Blogging about a new illustrated version of Genesis from graphic artist extraordinaire Robert Crumb, Sara Ivry of the online magazine Tablet displays some confusion about her own publication’s genesis.
Crumb relied on Robert Alter’s 2004 translated Five Books of Moses, but tweaked Alter’s prose to make it more colloquial. Alter’s translations have been criticized for a formality born of his desire to remain as true as possible to the Biblical syntax— an idea he discussed with Tablet in 2007. [Emphasis added.]
While the Tablet — at least of the genus judaica — was not yet wandering cyberspace two years ago, paleontologists have discovered the remains of a creature believed to have been an antecedent of the Tablet. It is thought that this extinct species — which has been dubbed the “Nextbook” — may have lived during the time period in which Alter elaborated upon his fealty to biblical syntax. Scientists suspect that the Tablet may have swallowed some remains from the Nextbook. It is further believed that while the Nextbook had mastered the use of fire and podcasts by the year 2007 C.E., this creature still lacked the Tablet’s knowledge of blogging, perhaps contributing to its extinction.
Temporal confusion is, of course, common in discussions of Genesis. Indeed, some persist in believing, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the earth is billions of years old. We, thankfully, know better.