Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Use It or Lose It -- Keeping up the Greek

One of the tragedies that many theology students encounter is struggling to learn languages and then having them slip away with disuse. Determination not to become a statistic, plus the love of reading the Scriptures in the original languages, is all that dragged me out of bed this morning to meet my friend Greg at Starbucks for our weekly time of reading Greek together. Before heading out, I decided to glance at the Durham webcam to see what our soon-to-be home was looking like. Wow! What a treat we are in for!

The Durham Cathedral this beautiful day

Well coffee'd and with reference books piled all around, Greg and I had a tough go this morning, struggling through only 4 verses (ok...we had a few tangential discussions along the way). These are the kinds of sessions that remind you that a little vocabulary brush-up could be well worth your time. But the struggle is usually worth it as we delighted with the Magi: "When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy" (Matt 2:10). Of course, it wasn't the star itself that led to their great joy, but the king that they anticipated meeting under the star. I love the way the text sometimes piles up the superlatives -- somehow we English-speakers miss out because our grammarians tell us that it's not good English to "rejoice a joy", much less to "rejoice a great joy exceedingly"!
The ancient Codex Sinaiticus manuscript of Matt 2:10 (whew -- I'm glad our text puts spaces between words!)A modern rendering of the same Greek verse


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"rejoice a great joy exceedingly"! I love it!

9:15 PM  

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