Trust me when I say this, but I have never enjoyed Greek more than I have in the past one week. By actually taking an Analytical Lexican and translating 10-15 verses a day, I have been working for about 4-6 hours daily, and yet loving each moment of it.

Dr. Cor (Bennema) is my ‘teacher’. And he gave me a really intense work schedule. (It seems since I’m doing my PDP, even my Translation must be tougher!). It was so tough in fact that my eye strain became so severe that I had a headache for three days. I had to request Cor to reduce my workload… and he kindly agreed. Now I translate about 10 verses every day… which is easily at least 4 hours of intense work (1 hour for three/four verses. Plus, one hour for final translation/typing).

So, why am I finding it so interesting. Firstly, it is not as difficult as I thought it would be. This is mainly because of the analytical lexicon that allows me to find the exact word, and tells me what form it is. Of course I need to know what the form means, but if I do, I match the meaning with the grammatical form, and voila! I have meaning. It is something that requires hard work and discipline, yet is essential for biblical exegesis.

Secondly, I realised that I remembered more Greek than I thought. Last year I invested about four months for Greek, aiming more at understanding rather than memorisation. And interestingly, I found that I understood a lot of greek. In fact, I feel that if we had done more translation during Greek Grammar, I would have understood even more! Still, it’s great to see the fruit of previous classes.

Thirdly, I’m while I haven’t found anything significantly new in my own translations, I have noticed (as Cor has pointed out) that translation is not an exact science, and sometimes it helps to be ‘creative’… which means, I can enjoy making combinations of sentences without fearing to be corrupting scripture. I have veered quite often from traditional translations, and sometimes too much and Cor has been strict in guiding me back, or telling me when I’ve gone too far, but most of the time, translation is quite open-ended and even my version can be legitimate… at least for me!!!

What all this has to do with my Doctoral Programme, I’m not fully sure. But I’m already excited by the possibility of encorporating an exegetical component in my Dissertation. Can I dare to go so far?

One more thing. I realised that many people, including me, have taken theology because we fear languages, ie Greek/Hebrew. And so it’s easier to do theology, we think. But as my programme is showing, it’s easy in the beginning but it gets tougher, where I cannot really bi-pass languages. Instead, I have to learn Greek, Hebrew AND German! Perhaps I should have stuck to Biblical Studies!

Jokes apart, I think this has been a good opportunity to get my back to the Bible. And not fear it in its ‘original’ version too much.

Next update: Next week.