Monday, May 2, 2016

What's The Past Month Been Like?

You all know I'm writing like a wild person, trying to wrap everything up for the dissertation in Spain. The official due date is June 1st. That's not far away at all. Anyways, I really appreciate your patience as I get this project taken care of. It's been a busy four or five weeks. The next four are bound to be even busier. Graduation is next week. My Greek students are working on their Greek exegesis projects. They turned Part 1 in yesterday. Exciting! Lesly and I were down in North Carolina like four weeks ago. I had the privilege of being summoned for jury duty. While we were there, it was nice to swing by and see Dave Black and catch up at the Robin. I've had my Capital teammates swinging by the office on a regular basis just to catch up and to encourage me! I swung by Carl's class last week and snapped a picture of him with his theology class. They were discussing the relationship of technology and culture. And you know what? Lesly and I were playing Yahtzee the other night and on the first roll I rolled all 1s . . . Yahtzee!!! You should have seen the expression on Lesly's face when it happened! By the way, I still lost. It never fails. Play Lesly at your own risk. She is the master at Yahtzee. The highlight this past weekend was catching up with my friend Alex. He's back from Asia and we got to grab lunch while he was passing through the capital. Lesly chose a Peruvian restaurant down in Waldorf, MD. It was absolutely scrumptious. It's hard to beat Peruvian food. How about some pictures? You get the idea.

La Copa Y La Gloria (The Cup And The Glory)

Greg Harris' book The Cup and the Glory is translated into Spanish and now available online free-of-charge as a PDF. The title in Spanish is La copa y la gloria. What's the book about? In a short sentence: This book is about how God uses suffering to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ and make his name great so that he is glorified in this life and the life to come. There aren't a lot of books on suffering, probably because most of us don't "get it" or because we'd rather search the Scriptures for something that sounds more beautiful. Suffering is hard. But it's part of the Christian life (Phil. 1:29-30). And our suffering, if we follow the Lamb in the steps he has laid out for us, can result in the praise and honor and glory of our Lord when he is finally revealed to us. This is one of my must reads for every Christian. Grab some tissues, prepare your heart, and spend some time thinking about this very important part of walking with Christ. You'll be glad you did.

You can download the book in Spanish by clicking here. If you know someone who speaks Spanish, please share it with them.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Greek Residency This Week

I was back in the classroom with our students for BIB516 this week. We had seventeen hours to talk through Greek and exegesis of the New Testament. I think we made some good progress. It was a lot to cover and practice, but we made it! Here's the class in action:

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

An Update On My Dissertation For The Complutense

Great news, folks. I'm on schedule. I can't tell you how much I have read and written over the past four weeks. It's incredible. I feel like you're praying for me. I know you are, and all I can do is say thank you, thank you, thank you. I sent chapter two off this evening to my doctoral advisor. The historical "stuff" is now out of the way (well, for the most part). Basically I have one daunting chapter left . . . Chapter Five . . . my analysis of the data I've gathered from the collations of the Vatican manuscripts with the Complutensian Gospel of Matthew as the base text.

I'll just say one thing about chapter two and the historical context of the Complutensian Polyglot. I am not convinced at all that work on the polyglot began way back in 1502. There is one mention in a sixteenth century biography of Cisneros of a meeting, a meeting between the men traditionally associated with editing the polyglot. It all sounds good, but the data on when people arrived in Alcalá just does not match up with that position. Work on the polyglot, if you ask me, started no earlier than 1508 and, for the New Testament, had to be wrapped up by around July, August, or September of 1513. Given when some of the members of the group arrived, there is a really strong case for saying the Complutensian editors worked just a few years on the New Testament volume. And all that was taking place while they were lecturing, working on other projects and translations, standing al poste in the afternoon-evenings to answer questions from students, not to mention other responsibilities that came up. Larry Hurtado recently posted about Erasmus' New Testament over at his blog. You can read the post here. In the comments section, someone asked about the Complutensian New Testament. I wrote the following about the date on when work on the polyglot actually began:
"1502 seems to be the date fixed to the beginning of work on the polyglot. The only thing that I can tell is that people assign this date to the beginning of the project simply because that is the year that a print press was installed on the campus of the college (not the same press used for the polyglot). A better argument is to connect the beginning of the project with the invitation of Greek and Hebrew scholars to Alcalá de Henares, the same ones who worked on the polyglot. If you do that, the earliest date is 1507 or 1508. And with Greek, the invitations are even later. I’m unconvinced that they were working on this project for years and years. Over a decade is highly unlikely in my opinion. If I had to guess, they worked with few manuscripts, though certainly more than Erasmus. And they worked quickly, focusing more on (1) getting the polyglot in print and (2) making sure (in the case of the NT) that no one toyed with the Latin—even though one of the editors adamantly wanted to change it based on the Greek manuscripts."

