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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hen Scratches 16-07-07

We are well into summer and the blogs authors are showing their true colours. John, Peter, Tyler and Dave are in a contest to increase their ratings by using X-rated language in their post titles. It is all very well to sneer at men who write about sports and movies, or women who post pictures of their pets, (if I show you a picture of my dog, you must be very special to me, or an extremely patient person, or both) but these guys take the cake. They have no shame.

I, on the other hand, learned Greek from a middle aged spinster who wore her hair in braids around her head, probably in defiance of 1 Tim. 2:9, and let me read every Greek and Latin poet I might be interested in. Lot of s*x there, but she kept a serious demeanor throughout and more or less pretended that that was NOT what it was about.

Iyov has a much more subtle method for getting attention. He prods me to link to him so that he can link to me linking to him, linking to me, linking to him. Dosedo your partner.

Metacatholic has a post about the ESV that makes me look like a girl scout. (I commissioned him to write it. ;-)

Dr. Waltke didn't think that the discovery of Nebo-sarsekim was all that exciting. He thought that the name had always been known and wasn't sure why it would be news to anyone. He says that he had the impression that there were other instances of the same name in cuneiform, but isn't quite sure where. Any ideas?

And if I post all of the above I am going to be incredibly embarrassed because I just emailed Dr. Fee the link for this blog and a few others. Oh dear.

I am enjoying John's forays into teaching Hebrew on the web and will offer a post on Greek poetry soon.

In the meantime here is an article by F.F. Bruce, from Rob Bradshaw,
    Well, so be it. You wish to know Greek sufficiently well to follow the account given of a word in a lexicon or the discussion of its meaning given in Lightfoot or Westcott. You are studying the Epistle to the Colossians and you come to verse 19 of chapter 1: “For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in him should all the fulness dwell “as the R.V. renders it―with the marginal alternative: “For the whole fulness of God was pleased to dwell in Him”. The term “fulness” plainly has some special significance here, and you wish to find out exactly what its meaning is.

    You have a lexicon within arm’s reach―perhaps Grimm-Thayer―for you have been told by someone that Liddell and Scott, superb as it is for the Classical tongue, is hardly adequate for New Testament study―and Lightfoot’s commentary lies open on your desk. You know that the Greek word which Paul uses for “fulness” is “pleroma”, so you turn up “pleroma” in Grimm-Thayer.

    The first thing you are told is that the noun comes from the verb “pleroō”; next you are told that it is “Sept.”. (What does that mean? Ah, Septuagint!) for something or other in Hebrew letters (so it pays to know at least the Hebrew alphabet even when looking up a Greek word in a lexicon of New Testament Greek). Then you have a couple of quotations from a pagan Greek author to illustrate the etymological force of the noun, and further down, the various shades of New Testament usage are illustrated by reference to the Septuagint, to pagan Greek authors and to a Jewish Greek author.

    How do you propose to make use of these references? Perhaps Lightfoot will help you. You see in his footnote to the text that he has a detached note on “pleroma”. You turn it up and find that it runs to seventeen pages (pages 257-273) and reproduces far more quotation from non-Biblical Greek than Grimm-Thayer’s entry did. In fact, the more Greek you know, the more you will be able to profit by Lightfoot’s note. And that means that the more Greek you know, the more sensitive and accurate will be your appreciation of the meaning of this word in the context here.

    You cannot, in fact, understand one small book in any language without knowing more about the language than is contained in that small book. One meets at times with laborious discussions of the meaning of some word by a painstaking student who has followed the “concordant” method. He has mechanically traced its usage through the New Testament and perhaps through the Septuagint as well, and cannot see that any more light could be thrown upon it.

    But it is all too evident to anyone who has something of a feeling for the language, that much of this labour is wasted, because the man knows individual vocables but does not know Greek. He tells us confidently, for example, that the words at the end of II Thessalonians 2. 7 (“until he be taken out of the way”, R.V.) do not mean what the ordinary translations suggest, because he has looked up each word in the clause and studied its usage, and knows that they can only mean “until out of the midst he (or it) comes to pass”. Yes, he knows Greek words, but he does not know Greek;

    But the key which opens the door to the Greek New Testament fits the lock of another treasure-house with which the student and expositor of Scripture ought to make himself familiar. That treasure-house is the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible produced at Alexandria in the closing centuries B.C. The student of the Old Testament, whether he is a Hebraist or a non-Hebraist, cannot afford to overlook the Septuagint, because it bears witness to at least one form of the text and interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures current in the period immediately preceding the birth of Christianity.

    But the student of the New Testament must equally come to terms with the Septuagint. For although it was not (as is sometimes claimed) the Bible of Our Lord, it was the Bible of the first Greek-speaking Christians, and it is the Bible which is commonly quoted by the writers of the New Testament.

    One of the great Septuagint scholars of the nineteenth century, Mr. E. W. Grinfield, declared:

    “Whoever studies the Greek New Testament in conjunction with the Septuagint, will obtain such a conception of the unity of the Bible, as never could be obtained from the study of two discordant languages”.
Continue reading here.


At Tue Jul 17, 10:09:00 PM, Blogger Iyov said...

Sigh. I try to expose my readers to the lection divina, the sublime, the elevating, but in the end, even the discerning author of this post chooses to begin it with an homage to the salacious, the meretricious, the tawdry.

The way this blog is going, I fear soon you'll be writing about the clergy.

At Tue Jul 17, 10:36:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

That wasn't his Greek instructor in the cute white bobby socks, I don't suppose.

At Wed Jul 18, 03:11:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Don't blame us men for my post title. It's the title of a book by a woman!

Perhaps I should respond with the male equivalent of "Hen Scratches", in British (and KJV) English. But I don't want BBB being blocked by firewalls, as Lingamish may now be.

At Wed Jul 18, 07:59:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Well, Peter, you shall be excused, but Lingamish, John and Tyler chose their titles. I am not so sure about this "hen scratches" title either, but the alternative seemed to be "chick"!.

I hope you noticed that the BBB did indeed get picked up by a few different sites with your post.


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