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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Keep Your Greek, chapters 9, 10, supplemental material

Chapter nine
What if your Greek is rusty and slipping or even partly gone? Chapter nine tells you how to get your Greek back if it's gone or going. Having relearned Greek two or three times, I agree with Campbell when he says that it's easier the second or third time. It's a matter of gaining the courage to retrace the ground that you've lost.

Chapter ten
Putting it together. Campbell tell us how he puts these tips together in his schedule to keep up not just his Greek but other languages as well.

Supplemental material
Appendix: Campbell mostly address students here, stressing the importance of getting it right the first time. If you have a good foundation it's harder to lose, easier to maintain, and easier to regain if needed.

Resources for all sorts of Greek. Worth checking out.

In summary:
For $10, this book is a good buy. The hints and suggestions are well worth the price. Of course whether or not you or I follow is up to us, but the author has laid a good foundation for how to keep up your Greek (the suggestions would also work for Hebrew) after leaving seminary or for getting it back if it's slipping. I would recommend the book for those about to leave seminary, or those who have graduated and feel that they need to regain their slipping skills.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Keep Your Greek, chapters 6, 7, 8

Chapter six: Read fast

Chapter seven: Read slow

Contradictory? No. Just as in English I may skim an article quickly for the main points, so too it is useful to be able to skim a Greek passage for the main points. When we can do this, we can quickly read to see what the author was speaking about. When you can skim well, then you know that you are more at home with the language. Again, read the blog hints at the ends of the chapters. On the other hand, at times you need to read slowly, with great care, paying attention to every detail and knowing every part and the function of every part.

At times you need to read fast, at others, you need to read quickly.

Chapter eight: Use your senses Read aloud, listen to tapes of vocabulary and others reading the text. Some people are singing Greek. I remember Dr. Owens at Colorado College singing Classical Greek according to the accents. Apparently there exist songs for verb and noun endings. I wish they had been around when I was teaching Greek! Lastly, writing out paradigms shows that we really know them.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Wrong Metaphor

In a post yesterday by Albert Mohler, Mohler responds to McLaren's criticisms of Mohler that Mohler had made of Bell.

Mohler quotes McLaren:

If a human father decided to throw his child in a fireplace for just ten seconds as punishment for disobedience, we wouldn’t fault the father simply for being unsentimental: we would say such behavior was unholy, an act of torture in violation of our most fundamental sense of justice. Any definition of justice and holiness that involves being unsatisfied unless the imperfect are suffering eternal agony seems to many of us as unworthy of a human being and if so, how much more unworthy of God whose justice must be better than our own.

And this is so true. But this is the wrong way to look the situation between God and humanity. We are not God's children by creation, we are rebelling citizens. And kings (and presidents) deal harshly with rebelling citizens. It is their right (and responsibility) to do so. Jesus related several parables where God as the king punishes his enemies severely and tells others that there will be great punishment for those who rebel against God. These include Matthew 8:5-13, 13:40-42, 21:33-44, 22:1-14.

Now, I realize that these passage don't settle whether hell will eventually be emptied, but they do speak to a God who is justified in punishing those who rebel against him and who sin against him. These passages speak to a Jesus who believes and teaches exactly those same things.

In RC Sproul's book, The Prayer of the Lord, he discusses the idea of the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man.

I think Harnack was wrong in his analysis of the essence of Christianity. I don't think these two propositions are at the core of the Christian faith. In fact, I don't think they're even a part of the Christian faith. I think these propositions are actually antithetical to the Christian faith. (22)
I think that RC is exactly correct, and that McLaren has bought into Harnack's error. The fatherhood of God is for those who are believers in Jesus Christ, and no others. That God has a creatorial love for his creation is true, but that does not mean that he loves all humanity in the same way. Challenge: is RC correct? Is there anywhere in the Bible that refers to God as the father of all humanity?

So, as we discuss the relationship between God and humanity we must be careful to use the correct metaphor for the correct relationship. For believers in Jesus Christ, he is Father. For all humanity, he is the king and creator to whom all owe allegiance and obedience. Those who will not give obedience and allegiance will be treated at some point as the rebels that they are.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Keep Your Greek, chapters 3 & 4 & 5

Just as an interlinear can be a crutch, so too can be Bible software. Those wonderful programs that allow the pastor and scholar to search and find new patterns can also substitute for the knowledge that allows us to read well and comfortably in another language. How to avoid this crutch? Don't have any native language Bible open when you are reading Greek for reading practice. Campbell gives other tips as well, but you'll need to read the book.

Chapter 4 deals with the need to know vocabulary. I have a confession to make. I like languages; it's fun to learn the ins and outs of the language (grammar) and just enough vocabulary to understand how the language works. That's the fun part for me. Then the hard work begins. That's learning vocabulary, enough vocabulary to become fluent. That takes time and patience and practice. This chapter gives hints and tools on how to learn vocabulary so that it really sticks. The blog excerpts are especially helpful.

