a very powerful religious message.
It is. So I crowdsource some questions when I told people that I will be speaking with you.
Somebody had said that they're currently reading through your Genesis translation currently. And they had some thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of those that read the Bible in literal translations. And so I guess what does literal translation mean, as opposed to like a literal literary narrative approach?
And then maybe if you could also what is an example of a literal translation of the Bible, and then the translation that would possibly be like approaching it from a literal narrative version?
Well, what I tried to do a kind of tricky balancing act. That is, I want to make the Bible readable as a beautifully wrought narrative, for the reasons that I've indicated earlier. Because that's what it is in the Hebrew and to make it sound clumsy or bizarre would be violating what the original is like. But I try to do this to the best of my ability by hewing closely to the contours of the Hebrew.
The King James version does this to a large extent, I think I do it even more than the King James. Although, I have to say I do have a lot of respect for the King James Version. So maybe I'll give you since you mentioned metaphor a couple of minutes ago. I'll give you an example of literal translation of a metaphor.
When Joseph's brothers come to see him in Egypt for the first time. And as you will recall, he knows who they are, but they don't know who he is, he looks like an Egyptian to them. At one point in anger, he says to them in my translation, which follows the Hebrew including the word order, quite literally, “the nakedness of the land you have come to see”.
Now, two or three Translations by committee, done in the 20th century that looked at, translate this as “you've come to seek out or spy on the weak points in our defense”. Now, what have the translators they're done?
They figured, well, here's a metaphor, it's going to confuse people. People don't understand metaphors anymore, which I think is wrong. And so, instead of conveying the metaphor, we will represent in our English version, what the metaphor refers to. So they say, the weak points in our defense, which may or may not be what that metaphor refers to, but I preserve the metaphor literally. Why? Because I think it is quite powerful. That is, a reader familiar with the Bible and those that to see that nakedness is a metaphor for taboo, sexual relations, like you shall not see your mother's nakedness.
And, and so what Joseph is saying to his brothers is something that never should be seen by alien eyes. You've come to see in in Egypt, and that's why the, the metaphor works so beautifully. And that's the kind of thing that I tried to do pretty consistently in my translation of the Bible.
So I'm glad that you brought up taboo because it's a question that I have, a question actually spoke about with my pastor a few days ago at our church, and then with a few friends online.
So I thought so they're currently going through like a 13 week summer series, just because I honestly I think, Robert that the calendar just matches well, but we just finished Nahum, and then we're just we're going to Habakkuk next week, like we're just going through all of the prophets, which has really been enjoyable because they're throwing in all the context context.
Yeah, that’s a big challenge.
So I find that oftentimes, people only talk about the easy things, and the things that require too much context that you can't fit into 25 minutes sermon, we just can't talk about these because you can't do it justice. Right. And a 13 week series is so big. But I told I was like, you know, we should talk about, you know, the wisdom books and Song of Songs and like, we just don't talk about any erotic prose or narrative. And so I'm curious, your thoughts on that. Like, that's a taboo subject. It's rarely if ever, talk about so how does a reader approach those texts in a way that they can learn something? Because the metaphors they're like, I've read some stuff from Robert Williamson where he's like, you know, this isn't really, there's three or four ways to view this. But because we don't talk about it, it's entirely confusing. So what is your take kind of on those erotic prose and those erotic poetry? And how does that relate, I guess to the narrative of you know, the Hebrew Bible?
Okay, well, the first thing I have to say is that the Biblical writers are quite frank about erotic matters. That, by the way, this is a kind of tricky challenge in translation. For example, terms that refer to the sexual act, you will find in the modern translation, translators rendering these terms as to be intimate with, to have relations with, to co-habitate with all of which are kind of ponderous and don't feel at all like the Biblical world. Or one translation I looked at with Potiphar’s wife when she tried to seduce Joseph has to say to him, make love to me.
Which is all wrong because it's such a modern locution. It's like a frustrated wife might say to her husband make love to me, but not an ancient Egyptian aristocratic lady, right. So, the Bible uses very simple terms, which I think still work that is, to lie with, to come into and to know. That is because of the King James version which literally translated, the Hebrew didn't know as that it's become an established term in English in a Christian we even have a kind of legal term carnal knowledge.
So, I think that a translator needs to respect the dignity of these references to sex. But as I said, the Hebrew writers are quite frank about this, and the Song of Songs which of course, both Christians and Jews, as I'm sure you know, have read allegorically.