Google Books And The Supreme Court

Henry Neufeld posted something about the Supreme Court's decision to not hear a Google Books case. Great news for all of us. I share Henry's view that Google Books is good for publishing, not bad. I can't tell you how many books I've purchased because I was able to peruse them through Google Books. Amazon's preview is too restrictive if you ask me. I don't want a "surprise." I want to scroll through the book! Read the news here. Thanks for posting about it, Henry. I had no idea until I saw it on your blog.

Discussions About "Which" Greek Grammar To Use Are Not New

I was reading Paul Botley's Learning Greek in Western Europe, 1396–1529: Grammars, Lexica, and Classroom Texts (Philadelphia: APS, 2010). I couldn't help but chuckle when I read about Girolamo Aleandro's experience upon arriving in Paris to teach Greek in 1508. A Greek grammar by Manuel Chrysolaras was written in 1406. It became the single most important Greek grammar for the next hundred or so years. In fact, it was the first Greek grammar translated into French and printed in France. The year was 1507. When Girolamo Aleandro arrived to teach, Greek students were enamored with the grammar. Well, everyone except Aleandro. He wanted to use Constantine Lascaris' Greek grammar, which had been written in 1495. Botley lays out the reasons as follows:
"It was a much finer piece of printing, it had a Latin translation, and it was supplied with a collection of student texts. It was also an expensive book, even before the costs of getting it to Paris had been added. This last factor probably accounts for much of the loyalty of the Parisians to the unpolished products of their first Greek press" (10). 
Why did I smile? Because the same issues we wrestle with today in academia and publishing were those that have nearly always existed. There are champions for textbooks and then there are people who are champions of the actual language. The truth is everyone has a preference. I look at some Greek textbooks and just think they make little sense–as far as how they are laid out pedagogically, etc. I have my own preferences. Perhaps I'll get around to writing a task-based introduction to the Greek of the New Testament once I finish up this dissertation with the Complutense.

Why did I smile? Because price is always an issue. It doesn't matter if the print press was invented forty years ago or over five hundred years ago. Price has always been an issue. And for students it is a major consideration. And for people who live far away from the presses it is an issue. That's one of the reasons why we did Dave Black's Learn to Read New Testament Greek in such a unique way when took it into the Spanish language. It needed to be affordable or the tool that we hoped to put in the hands of our brothers and sisters abroad would never even be a reality. I think we've seen an amazing response to our translation of Dave's Greek grammar. The publisher sends us updates regularly and I continue to be amazed at how many people are getting a copy. By the way, the vast majority of sales is of digital editions of the book. You can't beat .99 cents, can you? I wonder what those Parisians would have thought about that!

We need to care about the biblical languages. We need to care about biblical language tools. We ought to have preferences about what tools we think are best, and those preferences ought to be well reasoned and informed on the best pedagogical principles and research. But we gotta remember one more thing. Any tool that gets people into the language of the New Testament, by God I'm thankful for it . . . shortcomings and all! In my classes we use a particular Greek grammar, but I'm always informing my students of others and even exposing them to discussions found within those grammars. I want those grammars to be tools they use, not preferences that they champion.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

