Something to Love

I wrote a note to the HLS students for their school paper this month and wanted to post it here, too. From the February Nova Roma:

On the wall of my home office hangs a picture of my kiddos with these words from one of my favorite songs:

I hope you find something to love, something to do when you feel like giving up. A song to sing or a tale to tell, something to love, it’ll serve you well.

Children are certainly “something to love,” but I typed the words beside the picture of Beau and Noelle because the lyrics from Jason Isbell’s song are my wish for my them. I hope that they find something in this wonderful world that enchants them like Greek enchants me.

I think the most important reason to pursue classical studies is because the languages and literature are full of beauty. If it isn’t Greek or Latin for you, maybe it’s Science or Math, English or something altogether different. One way or another, I pray you find your something to love. Despite its brokenness, the world is the Lord’s, and it is full of his glory.

Comparing OT Texts in Accordance

After saving a workspace, you can launch it with just a couple clicks. This is one of my favorite features in Accordance. As I show below, it only takes a minute to set up, and a second or two to launch. I regularly use this feature to quickly see several ancient versions of the Old Testament in parallel.

Set up the texts

Open your Hebrew Bible, and use the Add Parallel button to add the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls and all the other ancient versions you have in your library.

Save the workspace

Order the columns however you like, and then go to File > Open Workspace > Add Workspace and name it something like OT Texts.

Next time

Now, the next time you are in an OT text and want to check the readings of other ancient witnesses, simply two-finger click (or right-click) on the verse reference and go to My Workspaces > OT Texts. This will open a new workspace in a separate window with all the ancient versions in parallel. When you are finished, close that window and your back to your text.

Video Example

Bible Odyssey: What is the Oldest Bible?

I wrote an article for Bible Odyssey answering this question.

Bible Odyssey is an online initiative of SBL intended to communicate the results of scholarship to a popular audience.

The article is a response to several user questions related to the issue of “oldest Bible.” I tried to explain that the answer depends on what one means by “oldest” (materially? textually?) and by “Bible” (a bound book? Protestant? Catholic?).

On the bottom right of the page there is also a related links section where I provide links to a few of the manuscripts and editions mentioned in the article.

Check it out.

Brill Font Wins

I’ve been using the Brill font for all my Greek and Latin quizzes this year, and I couldn’t be happier with it. I’ve used various Gentium fonts and SBL in the past, but Brill wins for a few reasons.

First, it includes regular, bold, italic, and bold italic for all the characters, including Greek. So if I want to make a bold heading with a Greek word in it, I can do so with the Greek being true bold.

Second, it has characters for all your Greek, Latin, and English needs so there is no reason to switch between fonts and keyboards. Furthermore, it offers comprehensive support for transliteration of all-the-languages.

Third, I like its design. It’s seriffed and styled without being too cursive looking (leaning to the right). And when I say that I like its design, I mean I really like the way both the Greek and English look — like a lot. It’s beautiful.

The only drawback to using Brill is that because it’s designed to be used for transliteration of all the classical languages the letter characters are a little smaller than what you see in a standard font like Times New Roman. The extra space for diacritics, however, leaves plenty of room for underlining a word without breaking too far into the Greek letters that extend below the line.

Robert Henle on Learning Latin

Swoon!

YOU LEARN BY WORKING OUT THE EXERCISES FOR YOURSELF, just as you learn to swim by blundering about in the water, not by watching someone else set a world’s record in the pool. THE MORE EXERCISES YOU DO, THE MORE QUICKLY YOU WILL MASTER LATIN, AND THE EASIER IT WILL BE LATER ON. If you really want to learn, you will read and translate more Latin than your teacher assigns.

No nonsense truth!

Robert Henle on Learning to Read Latin

I’m teaching an elementary Latin class this year using the classic first year Henle book. Early in the grammar he offers some fantastic advice concerning how one can learn to read Latin with understanding — advice I wish I would have followed when at the beginning stages of learning Greek and Hebrew.

Now here is the way to practice reading Latin.

  1. First read each Latin sentence slowly and thoughtfully, trying to understand it. At first you won’t understand a thing. But do this each time anyway.
  2. Then work out in translation all the words and phrases you didn’t understand. At first you will have to work out the whole sentence.
  3. Then REREAD the sentence several times, trying to put the MEANING into the Latin and to understand the Latin without thinking of English words. Do this over and over again until you UNDERSTAND the Latin in the Latin order. It will help to read the sentence aloud and to put as much meaning into your voice as possible. (Be sure to pronounce the words correctly!)

If you do this regularly NOW, Latin later on will be much easier and you will have the satisfaction of reading it quickly and easily.

OT Textual Criticism LibGuide

screenshot
screenshot

Students in Old Testament exegesis classes at SBTS regularly have to work through textual criticism projects. Gathering all the resources to make a table of witnesses is one of their biggest obstacles.
I made this LibGuide to show them exactly what they need and where to find it in the library. Have a look if you like, but for whatever reason, at the moment none of our LibGuides are displaying well in Safari on a Mac. You might have to use Chrome or another browser.

Features:

  • There is a tab for each language of the most important witnesses.
  • There is a lexicons tab, where you can find the most important lexicons for each language.
  • There are two tabs that link to introductions to the field and OT textual commentaries.