I myself don't read this mainly allegorically but kind of very exuberant, guilt free, celebration of the joys of sensual love, and my own take on this is that this is a, I would say this to believers, that this is a gift from God to humanity and there's good reason to celebrate it.
if you're not going to read it out gorgeously for those like me that don't say up on the English verbiage, English is whatever it is on the internet anymore. So allegory is you know like a metaphor revealing you know some form of hidden meaning like the message behind the message. So what would be another way to read that text or text like that? Because there is so much allegory.
Like I remember asking Professor NT, right about, you know, water wheels in the sky, I think in Ezekiel and he's like, I just don't know.
(Laughter) Yeah. That’s a great question.
He's like is like I don't know what to do with that. I'm just going to really say didn't really answer the question. I was like, what do I do with it? No, it wasn't NT Wright it was Brueggemann. But either way, I was like, What do I do with this?
He's like I there's some questions that are great questions. I just don't have answers. So how else would you read it if not allegorical?
Okay. So, here’s the thing. As I said, both Jews and Christians have gone the road of allegory. There's a wonderful moment in the Talmud, where there's a debate among the the sages as to whether the Song of Songs should be included, and scripture and one of the greatest early sages, Rabbi Akiva says, if all the writings are holy, then the Song of Songs is holy of holies. By which he clearly meant that it was a sacred allegory. From the Jewish point of view. It's about the love between God and the community of Israel. In the Christian allegory, it's the love between Christ and the church.
And the allegorical reading is beautiful in its way and I don't dismiss people who choose to read it that way. And probably without the allegory, it wouldn't have gotten into the camera, but I think that the original meaning, I suppose, not the only meaning but the original meaning of these poems is the love between a young man and a young woman.
And love, and love poetry, were part of the the cultural experience of ancient Israel. And these poems are so expressive of that experience of balancing a kind of refinement with frank sensuality, that, that I think that the people didn't want to let go those problems. So they were preserved in the Canon and then to make them fit better into the overall religious impulse of the canon it became the practice, as I say, for both the Christian and the Jewish community, to read them allegory,
So I’m going to use the word Sola Scriptura only because I think it matters when you translate in the Bible. So I get a lot of pushback from people when I say, you know, I don't necessarily believe the Bible is literally always trying to say what you think it's saying. But as you're reading through translations, what would you say to someone that says, you know, Robert, if you're going to retranslate the Bible, or really anyone, the words, I hear you earlier, you know, there's words that really only exist and a handful of places and we're just guessing.
So how can someone that really wants to rest in the the, I guess the safety net, of a Sola Scriptura mentality? How can they wrestle with Scripture in a way that they're going to allow themselves maybe to see new insights that they didn't see before without really dealing with trauma; with intentionally dealing with it. Because there's a small little loss of fidelity there I think for a lot of people, you know, they're wrestling with things are like, “wait, it has…it has four meetings? This isn't acceptable. I need just this one”. How would you advise you know, if a student was asking you that?
Well to begin with, this goes back to our discussion of the invocation of Acadian loan words, now that we understand what those are. There could be places where there's a word that appears only once in the entire Bible and there doesn't seem any convincing etymology to relate it to something we know. And at best, we can only guess by context, and that's just built in. Now a second thing that I hope this won't disconcert some of your readers. But ancient texts, this is true of the Greek and Latin as well as the Hebrew, are copied by scribes and the scribes in a generation of scribes, you know, one generation of scribes copying the work of a preceding generation. And the fact is that scribes are human, and scribes make mistakes in copying, unfortunately, and I can attest to this because I've discovered quite a few times in my own translation that my eye has skipped over word, which is something that scribes do.
So this means, and there's not much to save this part of Scripture, that being in ancient text copied by hand, from one generation to another there are places where the text got scrambled. And it's very hard to unscramble it. Maybe the best example is In the Hebrew Bible is Job. Job is a very powerful book, brilliant poetry maybe the most brilliant poetry in the whole Hebrew Bible.
But the Job poet uses a much bigger vocabulary than any other biblical poet, which means that he's often uses words that don't appear anywhere else. And the ancient scribes, what a scribe does when he's copying a text, if he comes across a word that is unfamiliar to him, he may substitute a familiar word and by that scramble the text or he may simply get confused and do something odd with that word. So the fact of the matter is that we can carry with us the brilliance and the profundity of the book of Job.
