Discussion Continues about New Testament Study, Languages and Methods

Here are some posts that are part of or relate to the ongoing discussion of the essential languages and tools for New Testament Study.

Daniel Streett posted about the difference between reading a language fluently and being able to translate it word for word. Anyone who has learned to speak a modern language fluently will know that as long as you are translating each word individually in your head, you are not yet fluent. The closer one can get to that sort of fluency with an ancient language, the more proficient they are.

Daniel at Hebrew and Greek Reader responded, and while he is technically right that Greek is not a dead language, first century Koine was very different from spoken Greek today. Nevertheless, I think that many people ignore the usefulness of learning modern Greek (to say nothing of modern Hebrew or Arabic) as something that will benefit their proficiency with classical forms. And so both points are valid: Old English is dead, but modern English is alive and well, and it goes without saying that an international scholar of Beowulf would benefit in multiple ways from becoming fluent in modern English.

Mike Aubrey also responded to Streett. When he mentioned that there are relatively few blogs specifically on ancient Greek language, I found myself wondering how many different creative ways there might be that blogs could be used for language pedagogy and acquisition. I seem to recall someone creating a Facebook page specifically for students to communicate in Spanish. What if we set up a blog or discussion forum where all the posts were in ancient languages? Students of those languages could be required to comment there by their professor, and given credit not necessarily for precision of grammar, but for that thing that is an essential stepping stone towards fluency: expressing your ideas clearly enough that the person you are addressing gets what you mean.

Duane Smith talked about the backyard of Biblical studies and encouraged readers not to be put off from trying to learn as many relevant languages as possible simply because they will not be able to learn all of them at a high level of proficiency.

James Crossley posted on widening the definition of New Testament studies.

BW16 offers more objective queer reflection.

Larry Hurtado blogged about the UK PhD, and also mentioned Jesus mythicism and Napoleon mythicism.

BLT (not the sandwich) continues to offer interesting discussion of aspects of Bible translation.

UPDATE: Initially I inadvertently left off the post by really quite tired about the introduction of new methods and perspectives, and the gatekeepers who sometimes try to exclude them.

Finally, Aaron Rathburn shared a video relevant to methodology and approach, featuring a student singing about how “I read some Marx, and I liked it”:

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