You Have To Go Back To The Sources

You have to go back to the sources, you really do. Today I was reading of a comment made by Hernan Núñez de Gúzman regarding his former professor in Salamanca and later colleague at the Universidad de Alcalá. The original text, which was published in the sixteenth century–some books mention it was published in 1512 (which I think is a typo), others 1528 (which I think is accurate)–is not found in any of the sources that discuss these renowned Spaniards. The date alone was worth the digging. Did Núñez write what he wrote before Nebrija joined the faculty in Alcalá, or years later? Certainly he could have written them in 1512, but it seems more likely that he would have wrote the words he wrote years later remembering the instrumental professor who was adamant about resurrecting Latin in the universities of Spain and the church. Anyways, here is the quote that is translated by a researcher on the Complutensian Polyglot:
"He was learned in all kinds of teaching, and his powerful and most sweet lute was more favored than that by which Orpheus sought to draw Eurydice from the underworld, for I wish to declare by this that it was he who amongst us restored the Latin language and humane learning with for so many years had been almost extinguished in Spain."
And here are the actual words written by Núñez about Nebrija (I've included first clause in reference to Nebrija, which the translator above did not include):
". . . el muy venerable y literatissimo varon Antonio de Nebrija nuestro preceptor doctissimo en todos generos de doctrina, cuya potente y dulcissima vihuela, mas dichosa que la de aquel thracense Orfeo, sacó a la verdadera Euridice del infierno: quiero decir, resucitó entre nosotros la lengua latina y letras de humanidad, que tantos años ha estaban exterminadas de España."
So, here are just a couple of quick comments. But first my translation, which differs significantly from the one above.
". . . the highly esteemed and well versed man Antonio de Nebrija, our most educated preceptor in all areas of learning, whose powerful and so very sweet lute, which was more blessed than that of Thracian Orpheus, drew the true Eurydice out of the underworld: for I wish to say, he brought back from the dead amongst us the Latin language and the humanities, which for so many years had been extinguished in Spain"
The initial translation does not capture that this is not a declarative statement. The sentence does not start "He was." Rather, Núñez is taking a moment to reflect on Nebrija and interjects a thought about him in his commentary on Juan de Mena's "La quinta orden de Mars." I back the quote up so that we can capture this. And by doing so I also get another very remarkable description about the man Nebrija that the original translation does not capture, specifically that he considered him "muy venerable y literatissimo." The real important part of the translation occurs in the following part of the sentence: "cuya potente y dulcissima vihuela . . . sacó a la verdadera Euridice del infierno." The original translation totally misses that Núñez is referring to the Latin language and humanities as Eurydice and he is talking about how they were dead (not almost dead). He is talking about how Nebrija succeeded in bringing Latin and the humanities back from the dead. Notice the comma after Orpheus. Notice it calls him "Thracian Orpheus," not just "Orpheus." Notice it says "true Eurydice," not just "Eurydice." Small details, but very important ones if we want to know what the original author actually said.

It took a while to find out where I could access an original of this note. I found the only copy available online. Thanks to the university library in Seville and their "fondo antiguo" digitized manuscripts I was able to view it and not lean on another's translation.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Gotta Learn German? Why Not Do It On Logos?

Jacob Cerone walks you through Modern Theological German: A Reader and a Dictionary using Logos. If you gotta learn German, you gotta read his post. Check it out here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

So What's The Deal With Apostles?

Did Jesus and Paul teach the same thing about apostles? I've answered this question and more over at the Across the Atlantic blog with the post "Apostleship According To Jesus And Paul." You can read it here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Talking Textual Variants On The Exploring Hope Podcast

Jamie Dew and Jake Pratt talk textual variants in the Bible over at the Exploring Hope podcast. You can listen to the discussion here.

Keith Marriner Discusses His Book On Discipleship And Revelation

I'm so thankful for Keith Marriner and his study on discipleship in Revelation. You can get a copy of his book Following the Lamb: The Theme of Discipleship in the Book of Revelation here. Here's the book's description:
"Jesus' parting words to his followers was for them to 'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations' (Matt 28:19). This being the case, shouldn't we be concerned with gaining a full understanding of discipleship from the entire New Testament corpus? Many scholars recognize that the theme of discipleship is found throughout the New Testament, even in Revelation, with all of its symbolism and bizarre imagery. But how does it do this? The focus of this study, through the use of content analysis methodology, is to demonstrate that the theme of discipleship is not only found in the Apocalypse, but is also exceedingly relevant for Christians today. In many parts of the world Jesus' disciples are facing opposition and persecution for their testimony to Jesus Christ. It would do Christians well to read the book of Revelation once again. As they read it this time through the eyes of the oppressed, the content of the book will prove extremely valuable to aid disciples of Jesus in their efforts to 'follow the Lamb wherever he goes' (Rev 14:4), no matter what the cost."
Keith graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and the doctor of education program, same as yours truly. I had the privilege of working with Dave Black, Keith with David Beck. You gotta love an education program that is engaging the New Testament text like Keith has in his research. Stats and data–like you would generally expect from an education program–are all important, but an in-depth analysis of the New Testament with a focus on issues that are of great importance to educators cannot be relegated to Ph.D. programs if you ask me. Truth is, much of what is of utmost importance to Christian education might never be addressed unless the fields of education and biblical studies unite. Southeastern encourages this type of research. I know Keith would agree with me, Southeastern's doctor of education program prepared us well and we are forever indebted to the faculty for the investment they made in our lives.

By the way, you can read Keith's discussion at his blog on why he chose the topic he chose for his research. He has a post called "Why Did I Write This Book?" You can read it here.