The following was written by the Metropolitan of the ACC:
Alter’s – and Hammond’s – reasons for this judgement are many. While the KJV is sometimes based on shaky Hebrew texts or imperfect understandings of the Hebrew, Alter points out that most modern translations have ‘a shaky sense of English’. Furthermore, modern translations tend to try to explain and interpret in the course of translation: what Alter calls ‘the heresy of explanation’. While translations are always something of an interpretation, the modern translations seem to embrace this fact as an opportunity rather than be aware of it as a danger. The KJV tends to be more literal, more earthy, more concrete, and less prettified than modern translations, all of which facts render it closer to the Hebrew. In fact the modern translations often place ‘readers at a grotesque distance from the distinctive literary experience of the Bible in its original language.’ (p. x) Alter provides many examples. One example here will have to suffice. The Hebrew word zera‘, ‘seed’, can refer both to plant seeds or to semen. It is used by extension to mean ‘offspring’, ‘progeny’, ‘descendants’. But the Hebrew, when meaning ‘progeny’, still always retains the direct connection to the more basic meanings of ‘seed’. The KJV consistently renders zera‘ with its basic Hebrew meaning, ‘seed’. Modern versions are liable to render the word with the derived, secondary, and less literal meanings of ‘offspring’ or ‘descendants’. This makes the text less literal, less concrete, and further from the Hebrew meaning and mind.