Brian W. Davidson

sharing things I enjoy

Spring 2012 was challenging to say the least. Here is where my head was from January through May:

Targumic Aramaic

There were about ten of us in this seminar. Last semester we went through Dr. Russell Fuller‘s outlines of Aramaic grammar and then read all of Aramaic in the Bible. This semester we read and compared several passages (Genesis 3-4:10; 6:1-9; 15:1-6; 22; Isaiah 6, 12, 19, 40; Song of Songs 1:1-3) in every language that we were able to read, focusing primarily on the relationship between the text of Targum Onqelos/Jonathan and BHS.

One of the highlights of my entire first year of PhD studies came during the class “discussion” over different linguistic methodologies. I know that is a vague description, but let’s leave it at that. It boiled down to Reggie Clark and I versus Dr. Fuller. Reggie and I walked away from this sparring match with plenty of bumps and bruises, but it was a blast. I’m so thankful Dr. Fuller was willing to hear us out and respond. I walk away from these two semesters with Dr. Fuller full of respect and gratitude for his presence at Southern.

On a side note, if you use Logos Bible Software and you can work with Aramaic, please go place your bid for their electronic edition of Jastrow. It has been stuck in Community Pricing limbo for quite a while. The edition pictured above is nice to have in print, but it would be really nice to have the Logos edition as well.

Isaiah: Hebrew Poetry, Textual Criticism, and Exegesis

The core of the class was reading Isaiah 1-27 and 53-55 and writing a 50 page exegesis paper. The highlight? Sitting with 5 or 6 other students packed inside Dr. Gentry’s office once a week, reading together, asking questions, and discussing problems in the text. The walls and most of the floor in his office are filled with the best books in the world (faximiles of manuscripts, DJD volumes, lexica, grammars, etc.). No question was off limits during this time. So thankful for Dr. Gentry’s patience and the hard work each of my colleagues put into this class.

Here are the three main books that were required reading:

I’ll put up at least a portion of my exegesis paper in an upcoming post. One of the biggest surprises from the semester was the interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls that was kindled during the my research for the  paper. More on that to come. (UPDATE 7/21/12: see this post)

Old Testament Colloquium

This semester Dr. Jim Hamilton chose for us to discuss the use of the Old Testament in 1 Enoch. It was my job to speak to the class about 1 Enoch 106-108. There were about 20 OT students and faculty present. John Meade, who was preparing to defend his dissertation at the time, and Jason Parry joined us for the day though neither of them were required to be there. I was very grateful for their attendance and the comments they made throughout the day. I hope when I am past the classwork phase I will remember how encouraging this was to me, set aside my own personal study, and attend colloquium as often as I can, as well.

Joseph Kelly started a lively discussion of the legitimacy of speaking of “literary dependence” between 1 Enoch and the OT. The conversation dominated most of his time, and I wish we  could have heard more of his actual presentation. Nevertheless, the interaction was very interesting and informative, and interaction with colleagues is what colloquium is all about. I’ll post my presentation notes soon. (UPDATE 7/19/12: see this post)

Until next semester

Over the summer I’ve been shoring up my understanding of Hebrew morphology by re-working through Dr. Fuller’s grammar and reading through a few comparative Semitic grammars in preparation for next semester. I am also learning to read German with April Wilson’s fantastic German Quickly. Prayers appreciated.