Chapter 5 deals with parsing. I used to love parsing, but I hardly get to do it any more! Parsing is very important to the meaning of how verbs and nouns are used. But it's also important to remember accurately what those different labels mean. Anyway, review the paradigms for verbs and nouns. Write them out once a year, a few a month or something. But keep up with them. And I would add, go over the irregular ones that are common so that their principal parts are easily recognized.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Keep Your Greek, chapters 1 & 2

Chapter one - read every day! In Greek, of course. It's like becoming good at any other skill such as music or athletics. A little bit a day will go a long way to keeping up one's skills. Even though it is important to go through verb conjugations and noun declensions, reading will help keep all that fresh.

Chapter two - get rid of the interlinear! OK, Constantine actually tells us to burn it or give it away. The reason is that it is a crutch and we need to develop the habit of reading without the English vocabulary under our eyes. The interlinear also makes it too easy to avoid wrestling with Greek syntax. So, get rid of it! If you need help with the vocabulary, I would suggest instead A Reader's Greek New Testament, nicely bound in leather with the low frequency words at the bottom of the page. It won't do for serious text critical studies or word studies, but for reading it is great.

More later on the other chapters!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Keeping one's Greek after seminary

Here's a topic I'm interested in, and guilty of as well. When I was at Denver Seminary I taught beginning Koine Greek for two summers to fellow students. While I was at Trinity, I taught it for two years as well. However, since I finished my doctoral work and am teaching in a different field, I have let it slide.

So the book, Keep Your Greek by Constantine Campbell is both a challenge and a resource for keeping or regaining one's Greek skills. Given that seminaries require a great deal of time, effort, study, and money to raise the skills of their students to a certain level, it is worth students putting effort into keeping these skills after they finish their seminary studies.

However, it is not always easy to do so. When I finished seminary (twice) I ended up back in education in a different field, and even when I taught Bible and related subjects, a knowledge of Greek was not really required. So too, I imagine, for many pastors. The demands of their vocation allows them to not use their language skills, and so over several years, their skills deteriorate.

Campbell's book is available both at Zondervan and through Amazon in both paperback and kindle editions. This or a similar book should be required reading for those who are in the final stages of their seminary studies.

The book is fairly short. Each chapter is dedicated to one topic, ending with excerpts from Campbell's blog on the topic. There are ten chapters, plus an introduction, appendix, and a list of resources at the end. The blog mentioned is which has other resources for teaching and preaching. I'll be checking it out as well.

In posts to come, I'll post more about the contents of the book.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

First genealogy blog post - John Bradley

Most of my posts have been about theology or politics. My other interest for most of my life has been genealogy. So here goes.

My father got me interested in genealogy. We have a family Bible that is probably from the 1840s, and the handwritten records in it date to the time of the Revolutionary War. My father's interest over the years has been that family. Mine has been broader, but I have one family in particular that I find very interesting, and one that I would love to know more about.

John Bradley is the earliest person on this line of my mother's. According to town histories from New Hampshire, he was a schoolmaster in the 1790s. His widow remarried in 1801, so he was dead by then. According to the histories, he was an Englishman from Bermuda. I have not found any record of his birth in Bermuda; he was probably born in England. He was a schoolmaster in Stratford and Lancaster, and in Guildhall, a small town in Vermont just across the border. James Curtis of Stratford married August 30, 1801, Sarah Bradley, widow of Stratford's first school teacher, known as "Master Bradley." She was born Oct. 29, 1758. She married John Bradley in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in August 1790. Her name was recorded as Mrs. Sarah Buckley.

They had only one child, apparently. From the town records of Stratford, a Seth Hayes Bradley is recorded along with the Curtis family. Seth served in the War of 1812 (I have all the records that I have been able to find) and had several children. In the 1830s they left for Rochester, New York. He died in 1846. His widow, Ruth M. ???? survived him and lived until at least 1860. She lived with two of her children in Seneca and Tompkins Counties in New York in 1850 and later in 1860 with her daughter, Adelia Read in Chemung County.

Seth's son, Joseph Atwell Bradley served in the Mexican War, and then vanishes after an 1859 Rochester, Springfield Co., Ohio city directory entry. Seth's other son, Sylvester, was my ancestor. He married Martha Emaline Miner, who was descended from many old New England families. They moved to Jackson, Michigan where they lived out their lives. Sylvester joined the Union army (my father recently found a letter that he wrote as he was enlisting) and later died of illnesses he acquired during the war.

So questions:
1. Where do I go for more clues on John's origins?
2. Was Sarah Buckley married before? She was 32 when she married John. She was Mrs. Is there a significance to that?
3. Seth and Ruth were married around 1813. I've searched all the New Hampshire records that I can find online and through the LDS church for a marriage record. No luck. Any suggestions? Could they have been married in another state?

any other suggestions welcomed.

And all the best on your brick walls as well!