But there are places where the text is kind of messed up.
So that is a built-in problem and it's something as you say, that maybe lay readers of the Bible don't like to think about because as your question suggests…the whole idea that would make them a little uncomfortable.
But it just, it goes with the territory.
And if correct me if I'm wrong, but you did your current translation by hand correct, and then I assume it was someone else's job to type that up? And that's a big job, but you did it by hand?
That is absolutely insane. I'm curious with your training.
A narrative and, and literature outside of biblical texts. What are some of the ways that you know the Hebrew Bible that we have now? And maybe the New Testament Bible as well, although I'm not sure where your training ins has drawn from other texts that we have maybe forgotten about or just pass over and so because of that, we may lose some of the meaning.
You mean, my training and other texts?
Okay. Let me give you one example. I mentioned earlier that I've been focused in my general literary studies, mostly on the novel. Something that is observable in the novel maybe beginning in the 19th century with the so called “art novel”, is that many writers choose to build their novels by weaving in from one episode to another a recurring image or motif.
For example, in Flaubert Madame Bovary, the first time we see Emma Bovary, she has a parasol, and the sun is shining through it and the parasol is blue, and casts a blue light on her face. And then we find that the color blue keeps coming back in the novel, in her fantasies. Her romantic fantasies involve blue distances and so on and so forth. So this is something that I was alerted to early in my training in my reading as a student of literature. And then I came to Genesis, and I saw that something quite similar is going on, for example, in the Jacob- Joseph's story, garments are very important.
Almost from beginning to end, that is, Jacob first deceives his father to steal the blessing by wearing his brother's clothes. Then Jacob's sons, deceive their father, by taking this coat of many colors in the King James Version, that the father's made as a gift to Joseph dipping in in blood and bring it to him and saying that wild beast has devoured him. Then we have the change of garments in the Joseph's story from prison garb to royal arraignment, and so on and so forth. I don't want to hold for too long, but a long stretch of story is tied together by this. Oh of course I should mention that one prime example that when his wife assault, Joseph, she tears the garment off his back and he runs naked outside; and then she sets the garment alongside her. And when the people the household answer her screams, she says, “Look, he took off his garment to assault me” when, of course with the real fact is that she tore the garment off him. So it becomes a crucial evidentiary fact. So see what I mean that something that I learned from reading Flaubert or James Joyce pops up almost 3000 years earlier in the Hebrew Bible.
I want to end with this because my time is coming quickly to a close and so I must thank you guys as well. One of the things that Adam had said I'd asked him a question and he'd said, I'm going to try to paraphrase something that I think Robert has said in the past, but I like the way that it lenses the way that we should methodically and intentionally sit with uncomfortable in Scripture, but also read with the lens of a little bit more beauty.
And so one of the things that he said is the thing about the Hebrew Bible, you know, when it's held up to the New Testament or I think he was also arguing not really many other large libraries of text, or that it's just a level of artistry that is achieved in the Hebrew Bible that is rarely if ever reach elsewhere in Scripture. So I'm curious if you could break that down a bit? So if that is true, and hopefully it is that paraphrase is true, because I didn’t fact check it, I didn't know where to look. How can I, you know, I'm sitting down and I'm going to pull out and I'm just going to randomly open up and you know, just, you know, I'm going to wrestle with Jonah today or I'm gonna wrestle with 2nd Kings today; like how do I read scripture in a way to just kind of read that beauty as opposed to let flat reading for those listening that are going to turn it off, grab a Bible and be like; “all right let's see what Roberts actually talking about”?
Okay, I have one rule of thumb, it won't cover all cases, but it covers a surprising number of cases. One of the primary procedures, artful procedures, in both poetry and narrative in the Bible is repetition that looks like repetition, but turns out not to be exact repetition. And where it's not exact repetition, something revalatory happens. For example, and this is by no means the only category but on the microscopic level. Again, and again in Hebrew narrative you have let's say a narrator saying something and or one of the characters, and then another character says something and it looks like exactly the same words.
But if you read it carefully and as long as the translation doesn't play games with the original, and I try not to play games, you can do this in translation. When there's a repetition, most of the time it looks like an exact repetition, but it's not. Sometimes one word will be changed, or the order of words, or something will be subtracted or something will be added. And that always tells you something important about what's going on in the story. So when, when Joseph is falsely accused by Pulitzer Prize wife of attempted rape, she tells the people in the household that the Hebrew men that “he brought to us” (he being her husband-in which he doesn't call them by name or title, but contemptuously he) that who brought to us came into me to play with me to mock me; it's a double meaning word.
