The Very Model of a Biblical Philologist

The Very Model of a Biblical Philologist December 12, 2014

Josh Tyra made this delightful video. David Lamb and Darrell Pursiful brought it to my attention. It is a parody of a famous Gilbert and Sullivan song. Mandaic gets a mention!


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  • R Vogel

    I enjoyed this far more than my familiarity with the subject matter justifies. Thank you.

    • summers-lad

      Me too.

  • Shiphrah99

    Ha! I was going to post this here, but you’ve beaten me to it!

  • Hilarious – well done!

    At one point I thought he altered the chorus to “mythical philologist”, but I may have been projecting.

  • PorlockJunior

    Beautiful. (Though I know less than anyone of the actual content.)

    But I admit to being a wee bit disappointed that it lacked the final coda listing all the things that the singer needs to learn (“When I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery…”) before he actually knows anything of his subject. Maybe next year–

    Note how one begins to scan when hearing this. I ought to have said, “Though I know less than anyone of language and theology.”

    • arcseconds

      I rather liked the last bit in the original song, too, but I’m not sure it would work terribly well in this version. The original song has the Modern Major General being extremely accomplished in all sorts of things, but not knowing anything about modern warfare, whereas the biblical philologist is in fact quite accomplished at many of the things one would expect a philologist to be accomplished in.

      I guess maybe the joke could be changed a bit, so that the philologist knows all this stuff but misses some core feature of being a competent philologist?

      (I think living in a society where generals neither knew nor needed to know anything about modern warfare might be quite nice, though, don’t you think?)

      • Paul W

        Considering that we live in that society now, have lived in it at least since 2001, the vast majority of our generals neither know nor need to know anything about modern warfare, and the few who do know what they are talking about are generally going to be ignored, marginalized, or forced into retirement? No. No it wouldn’t be nice. -.-

        (Unless you mean a world that has achieved peace, as opposed to a world which still pursues war despite systemic incompetence and ignorance on the part of the people given leadership over that endeavor?)

        • arcseconds

          The bracketed sentence is what I had in mind, yes. Where armies go on wilderness adventures, do a bit of search-and-rescue, build roads, march in parades, and do some costumed re-enactments of famous battles. And generals are expected to have especially shiny buttons, play a musical instrument, and know at least one ancient language.

          It sounds like I might be overestimating the competence of the top brass of the military… but wouldn’t you still agree that they should know something about modern warfare?