These are answers to an online interview with Seumas Macdonald. 1. Randall, I wonder if you'd share a little about the environment and methods you were exposed to when first learning the biblical languages yourself? Before the biblical languages I was given traditional Latin and German high school training. The German was done as "grammar [...]
I appreciated the title of a recent essay (June 9, 2014) by Seth Sanders on Religion Dispatches entitled, “Why the Argument Over Jesus’ Language is More Complicated and More Interesting Than Media Experts Have Claimed.” In fact, many of Sanders’ points that elucidated the complexity of the language situation in the first century resonated with [...]
A rather lengthy article "Hebraisti in Ancient Texts: Does ἑβραϊστί Ever Mean 'Aramaic'?" by Randall Buth and Chad Pierce has appeared in the Brill volume, The Language Environment of First Century Judaea, Randall Buth and R Steven Notley edd., (Brill, 2014, ISBN 9789004263406). The article looks at the meanings and claims about the meanings of [...]
The Language Environment of First-Century Judaea, edited by Randall Buth and R. Steven Notley, (Brill, 2014, ISBN 9789004263406) has finally appeared. Here is a PDF of the table of contents and preliminary chapter "Introduction: Language Issues are Important for Gospel Studies" 9789004263406_01-Buth Intro May you enjoy the Volume.
While reading Philemon this morning I noticed what might be considered an inversion of Focus--Contextualizing Constituent (aka Topic) in the pre-verb area. The default order with two marked items, a CC and Focus, is normally from more topical to more salient, that is, first a CC then a Focus, followed by core template orders. Here [...]
While the need for Hebrew is self-evident for Jewish interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, it’s need is sometimes diminished within Chrisitan communities for the New Testament. The following little study shows how a close reading of the Hebrew Bible can raise useful questions for New Testament interpretation, too. In fact both Jewish and Christian communities [...]
Genesis 22 is a common narrative text that is used in introductory biblical Hebrew courses. There are several points of syntax and narrative style in that passage that are often overlooked by both beginning-intermediate students and even by Hebrew grammarians. Consider Gen 22:3 ויקם וילך אל המקום אשר אמר לו האלהים and he [...]
On January 3rd, a review of BLC's "Living Koine Greek Introduction Part One" was posted on the blog "Priceless Eternity." While the reviewer is anonymous, the blog "is run by a college student... currently aiming for a major in Pre-Seminary Bible and also Mathematics," and I am assuming that the same college student wrote the [...]
The BLC/FPU workshops are providing the field of New Testament studies with a unique opportunities for professors of Koine Greek. The community and environment created at these workshops is literally the only place where the field can experience what spoken fluency in Koine Greek may offer to the field. As such, the testimonies of the professors present should not be dismissed off hand.
It's hard to believe that already a week has gone by since the end of BLC's second Koine Greek Fluency Workshop. For those of us involved in the planning and/or the instruction, it was obviously a very busy time for us. I won't recap all that took place, as a detailed summary has already been [...]
This is a guest blog by Paul Nitz on Learning Another Language Through Actions , expanded 7th edition, by James J. Asher, Originator of the Total Physical Response known worldwide as TPR. Paul teaches Greek in Malawi and will be attending the Fresno BLC workshop this summer. Comments are welcomed: I had been looking for [...]
Students at our ulpans often ask about the relationship between speaking a language and scholarship. The question arises because most in the related academic fields do not currently advocate or practice speaking the language (and we are all greatful for the generations of scholarship in both Biblical Studies and Classics), yet we at BLC and [...]
A group of sixteen facilitators and participants recently gathered in Jerusalem (Dec 28, 2011-Jan 6, 2012) to speak Koine Greek, while reading select New Testament texts associated with Jesus in Jerusalem and visiting the ancient sites connected with those narratives. The group gathered in Jerusalem's Old City for over 50 immersion Koine Greek hours, interacting [...]
As a result of the BLC's Koine Greek immersion programs, and especially the Workshop for Instructors this past summer in Fresno, CA, there has been growing interest in a song written and composed by BLC's Sharon Alley. See for example this thread on the b-greek list. Here is an original recording of the song sung [...]
A while back I wrote my own report on what transpired at this past summer's Greek Workshop held in August 2011 in Fresno, CA. I don't know how I missed it until now, but a couple weeks ago Fresno Pacific University posted its own independent account of the workshop. Wayne Steffen (editor of FPU's [...]
Daniel Streett, whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time last year at SBL, has recently written a series of blog posts on the state of Greek studies in the academy. It is not pretty. To wet your appetite I will only mention a test he did with about 30 Greek profs [...]
From August 3-11, the Biblical Language Center (BLC), in association with Fresno Pacific University, led a fluency workshop for instructors of New Testament Greek in Fresno, California. The effort to renew the speaking of New Testament Greek was the first of its kind in North America. To ensure the highest quality possible, the workshop was led [...]
A common objection to the communicative approach to teaching biblical languages is: "All we are aiming at is being able to read, not speak, the language." However, Frank Smith in his book "Reading without Nonsense" suggests that in order to truly read fluently, one has to depend less on deciphering the printed matter, and more on a background of already acquired knowledge. Though he does not highlight fluency as part of that body of "already acquired knowledge," it is presupposed throughout (indeed, it is unlikely that a non-fluent English speaker would be reading his work in the first place). It would seem, therefore, that without fluency, it is impossible to read effectively for meaning.
Question: I want to read the Hebrew Bible//Greek New Testament. Why is there so much listening in the BLC courses if the purpose of learning Hebrew//Greek is only for reading? Answer: Lots of listening and speaking will make you a significantly better reader of a new language. There are several reasons for using extensive listening [...]
Greek inscription at Hippos One of many inscriptions in Sephoris synagogue. Notice spelling of και. Overlooking 'parable bay', a nice place to preach from a boat Imagine breakfast to bed overlooking the Lake of Genneseret, all in Koine Greek. Reading the gospels, discussing them in Koine Greek, some fluency pedagogy, and visits to sites around [...]
How does this picture make one feel about listening to the gospel and letters of John in Greek?
The following is a little long for a note, but hopefully fun.There are several ironies in the spelling of Σαμαρεια/Σαμαρια in our Greek texts.Readers of United Bible Societies Greek text and the Nestle Aland text will be familiar with the following spellings:Σαμάρεια (the place), andΣαμαρίτης (a person of the place, male)Σαμαρῖτις (a person of the [...]
The Biblical Language Center, at Qibbutz Tzuba, just west of Jerusalem is offering its second annual, immersion Greek SXOLH this summer 2008. Two teachers in class teach in Koiné Greek, 90%+ of the time. Outside languages (e.g. English, Hebrew) are restricted to 10% within the classroom. From the beginning students start to play in the [...]