Now, when her husband comes home, she tells him exactly the same story in almost exactly the same words, but instead of saying, “the Hebrew man”, she says, “The Hebrew slave”.
Now why the difference between the two versions so just in that one word? Well, when she's talking to the workers on her estate. She’s talking to people who are no doubt slaves and she doesn't want to remind them of Joseph’s slave status, tut the fact that he's an Egyptian…I'm sorry, Hebrew man, you know, one of those wild Semites from the North who are all rapists! Right?
Whereas when she talks to her husband, she grounds, just in that one word, because otherwise she's repeating what she said, verbatim, but instead of “a Hebrew man”, she calls him “a Hebrew slave” because to her husband, she wants him to be conscious of the fact that a mere slave; someone who is his property, had the audacity to attempt to assault her.
So it's a little thing but it's quite beautiful and it gives you a much more vivid sense of what's going on in the interaction between the characters.
Well, and it makes me ask questions I don't have time to answer, but I'll ask him here. And we won't answer him, but I'll ask them intentionally. It makes me wonder of the metaphor, in this part of the story, of you know, nakedness calls back to how often Israel is stripped naked, or laid bare after sins are exposed.
And in the way that we view humanity today, you know, what that story has to talk about with, you know, the way that I view other people and whether or not they have value to have their voice be heard. But we won't we won't go there today.
Yeah, that’s a big topic.
Yeah, that's a four hour topic, and I think my internet connection has proven today, it is not going to cooperate for that.
Ha (laughter…) okay.
Thank you for your grace with that. Where would you point people to Professor that want to get ahold of your work? That want to read more, and honestly, I'm curious…is there a place to go back and see those original articles that you referenced at the beginning, I wrote them down that you had some and I'm happy to Google that, but I'm curious if there's a place to get the original articles.
The original articles are put together in a book, not a very long book, there's about 230 pages, called The Art of Biblical Narrative, and I revised that somewhat, not fundamentally, though I did expand a few things here and there and modify a few statements back in I think 2011-2012, somewhere around then, and it's available in paperback. So under the imprint of Basic Books, so it's not very expensive and I think I try in all my writing, not to use academic jargon and not to be highly technical. So I think an open minded reader can follow it well enough. And it would give that reader, I think, a certain handle on how Biblical narrative works. And really, I do try to write in an accessible and lively way without technical language.
And my aim really is to give readers a kind of toolkit; that is, after they read the book on Biblical narrative, can they take those tools and go read other Biblical narratives beyond the ones I’ve discuss and read them more fully?
Yeah, absolutely. So there's that book and then how do they find more about you know, they're inclined and they're like, I need to know more about this. Where Is there like a repository of just all the places to go to is there an easy way to access your stuff?
Well, I've never set up a website. Let me see, if you go to the website of the Department of Comparative Literature at the University California, there's, you know, a bio on me.
And otherwise, one can always, I'm not recommending purchases, but one can, can go to, under my name to Amazon books and see what I've written that's out there.
Well, I would recommend purchases. The only reason I know that that most recent version is 2011 is because I recently bought it. But then when you said that they were older, I was like, this sounds familiar. And then I looked at the copyright and said 2011 I was like, well this has to be something different. So I appreciate that clarification. Well, Robert, in fear of the internet breaking again, I'm going to thank you now for coming on.
It was very nice.
Thank you, Robert.
Man, I am so happy to have been able to speak to Robert and I have about 5000 more questions to talk about. And maybe that'll happen one day. For those of you that are Patreon supporters of the show, you will know how hard this one was to edit. The Internet broke like 29 times. its closest I think I've ever come to literally just yelling at the computer.
It is a privilege to be able to do this. I would really encourage you to go and get some of the writings of Robert Alter, those books that we talked about right at the very end, I'll put a link to that book in the show notes. They're brilliant. So I bought them since discussing with Robert and really, really good books and I cannot recommend enough his Hebrew Bible translation with commentary it is, it is a love labor-labor of love, however you say that. I hope that you got as much out of that as I did. I cannot wait for the next time that we're together, I hope that you are all blessed.