Friday, July 25, 2008

Scripture, language, and memory

With James and Andy aboard (both seasoned bloggers), JT's readership should be safe. (Happy travels, JT!) My relationship to blogging tends to be in the form of drive-by commenting, so we'll see how this goes.

Meanwhile, one of my jobs as a teacher of biblical languages is to get the inevitable rote-learning to go down deep, so that the Hebrew (or Greek, or Aramaic) becomes a language, and not just an obscure code for what we already knew the text meant from our favourite translation.

So this Olympically-themed exhortation from John Hobbins caught my eye:
As of now, biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek are for forgetting, not remembering, in the life of most people who have studied them. I used to think that the placement of knowledge of biblical languages into cold storage by those who studied them, however cursorily, is a mountain that will never be moved in our generation. Then I saw the movie Chariots of Fire and thought, if someone can give their heart and soul to an athletic sport with such tenacity, why can’t a few men and women give their heart to fulfilling Deuteronomy 6:6- 9 with the same tenacity?
For those of you who have toiled over your biblical Hebrew and koine Greek, read the whole post, and be inspired.