Photograph of McCreight Lecturer Robert Alter.

2014 McCreight Lecturer
Robert Alter

“The History of the English Bible: From King James to the 21st Century”

By Robert Alter

7:30 p.m. , October 30
Geary Auditorium of Riggleman Hall
University of Charleston

One of the nation's foremost Bible translators and scholars will deliver the 2014 McCreight Lecture in the Humanities on October 30.

This program is free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first served.


Betsy K. McCreight Lecture in the Humanities

Robert Alter, one of the worlds foremost Bible translators and scholars, will deliver the 2014 McCreight Lecture in the Humanities. For more than three decades Alter has been translating and interpreting the Bible. He will discuss his critically acclaimed efforts at 7:30 p.m. on October 30 in Geary Auditorium on the campus of the University of Charleston. The program is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow the program.

Alter, who holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University, is an internationally recognized Bible scholar and award-winning author. He has written widely on the literary aspects of the Bible and asserts that the Bible contains a previously unrecognized set of sophisticated literary techniques that unite the text and strengthen the themes. His translations and interpretive commentaries attempt to remove inaccuracies or uncertainty of past translations and restore, in English, the clarity and literary vitality of the original.

In his Charleston talk, Alter will discuss the history of the English language Bible -  why and how it originally came to be translated, the processes of creating the King James Version, challenges faced by early and contemporary translators, the impact of translations on subsequent interpretations and meaning, and his 30 plus years of work in Bible scholarship.

Alter is professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Council of Scholars of the Library of Congress, and a former president of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics. He has received the Robert Kirsch Award from the Los Angeles Times for lifetime contribution to American letters. He won the PEN USA Literary Award for Translation for his book The Five Books of Moses that was also a New York Times Notable Selection. Other titles by Alter include The Art of Biblical Narrative, The Literary Guide to the Bible, The David Story, The Book of Psalms, Pen of Iron: American Prose and the King James Bible, and Ancient Israel: The Former Prophets.

The West Virginia Humanities Council board of directors established the annual McCreight Lecture in honor of founding board of directors member Betsy Keadle McCreight, who passed away in 1985.